3-Step Guide For Naturally Cleaning Cigarette Smoke And Tar Out Of Your Home's Ductwork
If you or someone else in your household smokes cigarettes, you may notice the stale odor of the smoke and tar increases whenever your central HVAC unit is running. If you would like to naturally reduce the smell by removing the tar and nicotine buildup, use the three-step guide below.
Step 1: Soak The Vents With A Homemade Cleaner
The first step in cleaning your ductwork is removing and soaking the air vents in a homemade cleaning solution. The cleaner uses baking soda and white distilled vinegar to cut through the tar and nicotine. Because the vents are not rinsed, the residual left helps to absorb any remaining odors.
Fill your bathtub halfway with hot water. As the tub is filling, pour in two cups of baking soda and three cups of vinegar. Place the vents in the bathtub to soak for at least an hour. While they are soaking, go on to step two.
Step 2: Wipe Out The Inside Of The Ducts
While the vents are removed, the second step involves wiping the inside of the ducts with a homemade soap. Castille soap is used as the base because it is non-caustic but is strong enough to cut through the grime. Baking soda and vinegar are used to help neutralize the odors within the ductwork.
In a one-gallon bucket, mix together two cups of hot water, a quarter of a cup of castille soap, a half of a cup of baking soda, and two cups of vinegar. You will also need a non-terry cloth for wiping so that it does not snag on any rough surfaces. A cloth diaper works well for this.
Turn off your central air unit to prevent being bombarded with dust as you work. Then, use your non-terry cloth that is dampened with the soap to wipe the inner surfaces of the ducts. Be careful not to scrape your hand on any metal or screws sticking out.
Let the ducts air dry for a half an hour. At this time, also remove the vents from the cleaning solution and allow them to air dry as well.
Then, turn on your central unit and let it run for a full cycle. This will help trap any particles that were broken free inside your current filter. Once this is done, turn off the unit and remove the old filter in preparation for step three.
Step 3: Replace The Filter With A New One Treated With Essential Oil
Once the old filter has been removed, it is time to replace it with a fresh one that has been treated with an herbal essential oil. The oil will slowly diffuse over time, freshening the scent of the air as it passes through your HVAC system.
When choosing the oil, you can select a favorite scent like lavender or bergamot oil. Or, you can select an oil that not only covers the smoky odors but helps to eliminate it. Eucalyptus oil serves this purpose, and has other added health benefits.
At even intervals, sprinkle ten drops of the oil of your choice on one side of the filter. Then, turn it over and repeat on the other side. Place the filter in your unit and turn it back on. The first couple of times the oil's smell will be strong, but this will dissipate quickly.
The above cleaning steps will reduce the smell of cigarette smoke circulating throughout your home. However, you will only be able to clean the ducts as far down as your arm can reach. If you want a more thorough cleaning, you may want to contact an HVAC contractor who offers duct cleaning services. You can visit http://www.nowha.com/ to learn more.