Third-Hand Smoke – A New Hazard To Be Aware Of

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Third-hand smoke is the residue of cigarette smoke that lingers and builds up in upholstery, carpets, and second-hand clothing and furniture. While research is still underway as to how dangerous third-hand smoke can be, research has already found that methods practised by average home owners doing their own cleaning are not enough to remove the tobacco smoke residues, and even after airing and vacuuming, the third-hand smoke will still linger. Carpets and upholstery are particularly bad offenders, as these have a large surface area, thus making them more able to accumulate residues, and people frequently come in contact with them. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to third-hand smoke in carpets, as they often spend a lot of time on carpeted surfaces.

It is possible that third-hand smoke may even be more dangerous than second-hand smoke, as it is in a more concentrated form and it is harder to avoid, according to the American Cancer Society. However, as mentioned above, research into the toxicity and carcinogenic properties of third-hand cigarette smoke is still in progress.

Research to date, however, does have some good news. Commercial carpet cleaning that involves the use of heat and water, is able to remove third-hand smoke from carpet fibres. This can be done by applying a pre-cleaning spray and allowing it to sit wet on the carpet for an adequate amount of time, thus loosening the particles of third-hand smoke, followed by commercial cleaning using a machine that heats the water; or it can be done by steam cleaning. Similar procedures can also be undertaken by professional cleaners for upholstery and for furniture, and this is recommended for those buying second-hand furniture or curtains.

Anyclean, a London-based cleaning company that has been operating since 1998, is quick to reassure the public that all upholstery cleaning, carpet cleaning and end of tenancy cleaning performed by highly trained professionals with up-to-date cleaning equipment is able to provide the necessary level of thorough cleaning needed to reduce the levels of third-hand smoke in homes and offices. “Call in a professional to steam clean the carpets in your new home if the previous occupant was a smoker,” said a spokesperson for Anyclean. “You can probably smell the old tobacco smoke still lingering there and you need to have it deal with by a professional.”