“Out, damn’d smoke smell! Out, I say!”

Welcoming Entrance to a Vacation Rental

Welcoming Entrance to a Vacation Rental

Although Lady Macbeth pre-dates cigarettes, I’m pretty sure this is what she would say! Last week I asked readers to send in any issues or questions they have with being a host or guest through home exchanging. I am in the process of responding to all and am sharing one with you today.

Marge of Dallas, TX wrote that one of her recent guests disregarded her ‘no indoor smoking’ policy and she now needs help ridding her home of the odour. It should be noted that this situation is not very common. In fact, guests as a whole make a tremendous effort to follow the host’s house rules and leave the vacation rental in the same condition as it was when they arrived to begin their stay. But, it does happen.

In this situation, if there was a rental agreement in place, hopefully it stated that smoking within the premises was prohibited. There also should be a section in the rental agreement regarding damage and the homeowner retaining a portion of the damage deposit for cleaning/repairs, etc.

Many hosts however do not ask their guests to sign a rental agreement yet request a damage deposit from their guests at check-in. Upon the hosts return and once they determine that their home is undamaged, the deposit is refunded. In this case, the deposit could be used to pay for the cost to rid the home of the smoke smell.

That aside, the issue is how to get the odour from the vacation home as quickly as possible. As Marge’s guests only stayed for a week, suggestions were to open all windows and doors to allow a good exchange of air throughout the home. Other ideas include:

– Spray commercial grade odour removal products (not just ‘air fresheners’)
– Use air purifiers in the main rooms where the smoke smell is strongest
– Place saucers of ammonia around the house (I have also heard that vinegar is effective, as well as charcoal)

Some people also have had success with burning candles… but this may not be safe or an immediate solution.

If the guests had stayed (and smoked) in the home for several months, other more drastic actions you could take are:

– Wash all surfaces
– Wash the walls of the home (hopefully you will not need to repaint)
– Launder all fabric window treatments
– Shampoo all carpets
– Shampoo fabric furniture and wipe leather or wood furniture
– Launder duvets and dry clean pillows (smoke tends to linger in fabric)
– Replace all air filters

Hopefully you have not been in this situation but if you have, do you have any other suggestions I can pass on to Marge?


About homeexchanging

Author of 'Home Exchanging: Your Guide to Enjoying Free Vacation Accommodations'. Expert advise on how to monetize your home to pay for your vacation stays. Follow me to learn how!
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