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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Nicotine Odour Cleanup

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

Nicotine odours are some of the most difficult to counteract. A very typical scenario is that a seller wishes to maximize the value of their property, but the occupants had been heavy smokers for years. Smoke odour molecules can get everywhere, including behind kitchen counters, and embedded into painted surfaces.
Ordinary latex interior paint is porous and will trap nicotine odour molecules, so even after a deodorization, the embedded nicotine molecules may continue to emanate odours. Options include cleaning the affected surface, applying an odour blocking sealant to the surface, or removing and replacing the surface.
When opting to clean a painted surface, it is advisable to raise the temperature in the room to 29C (85F) for 24-48 hours prior to the work. This elevated temperature will open the pores in the painted surface, allowing the trapped nicotine odour molecules to be removed.
The application of an odour blocking sealant is not as labour intensive as cleaning, however it takes longer. After the sealant dries, the surfaces will need to be re-painted.
Removal and replacement is reserved for those situations when there is no viable alternative. For example, most textured ceilings (popcorn) are unpainted plaster and can trap a lot of nicotine odour molecules. Application of a sealant may lead to deterioration of the plaster. Removal of the texture and conversion to a smooth ceiling may be the preferred option.

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