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Friday October 1, 2021

By Paul Barach

incense used to hide the smell of weed Education

For most cannabis consumers, there is no better, safer, or more enjoyable place to smoke weed than in your own home. After all, where else can you find a couch, a bed, a refrigerator and a TV all so close at hand? (Probably at an Ikea or a Sears showroom, but they won’t let you stay there and smoke, even if you ask nicely.)

Let’s face it, smoking marijuana at home is pretty much the best. Besides the convenience, you don’t have to worry about bothering anyone else with your smoke, driving anywhere, or interacting with anyone besides the friends you have over (and maybe the person delivering the food you ordered, but they’re probably cool.)

However, while smoking weed at home clearly rules, your home smelling like cannabis smoke afterwards does not.

Maybe you have company coming over or live with someone who doesn’t indulge. Or maybe you just came back from an out-of-town trip and are reassessing your place with a fresh pair of nostrils. Whatever the reason, getting that weed smell out of your home can become a priority and PotGuide is here to help. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about exorcising the ghosts of bowls past from your home, whether you only have an hour to clear out the smell or have a couple of days to erase it completely.

Table of Contents:

  1. Cannabis Smells in Your House
  2. Eliminating Weed Smell from Your Home with Less Than an Hour
  3. Cleaning Cannabis Smell from Your Home When You Have a Day
  4. Ridding Marijuana Odor from Your Home When You Have a Weekend
  5. How to Prevent Weed Smell in the Future
  6. Conclusion

Cannabis Smells in Your House

We don’t always think of them this way, but cannabis buds are the flower of the cannabis plant, and like any other flower, they will smell. This is thanks to the plant’s many terpenes, natural oily substances that the plant produces that provide its smell as well as some of its effects. 

Why does cannabis make your house smell? Cannabis smells accumulate in your home from the residue of smoked or vaporized terpenes and burnt plant matter. 

Those terpenes are vaporized when we smoke or vaporize cannabis. They are also degraded in the process, creating other smelly byproducts, such as benzene.

Someone exhaling cannabis smoke from a joint
The distinguishable smell from cannabis is one that is not easy to cove up.

When we exhale the vapor or smoke, tiny oily particles of those terpenes are part of what we breathe out. They will then settle and accumulate in the room and give off a smell. These particles are sticky as well, and this is how cannabis scents can become so deeply ingrained in fabrics and other absorbent surfaces and make them difficult to get rid of.

Another element adding to the skunky smell (particularly when smoking flower) is burnt carbonous material, meaning the actual plant matter of your buds. Burning the plant cells produces a pungent smoky odor, and results in ash. Think of how burning paper or wood leaves behind that distinct ashy smell. Cannabis is a plant, and burning it will make a smokey smell just like burning any other plant. If you lit a bouquet of dried roses on fire, they would stink of the room a bit too.

Now that we know how lingering cannabis smells are caused, we’ll take a look at how to overcome them.

Eliminating Weed Smell from Your Home with Less Than an Hour

If you’re in a desperate hurry, don’t panic. Even if your boss, your landlord, or your parole officer called on their way over for an unexpected visit, (or all three are coming because you are terrible at planning a dinner party), there’s still hope. Yes, your place may currently reek like a wet wool poncho after a Phish concert, but you can change that in a short amount of time.

To quickly get rid of cannabis smells, first, open up all your windows and doors. Get some fresh air in there and get it circulating. If you’ve got a ceiling fan, yank down on that chain and get those blades spinning.  If you have a rotating fan or a box fan, plug it in and face it out the windows. The closer to the window frame you can put the fan the better. 

An open window to air out the smell of cannabis
Airing out your home is the first step to removing the smell of cannabis. photo credit

Empty out all your ashtrays, dump the roaches, flush your bong water, and take out the trash.

Next, douse the place with a spray air freshener. Your place may now smell like a spring meadow that someone left a wet poncho from a Phish concert in the middle of, but there’s enough plausible deniability that you can skate by.

Cleaning Cannabis Smell from Your Home When You Have a Day

Say you have a little bit more time. You’re still hosting that dinner party for your boss, landlord, and parole officer (you really should have planned this better) but it’s happening tomorrow. With that much time, you have your pick of methods to get that cannabis smell out of your place. 


The age-old trick. While incense has been historically used in religious ceremonies, it’s also great for masking any number of odors. Grab a stick or two, find a bowl or other holder to catch the ash, and light it up. The pungent smell will mask any odor, and maybe you’ll seem cultured and refined.

Scented Candles

If you’re not feeling the Eastern temple vibe, scented candles are a more Western way to cover for whatever joint spirits still haunt your place. Like incense, you’ll cover the smell.

A scented candle used to help remove the smell of weed
Scented candles are a great way to mask marijuana odor. photo credit

However, with scented candles, you won’t have to deal with ash residue. You’ll also have a wider selection of scents to choose from, depending on if you’re in a New England Beach or Sandalwood kind of mood.

Air Freshener Plug In

If you don’t want to deal with fire at all or have to leave your house for a while, plug-ins will cover any odor. Plus, there’s the added benefit of a constant supply of fresh smells to cover any marijuana odor that might be trying to stage a comeback.

Dust and Vacuum

Cannabis smoke and ash can wind up as dust in your home and accumulate over time creating a smell you might not even notice. Add to that all of the minuscule bits of dabs and flower that have made their way onto the floor during rolling or dabbing sessions over time. Vacuuming and dusting your place can help to address those hidden smells and keep the space from smelling musty overall. Even a quick once-over can make a big difference. Sprinkle some baking soda across your carpet and vacuum it up to get an extra boost of freshness.

Ridding Marijuana Odor from Your Home When You Have a Weekend

If you’ve got some time on your hands – say on a weekend of chores, or while you’re doing some spring cleaning – then get some brushes, rags, and buckets together and put some music on the stereo. Or a Netflix show that you can tune out, most likely about baking or true crime.

Thanks to gravity, nearly everything eventually ends up on the ground. That’s also true of smoke and if you’ve got a carpet, that’s where that odor will remain.

Vacuuming will take care of a lot of the smell, but if you can’t remember the carpet’s original color beneath the spilled bong water and grubby haze, or you’re trying to get your deposit back, you’ll need a carpet shampooer. Luckily, many grocery and hardware stores offer them for rental and they’re pretty easy to use. Just pour some hot water and detergent into the tank, flip on the power, and watch the magic as it returns your carpet to its original, fresh condition.

Next, get some Lysol or other cleaning agents and give all your hard surfaces a swipe. Old resin, crumbly charred bits of weed, and sticky bits of tar all add up to one overwhelming odor of old weed. Once they’re wiped up you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. Finally, finish it all off with an odor remover. While air fresheners may mask the smells that can come right back, odor remover spray will go one step further. These sprays and absorbent pillows will suck the cannabis smells out of the air rather than just covering for them.

How to Prevent Weed Smell in the Future

If you’re looking to avoid having your home smell like cannabis in the first place, concentrates are a safe bet, odor-wise. However, if you’re loving the flower for its terpenes and cannabinoids and want to keep your smoking au natural, a dry herb vape is a great compromise.

Dry herb vapes are relatively inexpensive on the low end, with handheld devices retailing for less than $150 on the lower end. Because dry herb vapes vaporize the terpenes and cannabinoids rather than burning up the flower, there’s no smoke and far less smell.

A handhold vaporizor
Handheld vaporizers are discreet and give off minimal smell.

Using a vaporizer keeps your place smelling fresh. As an added bonus, when you’re done smoking you can use the leftover “ABV” for edibles or tinctures.

In order to keep the weed smell from settling in in the first place, be sure to blow your smoke out the window and take your trash out regularly. Empty your bong water after you’re done using it, for odor and for health reasons, or smoke in the bathroom with the shower and the fan on. Finally, keep your weed in airtight containers to keep those terpenes contained. With a little precaution and a little extra effort your place will keep smelling fresh.


There’s no reason to have to choose between smoking up in the privacy and comfort of your own home and having to live in the aftermath of your pot session. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to strike that balance with ease.

How do you keep your home smelling fresh and clean after a smoke session? Share your tips, tricks and experiences in the comments below.


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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