How to Get Rid of Cigar Breath, Smell, and Smoke

Bitter though this pill may be to swallow, many of the most pleasurable experiences life has to offer come with 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; and a day spent lounging about on the beach or poolside can bring a sunburn and questions like “Hey, why aren’t you at work?”

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 as you leaf 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 smell

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, who is also the vice president of retail and brand development for the vaunted tobacco brand Nat Sherman. Not only does Herklots know a thing or 10 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.

If you love puffing away on a fine cigar but you (or your partner) hate the way it makes your mouth breath, clothes, and house smell, then read on.

How to Get Rid of Cigar Breath

Cigar beath is not from cigars. Bad breath is caused by a number of different factors, including what you ate, what you drank, and what you did throughout the day.

cigar smoke
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Assuming you maintain the standard operating procedure you’ve grown up with (or we hope) — brush and floss after every meal — you may also want to consider chewing sugar-free gum before and after your cigar-smoking session. More importantly, be sure to drink plenty of water during the day, as well as during your consumption. It not only helps with your potential hangover, but it also keeps your mouth wet and 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 or without four ibuprofen).

Now it’s time to address the mouth. First: brush your teeth. Second: dilute hydrogen peroxide with water equal parts, take a swig, swish it around, and gargle with it. Take another swig, and brush your teeth using the diluted rinse. And please, do not forget your tongue. Last: mouthwash.

How to Get Rid of Cigar Smell in Clothing

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.

how to enjoy a cigar
Lutendo Malatji/EyeEm/Getty Images

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 real 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 real 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, which helps remove whatever might be in the fibers of the fabric that could be causing odor: ashes, dust, dirt. etc. After you’ve brushed your garment, steam it thoroughly, then re-brush it to be sure everything that could be adding or maintaining odor is finally removed. Finally, 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 Get Rid of Cigar Smell in the House

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

cigar magazine

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.

Next comes filtration and cleaning the air. Ionizers are great to leave on after you’ve finished smoking but can be acrid smelling during smoking. Keep in mind that filtration is secondary to ventilation.

Third, add an additional aroma. Light that candle. Just skip the plug-ins!

Last, eliminate anything that could allow the 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…) you can either A) get rid of them, B) clean and deodorize them regularly, or C) reconsider option A).

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

Article originally published December 29, 2016.

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