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Cannot remove odor from our apartment! HELP!


Just finished hosting a young couple…who were very nice in most regards. After their departure, there was a burnt smell (not cigarettes, not incense, not sure…a bit like weed but not exactly) that permeated the apartment. They tried to cover it with air freshener-I think. We have opened the windows, run an air purifier, ordered an ozone generator from Amazon and have run it every single day, have washed down all surfaces, sanitized every linen, and I cannot get rid of the smell. I use all organic cleaning products. I am heartbroken. I have blocked off dates in the hopes that I can get rid of it. But, no luck! Any specific recommendations (air purifiers, etc) from anyone would be so helpful. There was no evidence, but they may have ruined our apartment’s future. We clearly state "No smoking, no vaping, no live candles, etc in our rules and had a $200 security deposit, but have no evidence other than the guest admitting that he burnt incense at one point in the airbnb thread). I just spent $50 on an ozone generator, but does not seem to be working.

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You may have to resort to arson, sorry. Or maybe give the ozone machine a few days to work? The will be some odor experts weighing in soon hopefully.

Good luck


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Thank you–In definite need of odor experts!!

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Did you change out the a/c filters if applicable?

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If it sorta smell like MJ, but not quite, they might have been vaping MJ extracts, especially if you are somewhere where cannabis is legal. Or they might have been making cannabis extracts.

Or maybe they had a little meth factory? If you found evidence that match heads were removed, cases from lithium batteries, or Sudafed packages in the trash, you should have the place checked for meth factory residue, although the smell of the (very toxic) meth factory residue is often ammonia or a chemical solvent smell. See https://www.thoughtco.com/meth-lab-smell-608407 for more meth lab things to look for.


Some people left our house with a weed-ish smell that we couldn’t figure out for a few days. Turned out it was something they had put down the kitchen sink. We used an expanding foam pipe cleaner/declogger, and that finally did the trick.


I have sprayed walls with a mixture of 4 parts water and one part Clorox bleach but since you prefer to use organic, maybe water and vinegar.


If it is a subtle odour, spray an ammonia solution and get out for at least an hour. Then open all the Windows.,

Stronger smell? As above, with bleach. Do not combine these as it is dangerous.

Got a bit of time? Leave all the Windows and doors open as long as poss. Natural, and it nails everything.

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Perhaps the odor is not as strong as you think; I’d suggest asking a friend to stop by and assessing the smell – an outsider’s “fresh” perspective might help to determine the source.


$50 ozone machine wont do anything. Hire a professional grade machine

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Yes, we did! But, that is a great suggestion.

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Thank you…I thought that might be the case.


Thank you so much. It’s so humid right now that there is no breeze. But, we are leaving windows and doors open at night. It’s helping a little.

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I think it might have been vaping and then they tried to disguise the vape odors with incense. It can be very scary to be an Airbnb host. I am learning!


Thank you…we’re fairly certain that it was airborne…as I could smell it in the towels, pillows etc. Thank you so much for taking the time to weigh in.


Seems to be lessening. Fingers crossed.


I had the same problem with a couple who brought their (out of state, illegal stinky) weed into the house, smoked it inside, outside, while walking around the neighborhood… they stank and my room was a disaster for about 10 days.

Vinegar and water spray on the walls, leave bowls of white vinegar out on the tables in the room. Wash all linens and pillows with detergent and lots of white vinegar. Bleach out the entire bathroom and even clean the bathroom rugs in the detergent & vinegar solution.

I also put baking soda down twice on the (wool Oriental) rug in the bedroom, mixed in a sachet of Trader Joe’s organic dryer sachets (opened, dropped on baking soda, walked all over it to grind it up, left if for 2 hours and then vacuumed, did this twice); lifted up the bed and box springs and mattress to get under the bed, too, and vacuumed. All wood furniture cleaned with Murphy’s oil soap and French lemon oil.

I changed out the air filters, too. It took a while, but it went away. Then the next guests brought in food and drank red wine on the white bedding and left breadcrumbs in the closet…

And I wonder why I drink…

I was at my wits’ end after a week,


I’m going to ask you what may seem to be a weird question. Do you have a piano in the house? We worked and worked and worked to get a musty order out of our house. We cleaned everything, we put in new carpet where we could, shampooed all the other carpets, checked the entire house from top to bottom for mold - in the attic, under the house, no sign of it anywhere. Then my brother stayed with me for a weekend and I was talking to him about it. He said actually most of the house smelled really great but there was a little waft of musty in this one area in the dining room, right by the piano. Pianos have felt hammers and those will hold onto the smell. I opened the top of the piano, hit it with a light spray of Odor Ban, Odor Gone Now. If you’re not a fan of odor ban you can use whatever air cleaner type stuff you prefer. It’s a longshot, but I don’t know, maybe you do have a piano. :wink:


Not weird at all. My grandfather used to own an antique auction…so I know the musty smell. Nope, no piano. The apartment was renovated just a year ago…I am trying all natural solutions as we promise our guests a toxin-free home—We did just add a fine and harsh new rules. Thank you for the suggestion.

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A fine for an odor? Seems subjective to me and hard to prove. As a traveler I avoid listings with lots of rules and fines.


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