Dealing with Cigar Stink

cigar smoke

Bitter though this pill may be to swallow, many of the most pleasurable experiences life has to offer come with a decidedly less-than-pleasant aftermath.

An evening of indulgence in bourbon and beer brings a hangover as retribution; a great hike or climb leaves its share of lactic acid in those worn-out muscles; a day spent lounging about on the beach or poolside can bring a sunburn and calls to the effect of “Hey, why aren’t you at work?”

And while puffing on a fine Dominican Colorado Corona at a swinging cigar party (some people call them “getties,” as in “get togethers”) or quietly enjoying a Cuban Maduro Bellicoso while leafing through the pages of book of ancient history might both be great ways to pass some time, no matter how you enjoy that stogie, the result will be the same: cigar stink.

Related: How to Smoke a Cigar Properly
cigar smoke
Cigars are rather strange, when you think about it: caught upon a passing breeze, their faint aroma is pleasing, even inviting. Yet when a room is filled with cigar smoke, it pretty much stinks. The smoke you draw into your mouth and then deftly exhale in a series of perfect rings may taste great, yet the taste left in your mouth post-smoke, that infamous “cigar mouth,” can taste like satan’s ass. And everything from your clothing to your upholstery to the very carpets and walls of a home can be left reeking with cigar odor for days after a smoking session — or can even become permanently infused with that musty aroma of old stogies.

But fear not! I’m here to help. And fortunately, I got some help from a bonafide cigar expert, Michael Herklots, Vice President, Retail and Brand Development for the vaunted tobacco brand Nat Sherman. Not only does Mr. Herklots know a thing or ten about proper cigar selection, cutting, lighting, smoking, and so forth, but he’s also something of an expert when it comes to mitigating the “side effects” that come with cigars.

Related: The Best Cigars of 2016

If you love puffing away on a fine cigar but you (meaning your partner…) hate the way it makes your mouth taste, your hands and clothes smell, and the lingering odors it leaves behind, then read on! It’s really not as hard as you might think to stop smelling like cigar smoke if you know the steps to take.

We asked Nat Sherman’s Michael Herklots for advice on…

How To Get Cigar Odor Out of Clothingscreen-shot-2016-12-28-at-11-10-01-am

Clothing is porous. It will smell like whatever it’s exposed to. Spend an afternoon in the diner? You smell like the diner. Spend an afternoon at the beach? You smell like the beach. So spending time around combustible premium cigars will undoubtedly leave your garments smelling like… smoke.

The care for your garments really isn’t much different after cigar smoke than [with] any other major influence aroma. Consider your personal aroma after barbecuing all afternoon? It might be hard for you to notice after the 12 beers you had, but ask your friends… they’ll tell you. Unfortunately, we can’t jump in the pool wearing our three-piece, so maybe the process is a little different, but garment care is garment care.

You’ll need a few things. First, get a garment brush. NOT the red fabric thing with the plastic handle from a drug store that you pull lint off your sweater with. A GARMENT BRUSH! A good one. You’ll also need a steamer. NOT your iron with a steam function. And not your shower on full blast. A steamer.

Hang your garment somewhere exposed to fresh air. If you have a safe place outdoors that’s covered, that’s ideal. Next brush your garment. Just like we brush our teeth after we eat (well I do…) to get the food out and keep our teeth and gums healthy and breath smelling great…we must do the same for our garments. Brushing your garment helps remove whatever might be in the fibers of the fabric that could be causing odor: ashes, dust, dirt… trust me… After you’ve brushed your garment, steam your garment. Hot towel before you shave sound familiar? Right… same thing. I know you skip the towel thing, but you probably don’t have a garment brush either, so we’re changing lives here, folks. Steam your garment thoroughly, and rebrush the garment after to be sure everything that could be adding or maintaining odor is finally removed. Then let your garment breathe overnight. The following day, you’re good to go. If you still feel there’s some lingering aroma, use a light fabric spray.


How To Deal With Cigar Mouth

cigar-mouth“Cigar mouth” is NOT from cigars. I do know what bad breath is, and bad breath is caused by a number of different factors including what you ate, what you drank, and what you did throughout the day to mitigate the [breath] problem before huffing down Churchills and saying, “Man… I shouldn’t have had that second cigar… now I have cigar mouth.”

No, actually, you have 24-hour mouth that started with your pastrami on rye at lunch. But, no problem. We’ll get through it.

Assuming you maintain the standard operating procedure you’ve grown up with (or we hope), to brush and floss after every meal, you may also want to consider chewing sugarfree gum during the day, and on your way home after your “guy’s night.” More importantly, be sure to drink plenty of water during the day, as well as during your consumption. While it helps with you potential hangover (I know, big guy… you don’t get hangovers… but, er… your forehead still has beads of sweat and it’s 11am… so….). It also keeps your mouth wet, and keeps things moving down the shoot.

Breath is as much a function of your stomach as it is your mouth and the tubes that connect them. When you get home, after hanging your suit, brushing it and steaming it, it’s time to brush and steam you. So, in ya go… hot shower. Get something with some texture and pores (face cloth, loofah, your wife’s pink poofy thing on a string), lather it up, and scrub. Getting the outer most layer of skin off your body gives you a fresh start (and smell). Wash your hair. Condition it.  Drink another glass of water (with our without four Ibuprofen) and now it’s time to address the mouth. First: brush your teeth. Normal. Second: dilute Hydrogen Peroxide with water equal parts (trust me. Or look at the back of the bottle), take a swig, swish it around, and gargle with it. Take another swig, and brush your teeth using the diluted rinse. And please, DON’T FORGET YOUR TONGUE! Brush it! Scrub it!  Last, mouth wash. I prefer the blue Listerine, as the hydrogen/water combo doesn’t exactly leave you feeling minty fresh.  Next morning, you’ll be amazed.


How To Minimize Cigar Odor In Rooms

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Cook fish in the kitchen? House smells like a fish market. Light a Christmas Candle? House smells like Santa’s factory.  Light a cigar indoors? It’s going to smell like cigar smoke.

The key while smoking is exhaust. You want as little smoke to remain in the room as possible. Open two windows for cross ventilation, or use an exhaust fan to remove the smoke while you are actively smoking. Filtration is helpful, but it is not a solution. You must exhaust.

Second comes filtration and cleaning the air. Ionizers are great to leave on after you’ve finished smoking, but can be acrid smelling during smoking. Rabbit Air also makes incredible filter systems. But again, filtration is secondary. Third, add an additional aroma. Light a candle. Use Lampe Berger. And definitely skip the “plug-ins!” Last, eliminate ANYTHING that could allow aroma to remain. Cigar ash, cigar butts… clean up after yourself.  The hygiene of your environment is equally important as the hygiene of your body. If you have fabric in the room where you enjoy cigars (couches, carpets/rugs, etc…) A. Get rid of them. B. Clean and deodorize them regularly. C. Reconsider A.

And there you have it. Follow these steps and you’ll be smoke-smell free in no time.