The Art of the Good Cigar

A Matter of Taste

Cigar Talk: Getting Rid of Cigar Smell

Posted by herfergrrl on July 8, 2009

For many of us, the potent aroma of a fine cigar can be a delicious undertone to convivial socializing and conversation. The taste and smell of a good, hand rolled cigar is an enjoyable and relaxing part of the day for many connoisseurs. But even the most dedicated cigar enthusiast will admit that no one loves the stale reek that follows some hours after, when the volatile oils released from the formerly aromatic tobacco have degraded and gone sour and nasty.

And of course, our non smoking companions may appreciate this smell even less than we do, since they have not partaken of the pleasures that preceded. So in deference to our spouses, friends, dates and business colleagues, the issue of personal hygiene after smoking can become a crucial one.

Here are ten useful steps that you might try to help eliminate lingering cigar odors from your household and your person.

1. Decontaminate your clothes after smoking. Take them off and isolate them immediately. You can place them in a plastic bag, possibly with some deodorizer and/or some baking soda, or just tie the bag shut and leave it there until you are ready to go to the laundry. Smoky clothes will also lose a lot of odor if left in a damp bathroom while you take a hot shower. A steam iron will also have some positive effects, if you happen to have one handy.

2. Wear clothes made from artificial fibers when you plan an evening of cigar indulgence.  Artificial fabrics (rayon, nylon) have a less porous and less absorbent structure, and will hold less odor than natural fabrics such as wool or cotton.

3. Try a spray deodorizer expressly formulated for tobacco smoke, such as TKO. I like to comb some into my hair if it is much too late in the evening to shampoo thoroughly, and spray my clothing with it. You can also spray some around the room in which you have been smoking, if you choose to smoke indoors in your home. It helps a lot, though it’s not perfect. For instance, it won’t get the aroma completely out of a car.  Also, it’s probably not that great for your hair, but if the alternative is being kicked out of bed and into the doghouse, it might be worth an extra round of conditioner in the morning.

4. Wear a hat (in public) or even a shower cap (if nobody is around to point and laugh) to protect your hair from absorbing smoke odors. It helps a lot in reducing the amount of odor that will cling to your hair.

5. Bathe. Wash. Use soap. Use shampoo. Use hot water. I know it’s a whole lot of pain and suffering to undergo, but deal with it. The stale smell will only get worse by morning.

6. Brush your teeth thoroughly, and brush your tongue, gums, palate and cheeks as well.  Mouthwash alone does not always do the trick. This formula does not taste nice, but your significant other will kiss you again if you are brave enough to make your own I.S.C.S.R (Industrial Strength Cigar Smoker’s Rinse). Use shampoo. Not soap, but shampoo, mixed about 1:5 with water. It is not *that* nasty, and the active ingredient (sodium sulfate) will do quite a scrubbing job on your breath. Don’t even think about swallowing, as it is also a frighteningly potent laxative. Don’t gargle. Just rinse, and brush, and then rinse again with plain water. Voila, your dragon breath is tamed.

7. ISCSR Formula #2: Mix a few drops of pure tea tree oil with Listerine or any other alcohol based mouthwash. You can also add some shampoo if you are feeling particularly masochistic, or if you have been smoking something truly harsh that seems to have emptied its own ashtray onto your tonsils when you weren’t looking. Don’t swallow this stuff, either. I didn’t really need to tell you that.

8.  Buy an ionic air purifier, if you have a few hundred bucks to spare.  Even the smaller sub-$100 models can be a big improvement.   Do some homework and comparison shopping and buy a decent one recommended by somebody you trust, as there are some cheap knock-offs on the market.

9. Leave a fan on while you smoke, so that the smoke is blown away from you and does not linger around your person. This does not work if you are in the middle of a large indoor herf, you can’t see the furniture five feet away through the thick fluffy clouds, and you fully expect to hear a distant voice crackling, “This is Boeing One to Ground Control…”

10. Take vitamins. Not just any vitamins, but a few specifics that seem to help you flush nicotine from your system a little faster and to clean up your breath. Chlorophyll is breath-specific, and so is parsley extract. Lesser known are the following, which may be able to help you move the nicotine out of your system a little faster: vitamin A, vitamin C, aged (kyolic) garlic extract, spirulina, wheat grass, young barley grass. As long as you are doing all this, you might as well spring for a decent multivitamin as well, since all the research isn’t in yet and individuals may differ in their reactions. Use sensible and safe doses, as you can do bad things to yourself like destroy your liver if you overdose on some kinds of vitamins.

Alternatively, live alone and learn not to mind the smell, or corrupt your significant other so thoroughly into cigar smoking that he or she is willing not to mind either.  Such an ideal way of life is not, alas, possible for all, so hopefully some of these tips may be helpful.


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