Smelling like smoke


Okay all you wonderful people of allnurses, any tips or tricks here would be appreciated.

I used to smoke. I am a nurse. I know, how terrible that a nurse smoke when they know all the risks. But people are people and no matter how well educated make stupid decisions sometimes and I smoked long before I became a nurse. I know lots of nurses who smoke, I even know an oncologist who smokes. It happens.

Well I quit about two weeks ago (yay me) because...well let's see. It got too expensive, I wreaked like smoke all the time, I can't leave my unit at night without calling another one for a replacement, and oh yeah, my health.

I live at home with my parents for right now. I have aired out my room and given it a good dose of febreeze. When I do laundry, especially my scrubs, as soon as they come out of the dryer I'm running upstairs to hang them. And I even use softener, little washer sprinkles, and dryer sheets because I like yummy smelling clothes.

Now the problem....I live with two smokers who smoke in the house. Last night, I showered, went right upstairs, dressed, and was out the door in less than a minute after leaving my room. I had a resident ask me if I was a smoker because she could smell it! :( how can I manage to get outside without smelling like smoke without wrapping myself in Saran Wrap? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

RN403, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,068 Posts

Maybe you could leave your scrubs in a locker at work and change when you get there? Something like that.

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

You need to strip the nicotine out of your clothes. Google RLR soak. You should find instructions on how to do the RLR soak your clothes (the instructions might be for cloth diapers but it works on everything). Also you need to get an air purifier. And change the filter often. Febreeze and the sort just covers the odor. Scrub your floors really well. It will take time to get it all out.

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

Living with smokers is gonna be the tough part. Since your skin and hair will absorb the smoke.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

Google air purifiers. They are not cheap but the GOOD ones work. Best of luck and CONGRATULATIONS ON QUITTING SMOKING. That is amazing, so proud of you!!!!

BrandonLPN, LPN

3,358 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

Febreeze spray works wonders.


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.
Febreeze spray works wonders.

She already uses Febreeze.


101 Posts

Congrats on quitting try strong !!!


700 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

Okay my honest opinion... You will never be able to get the smell of smoke out of your clothing/hair/anything as long as you live with people who smoke indoors. I have tried what you described and more. It just permeates everything! Can they smoke outside only? It would be a lot easier to contain the smell that way.

I would also say shower right before work. Can you keep your room window open, and have a fan going? If you have a locker, put one of those smell good gel cones in there (does anyone know what I'm talking about? You can get them at Walmart). I have also shoved laundry softener sheets into my bag and in my dresser before. Keep your room and closet doors closed. I also use a lot of febreeze and keep a small bottle in my work bag in case I get to work and need to freshen up more.

Another thought... Bag your scrubs right out of the dryer. You could use a slightly perfumed trash bag. Open right before work.

Congrats on smoking, and good luck!


256 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

Thank you all! I'll definitely have to look into an RLR soak and maybe into getting an air purifier. I have already washed just about every article of clothing that I have hoping to get the smell out. I was just shocked last night because as I said I haven't smoked in two weeks and since I've quit I've had people stop mentioning the whole smelling of smoke thing.

My dad has been in the process of renovating the house and has mentioned closing in the back porch to smoke on instead of in the house. Hopefully that happens sooner than later.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

I agree. As long as you live with smokers, you are doomed, in terms of retaining a smokey smell.

Bagging your scrubs out of the dryer is a great idea, as is showering, then fleeing out the door.

How long before you can move? Being around smokers is not only smelly, but tempting.


256 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

It's going to be a few months at least. I've got some financial things I need to straighten out first.

And I've got the temptation thing pretty under control. My parents have smoked my whole life, and as a residual of that I flat out cannot smell smoke from a cigarette, even when someone is smoking right next to me. The only time I'm able to smell it is if I go outside when it's cold and smoke...when I walk back inside it assaults my nostrils. But I digress, I use an e-cig type thing when I really get that craving and it has been helping out a whole lot with curbing the smoking. I've tried everything else before...patch, mints, gum...even the cruddy old ecigs. But these work wonders and the woman who owns the shop I buy from is nice enough to let me in the back to read all of the ingredients on her flavor bottles so I know exactly what I'm taking in. This has been the only thing that actually helped me.

And it's so crazy...I can already see a difference. I'm coughing up yuck yuck but things are tasting different and I feel like I'm really breathing. I'm actually just getting over a cold and a respiratory thing I would've had for weeks before lasted 4 days. (I've been back and forth with quitting and not over several months...I relapsed a few times due to my own "need" to have a stress induced cigarette, but now I tell myself no very sternly.) but even with the relapses, when I was smoking I was smoking way less than before so I'm sure that helped.