As much as you enjoy the smell of fresh herb burning, the smell of weed smoke that’s gone stale is rarely pleasant, and it can be especially offensive to guests or family members who are non-smokers. While terpenes are what give cannabis its rich smell, they can also contribute to the lingering evidence that some dank was present.
This is a bigger deal than you may think. So-called “third-hand smoke” — the chemicals and toxins deposited on surfaces after a cigarette or joint is extinguished — can pose serious health risks. Multiple studies have shown third-hand tobacco smoke can lead to liver problems and other health effects. It’s not unreasonable to extrapolate those findings to encompass weed smoke. If you’re one to smoke spliffs, then this advisory is even more potent.
Your best bet to avoid stinking up your home, clothes, and belongings with the smell of pot is to avoid smoking indoors or in your car. Vaping concentrates is a fantastic way to prevent smell happening in the first place; with no combustion, the vapor is much less pungent. You can order vape pens and cartridges using WoahStork’s online cannabis marketplace. If you do smoke flower inside — which is much more pleasant for people who live in cold or rainy climates — there are a few things you can do to get the smell of weed out of everything.
Fresh air, sunlight, activated charcoal, baking soda and distilled white vinegar are your best friends in this task. Much of the advice and tips collected here were meant to apply to the lingering odor of cigarette smoke, but are just as effective for marijuana and other types of smoke.
How to get the smell of weed out of your home
This is the big one. As mentioned before, if you don’t want your house or apartment to smell like weed, don’t smoke inside. If the weather or privacy concerns force you to smoke inside, try to confine your smoking to one room with windows that open. If you have multiple floors in your home, smoke on the top floor. If you smoke in the basement or first floor, the smoke will waft up throughout the house, whereas if you smoke in the top floor, it just collects around the ceiling and walls of that room.
Making sure you have an adequate amount of fresh air flowing through your home is going to be your best defense against a nasty smoke smell. Las Vegas casinos — some of the last major public venues in the U.S. that allow cigarette smoking indoors — use air filtration and suck in fresh air from outside as their foremost odor defense. If you have an air purifier, make sure you change the filter as indicated on the device. Otherwise, it does you no good.
If your home already stinks of weed smoke, there are a few angles of attack. Wipe down your walls with a mix diluted bleach and white vinegar. Go really easy on the bleach, and watch you don’t drip on any fabrics like carpet or upholstery.
If the smell still lingers after cleaning, you may have to give your place a new coat of paint. You can assess the damage by comparing your wall’s paint color where uncovered compared to paint behind a poster or picture frame. If there is a stark difference, you may need a new coat of paint.
For carpets, you can sprinkle baking soda generously all over and let it sit for a day or two, then vacuum it up. If you’re dealing with months or years of smoke smell, however, you may need to spring for a commercial cleaner. If you don’t want to spend the money on a professional, rent a carpet cleaner and buy the recommended rug shampoo at your local hardware store.
You can tackle your furniture, too, with the upholstery attachment. Pro tip: to get the maximum smoke-removal effect from your rented carpet cleaner, mix in a cup or so of white vinegar with the shampoo and water.
If you have a piece of furniture that’s wood, metal or plastic, wiping it down really well may do the trick. For metal or plastic, use the mixture mentioned above that’s indicated for washing walls.
You don’t want to use any bleach on wood, though, especially if it has a nice finish. Try a mixture of Murphy’s oil soap, vinegar and water. If the piece has drawers, open boxes of baking soda and let them sit in the drawers for a week or two. You can also use activated charcoal for this.
For upholstered furniture, you can try dusting them with baking soda and letting it sit for a couple days, and then vacuuming it off. Depending on the severity of the stink, however, you may just want to rent a carpet cleaning machine with an upholstery attachment as mentioned above.
How to get the smell of weed out of your car
Wipe down the hard surfaces inside your vehicle with the same mixture you use for the walls, and then make sure there’s no residue by wiping them down again with a rag wet with just water. Once the surfaces have dried, apply Armor-All or some other brand of scented surface protectant made for cars.
Cleaning the inside of the windows with standard window cleaner should take care of any smoke residue accumulated there. Typical glass cleaners contain ammonia, which will remove all trace deposits from the glass.
Sprinkle the carpets and cloth upholstery generously with baking soda and/or activated charcoal and let it sit for a day or two before vacuuming it up. If that doesn’t work, rent a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment and use the same mixture mentioned above for home carpeting and upholstery.
Make sure you leave all your windows open after cleaning until the interior is completely dry; if your car stays wet inside for too long, it can get mildew and mold, leaving you worse off than when you started.
If you have leather or vinyl upholstery, you task is easier. You can use the same procedure you used for the car’s hard surfaces.
If weed smoke has seeped into your heating and air conditioning system, there isn’t a ton you can do. Try making little bundles of baking soda or activated charcoal with coffee filters and rubber bands, then place them behind the grates of your heating/AC vents.
How to get the smell of weed out of your clothes
If you can, toss your smoky-smelling clothes in the washer with detergent and a cup of vinegar. Use the hottest water the fabric will allow (washing instructions should appear on the tag).
If you’re talking about purses, hand bags, hats or other non-washable items, put them out on a clothesline in the sun and wind for an afternoon. Same goes with dry clean-only items, although it may be easier to just get them dry cleaned.
If you have a leather item, you should purchase a specific leather cleaner to wipe it down. Most of the smoke smell is probably collected in the lining, however which is usually nylon. This you can clean with soap and water, but you have to be careful not to soak it through to damage the leather.
Some dry cleaners are equipped to handle leather goods, but it won’t be cheap.
How to get the smell of weed out of your books and other stuff
Books can really suck in the smell of marijuana smoke and other kinds of smoke. Seal up your books each in its own individual Ziploc bag with a dryer sheet, a generous scoop of baking soda or activated charcoal and leave it in there for a week or so.
You could use both baking soda and activated charcoal together, but don’t combine either of those with a dryer sheet; the baking soda and charcoal will just suck up the scent of the dryer sheet, defeating your purpose.
Knick knacks, if they’re porcelain, plastic or some other non-porous material, you can wash with a weak mixture of soap, hot water and vinegar.
If you have an item that is unfinished wood or may be otherwise damaged by soap and water, try the trick you use with the books: Seal it up with baking soda, a dryer sheet or activated charcoal.
REFERENCES FOR HOW TO GET THE SMELL OF WEED OUT OF EVERYTHING:
“Episode 18: Smoke Out”
“Discarding lingering smoke smell a challenge for casinos”
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Feb. 10, 2017
Cigarette Smoke Toxins Deposited on Surfaces: Implications for Human Health
Manuela Martins-Green et al
Feb. 19, 2003
April 9, 2015
Sept. 12, 2014