Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Compared to the lingering pong of stale cigarette smoke, most people would agree that the smell of e cigarette vapour in rooms at home or in the car isn’t half as bad.
But then again you’d probably prefer your furniture or car seats didn’t smell of banana or cola-flavoured e cig vapour forever, either. Once that vape smell settles onto sofas, carpets or upholstery in a room, it can be a nightmare to get rid of. But just how can you remove those noxious vape odours?
You can remove most vape smells indoors by airing out rooms and vacuuming, though some e cig odours will persist, regardless. The best way to eliminate unwanted e cigarette smells is to stop them happening in the first place. This means vaping with good ventilation or in rooms with fewer fabric furnishings and choosing less pungent refill flavours.
Before we look at how to get rid of bad vape odours, let’s look at some of the main reasons why they happen.
What causes the smell from e cigarettes?
The smell you get by vaping at home or in your car is caused by tiny flavour compound particles in exhaled e cig vapour settling on hard and soft fabric furnishings.
Most e liquids contain aromatic food flavourings, which are vapourised for only a few seconds every time users inhale.
But when vapers exhale, any fragrance compounds in their e cigarette vapour that aren’t disturbed settle and leave a smelly residue on indoor surfaces, where they will linger until you remove them.
Why do vape smells linger more in a room?
Lingering smells from vaping are worse in rooms indoors simply because vapour becomes more concentrated in confined areas and has nowhere else to go. But aromas also tend to linger more if you or someone else is chain vaping or vaping heavily in a room with very poor ventilation.
Carrier liquids (propylene glycol and glycerine) in vape juice also prolong smells because they can take weeks or months to evaporate from surfaces. This means odours trapped inside these liquids can linger on for long periods until they disappear on their own – or until you banish them.
How to get rid of vape smell (12 ways)
1. Vacuum your carpet
Vacuuming carpets regularly will help remove smelly vape particles before they begin to form a residue.
E cigarette vapour is an aerosol, and so is heavier than smoke particles from tobacco. So, aroma residues from your e cig will tend to settle on horizontal surfaces, like carpets, rather than on vertical ones, like walls.
For this reason, dry or wet vacuuming your carpet at will have a big impact on getting rid of any vape smells. This is after all where most of the pongs are likely to end up.
To remove really bad vape smells, I’ve found that brushing a little baking powder into the carpet first seems to help absorb some of the vape odour when I vacuum.
- Vacuuming works both as a way of preventing vape smells from accumulating in carpets as well as a way of getting rid of them.
You could of course also use Shake ‘n’ Vac instead though, I guess.
2. Clean hard surfaces with a damp cloth
Odour-carrying e cigarette vapour residue will dissolve in water and is usually easy to remove from windows, shelves, TVs and hard furniture with just a warm, damp cloth.
Using a damp cloth is an effective way to remove vape odour from both rooms indoors as well as cars.
- A little detergent or cleaning solution makes the job a bit quicker, but you should be able to remove enough odour residue with water alone to make a noticeable difference
- After a quick dry-off, most surface odour residue should disappear
3. Steam clean soft furniture
If you’ve tried every other way to rid your furniture of the smell of vaping and failed, steam cleaning your sofa and armchairs is a worthwhile last resort.
- Steam works well at shifting vape odours because it can disperse water-soluble e liquid residue quickly, thus deodorising your furniture
Steam cleaning is a bit of a “nuclear option”, and you should try other solutions first, but if you do go for it, it does work
4. Vape with better ventilation
Opening a window whenever you vape is the best way to stop vape smells from settling indoors, though of course, this isn’t always practical.
If you can’t open a window, at least try to limit smell build-up by keeping air moving around the room you’re vaping in.
You can do this simply by opening a door to another room and/or by running a low-power fan for a while. Modern window units also often have small vents installed which you can open to remove stagnant or musty-smelling e cig vapour without making you feel cold.
5. Avoid cheap, pungent vape liquid flavours
One really effective way to stop vaping smells from building up indoors is to choose your e-liquid or pod refill flavours carefully, and try to avoid the really pungent ones.
I would personally avoid heavy or “bassy” kinds of vape flavours if you want to keep your indoor spaces smelling fresh. These low sickly-sweet fruit pudding notes will stick to furniture and carpets and can hang around for weeks.
Weird flavour combinations like coconut and raspberry or other foody flavours can also leave nasty niffs over time. Ditch these vape juice flavours unless you really want a living room or car that smells like a school canteen:
Whiffy vapes to avoid:
- Vanilla (the bad type)
- Bubble gum
- Artificial tobacco
- Any nightmare Franken-juice combinations of the above
6. Choose lighter vape flavours that actually smell nice
Lighter, more upbeat indoor-friendly vape flavours are a safer bet for a fresher, sweeter smelling and more fragrant home or car. After all, tangy, sharp smells are way more tolerable than foody ones.
Even if the smell from these vape flavours does linger indoors, it won’t matter. In fact, your vape might even be air-freshening your home for you!
- Menthol (mint, peppermint, spearmint, etc)
- Real tobacco (NET)
- Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange)
- Floral (rose, cherry blossom, green tea)
Don’t forget! Mixing your own e liquid gives you even more scope to create more fragrant vape flavours, and is a cheap way to help banish bad vape smells
7. Get an indoors vape air purifier
Another option which is becoming a more popular way to remove vape smells is to use an air purifier.
Unlike fans, air purifiers don’t just move air around, but also filter it and remove bad odours.
Standard room air purifiers will do a reasonable job of clearing the air when you vape, and they do make a difference when used in in rooms indoors.
You can buy dedicated air purification appliances designed specifically to filter out vape odour particles before they can land and fester in carpets or sofas. However, as these have not really caught on, standard air purifiers that can deal with cigarette smoke are a safer bet.
8. Try vapourless e liquid
Vapourless e liquid is vape juice which generates flavour, but much less smelly vapour.
Vapourless vape liquid was originally invented as a way for people to vape in secret, but it’s also become an effective way to reduce lingering odours.
This type of liquid produces very little vapour because it contains no glycerine, and higher than usual levels of PG and water. This means that most of the vapour is condensed in your mouth and lungs, with less ending up in the space around you while you vape. And this of course, means fewer smells ending up in your car or rooms indoors.
9. Use a completely odour-free e liquid
If you really can’t find a vape flavour that won’t leave a smell, don’t despair. You can buy odour-free e liquids in the form of “unflavoured nicotine shots”, instead, and these will leave no lingering vape smell at all.
Unflavoured nicotine shots are just an odourless base liquid and nicotine mixture, used to add strength to short-fill or homemade juice mixes. But you can also vape them neat if you have a refillable device.
- make sure to choose the right nicotine strength when you order shots, as many are 18mg or above and will need diluting
It should be said that odourless shots don’t really taste of much. But then again, what can you expect from a vape without any odour at all?
Another useful way to control the smell ratio of your e liquid is to make your own odourless vape juice at home.
Mixing your own e liquid from scratch gives you more control over the smelliness of your vape and can be a great way to vape without stinking out your house.
10. Swap your cloud-machine for a smaller device
So-called “cloud-chasing” vape devices generate much more vapour than regular e cigarettes and are the worst offenders for leaving odours in your home or vehicle.
So if you’re already vaping strawberry-chew flavoured juice out of a cloud machine and are wondering why your front room or car smells like a trifle, you shouldn’t be surprised. Or in other words, it might be time to downgrade and switch to a smaller device.
However, if you’re a newcomer to vaping, you’re more likely to be using a smaller e cig that feels more like a cigarette, like a pod or vape pen, anyway. These dinkier types of e cigarette are less powerful and give out way less vapour, but won’t leave so many unwanted smells in your living room or car.
In short, small is beautiful when it comes to stink-free vaping at home.
11. Mask vape smells with nicer aromas
If all else fails (or if you simply hate vacuuming or opening windows), you can always try masking the smell of your vape rather than trying to get rid of it.
Using plug-in air fresheners, wax melts, and scented candles does work to some extent, though I’ve found that underlying vape odours can still make unwanted appearances
12. Stop vaping so much!
It’s possible that those terrible indoor smells that you can’t shift may be less to do with your cleaning routines and more to do with the way you vape.
Chain vaping, or vaping too frequently is a major factor when it comes to identifying tenacious and persistent vape whiffs. In other words if you’ve done everything you can to stem the smells and you’re still not winning, you maybe need to just stop vaping so much!
Vaping leaves a smell on car interiors, carpets, curtains and sofas indoors because people don’t do anything to fix it until it’s too late.
If you vape strong flavours and leave windows closed without air-conditioning or air purification, smells indoors will build up over time. What’s more, those unpleasant e cigarette odours can linger on and on unless you either get rid of them – or stop them from happening in the first place.
That’s why limiting potential damage in the first place is a much better way of dealing with bad vape smells than trying to fix the problem once it’s become established. Regular light cleaning and making sure you’re using the right type of vape liquid and device will leave you with a fresher-smelling house or car – and less work to do in the longer term.
Related questions about e cigarette smells in your home
Odours from vaping mostly affect rooms like lounges with soft fabric furnishings, such as carpets, curtains and sofas. These are also the places where you are likely to spend more time vaping. Bedrooms are particularly vulnerable to vape smells, as beds and duvets are soft and easy for vapour to penetrate.
Vaping can leave a smell on clothes you wear or store inside your home, though aromas are easy to remove with water and washing detergent. Because vape particles are water-soluble, any smell left on garments will quickly disappear with normal home washing and airing.