smoke odor smelly home woman covering nose with bookshelf in background

How to Eliminate Stubborn, Horrible Household Odors—Pet, Smoke, Mold, Mildew

I love the smell of a campfire mixed with the scent of pine trees on a cool summer night. But stale cigarette smoke odor in a car or apartment? The smell of an old house fire? That’s different and a problem EC reader Lisa is finding to be anything but pleasant.

smoke odor smelly home woman covering nose with bookshelf in background

Dear Mary: Help! I have a chance to go back home—to buy the home I grew up in. In the years since I’ve lived there, the house has had a fire so there is smoke damage. Can you recommend something we could use to get the smoke smell out? We are tearing out all the damaged wood from the home but still we have the smoke odor.

I’m curious to know if Nok-Out, the product that you talk about often, would work to eliminate that odor. I appreciate your column and enjoy reading it each day. Love, love the tips and use them often. Thanks so much. You have blessed my life in so many ways. Lisa


Good news for Lisa (and many thanks for her kind, encouraging words)! Yes, without a doubt, Nok-Out will eliminate the smoke odor and every other kind of odor Lisa—or you—may be dealing with. I’m talking about pet, smoke, mold, mildew, sick room, and any other kind of household odor you can come up with.

Safe and Amazing

For my readers not yet familiar with Nok-Out, it is a clear, odorless liquid. It is a safe and amazing odor destroyer for use in any area where odors occur. It is water-based, mild enough to wash your hands in, non-allergenic, non-staining, and antimicrobial.

Nok-Out destroys odors caused by pets, organic decay, tobacco smoke, fires, sweat, mold, bacteria, and fungi. Nok-Out leaves carpet, upholstery, cars, trucks, shoes, gym lockers, the air you breathe—you name it—smelling fresh!

The Science

Unlike supermarket room fresheners that do little more than try to cover up odors with fragrance, Nok-Out is an “oxidizer.” When it comes into direct contact with the source of the odor, it oxidizes that smelly stuff, changing it into something that no longer has an odor—pure oxygen.

But it can only do this when it comes in direct contact with surfaces that have been touched by the stinky stuff, be that an entire room, a garbage can, or a teen’s shoes.

Cool Mist

The cheapest and most effective way to deliver Nok-Out to every surface in a room that the smoke has touched—even those areas that may be inaccessible, is with an ordinary household humidifier that delivers cool mist. Then, wait for the simple science that makes Nok-Out work. Just be aware that results will not be instantaneous.

Prepare for the oxidation process to give off its own odor in some situations, as the smoke smell gets eliminated. I’ll tell you now that during the process of oxidizing the offensive odor, it’s going to smell like a stinky swimming pool with a hint of chlorine. Don’t be surprised by this. It’s part of the process. Just wait.

Sweet Smell of Nothing

Once the oxidation is complete, you’ll be left with the beautiful smell of—nothing! The odor will be gone, and it will not come back. Just know that depending on the severity of the situation you are dealing with, this oxidation process could take days, not only hours.

Where to Get Nok-Out

I’m excited to let you know that Everyday Cheapskate has partnered with Nok-Out to bring you the best prices on all sizes of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator—with shipping included and great customer service (call Ted at 866-551-1927 or 512 607 6621, or email for help if you have a specific odor situation). Nok-Out Odor Eliminator is available directly using these links:

 NOK-OUT 16 oz. $19

 NOK-OUT 32 oz. $26

 NOK-OUT 128 oz. $40

Dispense With A Humidifier

The Best Inexpensive humidifier for this purpose—when the smoke has penetrated an entire room or large area, and it is nearly impossible to hand-spray Nok-Out to touch all of the areas—is a cool mist room humidifier, like this Honeywell model. Its large capacity allows it to run for 24 hours between fill-ups.

Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier
Featuring a large 1.1 gallon, easy-fill, self-standing tank, this cool moisture humidifier provides up to 24 hours of run time. Plus, it’s easy to clean – all parts that touch the water (or in this case, Nok-Out!) can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Another option that will deliver Nok-Out mist perfectly in any enclosed space is this Fogmaster Jr.

Fogmaster Jr Electric Handheld Fogger
This small fogging machine features a 1-quart tank, suitable for full strength Nok-Out for extreme odor situations, including vehicle interiors, hotel rooms, restaurants, bars, waiting areas, nursing homes, churches and office buildings.

How to Dispense Nok-Out

To eliminate old and persistent smoke odor on a specific item, such as an old must suitcase, furniture piece, or litter box, spray Nok-Out full strength to completely cover that item—in the corners, cracks, baseboards, and door jams and casings.

For larger enclosed spaces like a car or enclosed room, you want to use a humidifier (see above). Dilute 1 cup (8 oz.) Nok-Out with one gallon of room temperature tap water. Use this to fill the humidifier. Operate it in the room as needed, with all windows and vents closed for up to four hours at a time. After four hours, allow a period of rest so the oxidation can take place.

If odors persist, repeat. It may take multiple routines to finally eliminate (not cover up!) the odors.


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12 replies
    • Mary Hunt says:

      You could but why would you given these very strict precautions for ozone:

      Ozone generators are legally sold and marketed as air cleaners, but they produce ozone as a byproduct and have not been approved for use in occupied spaces by any federal agency. Here are a few precautions you should take if using an ozone generator:

      – If you opt for an ozone generator to mitigate a vehicle’s odor, use it in the vehicle for 1-2 hours, then air the car out overnight.

      – Remove any items that you don’t want to experience discoloration or potential damage from rooms in which you use an ozone generator.

      – Ozone can worsen respiratory symptoms and asthma, so wait 2-4 hours for it to settle before re-entering the room in which you used the generator.

      – Make sure pets and children do not have access to the space while the ozone generator is running.

      – Keep plants out of the area.

      – Run the generator for only 2-3 hours in larger rooms and do not return to the house until later that day.

      Nok-Out is federally approved and comes with none of the precautions for ozone.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      From the post … “In a jug or other large container, pour 1 cup  (8 oz.) Nok-Out and one-gallon room temperature tap water. Use this to fill the humidifier. Operate it in the room as needed with all windows and vents closed for up to four hours at a time.” Four hours is usually long enough to get NokOut well distributed. Now let it do its job of oxidizing the odor. It can take a while so be patient. Keep everything closed up during this process.

  1. Linda says:

    Nok-Out is amazing. After reading about it in your column, I tried it on an antique trunk that I’ve had for 45 years. (I don’t know how old the trunk actually is) The people that previously owned it had used moth balls in it. I tried everything over the last 4 decades to get rid of that moth ball smell and be able to use it for storage. Nothing worked. Not-Out did the trick. I did have to treat about 3 times, but I can now use the trunk for storing things without having them smelling like moth balls.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Oh I am so thrilled that this worked for you, Linda! Woo-hoo! I know that Nok-Out Ted (oh, that doesn’t sound good! … but it’s kinda’ cute) would love for you to send him a testimonial on your experience. It’s a wonderful story about how I discovered his mom, Lou the first Nok-Out distributor and I mean quite a few years ago. Lou, Ted, Nok-Out and I have a long history now with our mutual goal of helping people in meaningful ways that will make their lives better.

  2. Linda D Radosevich says:

    I’m guessing for the description of Nok-Out being safe enough to wash your hands in, that it would work well for a dog that has been ‘skunked’. Am I right, Mary?

      • Barbara J Pirie says:

        Oh yes Linda!! My dog I had years ago got sprayed by a skunk and I sprayed straight Nok-Out on him and rubbed it on him and the smell was completely gone after I let it dry on him!! I swear by Nok-Out and Sniper!! They work!! Worth every penny!!!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I washed a load of clothes that had my favorite black gym pants in it. I forgot about them and left the whole load in the washing machine overnight. When I got them out the next day, the pants had that soured smell to them. I was so disappointed! I tried washing them several more times but could not get the smell out. Then I remembered my Nok-Out. I sprayed it full strength on the pants and washed them and the smell was not as bad so I washed them again and it took it out completely! I am totally sold on this product!


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