Who doesn’t love the smell of weed? Ahem. I mean Cannabis. A lot of people, apparently. Before I was introduced to the wonderful world of vaping, I had to worry about getting ‘busted.’ Agonizing over whether or not my house, my car, or myself smelled like Cannabis. Even when you live in a State where marijuana is legal, there will always be a time that you need to not smell like you hot-boxed with Cheech and Chong. Fast.
How to NOT Smell Like Weed
Smart Stoners (You) Plan Ahead
Stephen Covey wrote in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” to begin with the end in mind. At some point after getting high, you may find yourself needing to appear fit for public appearances. When it comes to the lingering scent of weed, you have your clothes and you have your body to worry about. You will either have to prevent or both of these areas from Cannabis smoke exposure or have a solid plan for afterward. I have your solutions for both.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Choose your Weapon Wisely
Before you flick that lighter, let’s look at the hierarchy of stink that can come from our favorite herb. The worst offender is anything that combusts. If you take a flame to dried herb, smoke will ensue. It’s the wafting smoke that sticks to you and your clothes, setting off odor detectors.
Joints and blunts top the list as they not only constantly burn, but you are holding them with your fingers. Have you ever smelled your fingers after smoking a joint? Not so finger licking good. If this is your preferred/only method, use a joint holder or a good old fashioned roach clip. Just that small barrier will make all the difference in the world.
If you like to burn your flower, go for a pipe or even a bong over a joint or blunt. Leave your bong on the shelf if disguising odor may be a concern. A small pipe will keep your fingers free from smoke and allow you to control what is burning. Bonus points for a pipe with a top to it – even better to control extra burning.
Moving down the list, this may become a compelling argument for vaping over smoking Cannabis. I am not here to persuade you either way, but because you are not actually burning the Cannabis flower with vaping, there is very little odor left behind and no smoke is produced – you’re exhaling vapor.
Concentrates are somewhat new to the market but are the ultimate way to consume Cannabis without having to worry about storing/transporting the actual Cannabis flower (the smell). Whether you’re taking dabs or vaping concentrates, they are virtually odorless.
Edibles & Other Oral Concentrates
Onto what is arguably the most odor-free cannabis option that makes the list. Edibles. Proceed with caution as edibles have a delayed effect, but when the ideal conditions prevail, edibles are by far the safest option if going for scent free.
Location. Location. Location
Either declare yourself a smoke room (more on that idea in a bit) or aerate. You’ll want to pick a well-ventilated area or keep yourself moving. As in outside. This is a perfect time to go for a hike in the woods. Nothing better than a little nature and a good buzz. Even if it’s just around the block, the faster you move, the less likely any odor will attach to you. Now is not the time to stay in and hotbox if you don’t want people asking about your Cologne de Cannabis.
Get Out of the Way
Inside, outside, stay out of the way of where the smoke is if you want to stay odor free. This seems obvious, but there’s always someone in the circle seemingly oblivious that while they are gabbing away, the blunt they are holding is burning away a trail of smoke, all clinging to hair, clothes, etc. Just pay attention to where the smoke is trailing.
While you’re at it, exhale/blow smoke up and away from you and everyone around you. Nobody makes friends by blowing uninvited smoke into someone else’s face. If you happen to be smoking with that guy, do yourself a favor and stand upwind. If you just realized that you are that guy, consider this a message from the universe to take heed next time you are smoking amongst your friends.
Get Smart Storage
You can exercise all the precautions in the world but if you are just throwing your bag of Cannabis into your desk drawer, you are simply inviting unwanted questions about why your room smells like skunk. The topic of ideal marijuana storage deserves its own post so for the purpose of this one, I am referring to storing Cannabis odor-free.
A simple online search will show countless food storage options that will keep your Cannabis fresh and safe from prying noses. If you have participated in a smoke circle or two, at some point you have encountered an old camera film case. Free, small enough for a pocket, they block light and can even be dropped in water without fear of waterlogged Cannabis.
As plastic is not the most favorable storage option from a health perspective, my top free/cheap option is an old mason jar. They come in a multitude of sizes, ready to accommodate any marijuana lover’s stash. No matter how or where you put your weed, make sure it’s airtight. Enough said.
Get the Smell of Weed Out of…Everything
Problem #1: Your CLOTHES Stink
Have a Set of ‘Stank’ Clothes
Whether you have a set of designated attire that you only get high in, or just change clothes, a fresh set of duds will eliminate any scent that may cling to the fabric and waft into any nearby noses. Rest assured, your clothes will smell if you smoke in or near them. If you are a regular Cannabis consumer, you most likely don’t even notice it, but everyone else will.
Just Get Dressed
Keep a clean outfit at the ready. This may be a good time to get out of your uniform of yoga pants/sweats and into actual human-like clothing so you can appear more like a non-stoner homo sapien. You may want to dress nicer than you would normally. Sometimes, just not smelling like a pothead won’t be enough and you might also want to resemble a version of normal.
If you are allocating a set of clothing to be used only for the purpose of getting high, make sure to exercise the same precautions in storing them as you would in storing Cannabis. They will smell almost as strong, so invest in some sort of airtight container – ziplock bag, etc. Throw some dryer sheets or scented sachet in for some extra de-stinking power. Odor absorbing tools and tactics and work well here.
While you’re at it, pick something you are comfortable in, but don’t mind getting messed up. Chances are, depending on how you consume Cannabis, you are going to get ash, resin, bong water, Cheeto dust, etc. on whatever you are wearing. All telltale sign you’ve been smoking weed. Another reason for allocated smoke attire.
Modern Day Smoking Jacket
Back in the day, a comfortable Smoking Jacket was worn to protect the clothing underneath from ash and smoke fumes. Consider a hoodie your new buffer. If you have long hair, pull it back and under the hood and pull the string. You now have an upper body stink condom. Generally, your pants won’t matter too much as they aren’t near anyone’s nose – even if your pants were in the path of the smoke. More on that later.
Problem #2: YOU Stink
Take a shower. Problem solved. This could, however, lead to multiple showers a day to keep up appearances. It’s a lot of soap and shampoo, but if your schedule and budget permits, it’s a great easy and effective option.
I should mention, showers are known to take down your high, so this could work or not work for you, depending on your end goal. You’ve been warned.
Whether you vaped or smoked, it’s a good idea to address your breath. Even if you only consume edibles. Unless you are one of the few that don’t get cotton mouth, dry mouth = stank mouth. Tasty, right?
Brush your teeth, swish some Listerine, gnaw on some strong gum, or suck on some mints. Mentholated cough drops have the added effect of people assuming you are sick and they keep their distance. Thus, giving you an additional scent barrier.
Literally. Again, if you have time, wash your face. A good second alternative is to use a facial spray. As you exhale, all that smoke/vapor will dissipate the around your face – drying your skin out and absorbing odor. Awesome, right?
Guys with facial hair, take note. This goes double for you. Girls with long hair and guys with beards can all tell you that all it takes is a few seconds in front of a fire pit for that hair to smell. For days.
Spritz your face with a spray – even plain old water will help. Facial cleansing cloths or even a baby wipe will help freshen your face up.
Depending on your method of consuming Cannabis, outside of handling edibles, if you are handling marijuana, your hands are going to smell. Unless you use gloves. I make no judgment if you do, it’s just not my thing. So, wash your hands. Certain fast food chains with the initials McD and DD happen to carry some seriously strong antiseptic smelling soap in my experience. The kind where you can touch your hands to your face hours later and still smell the soap.
If you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizer is your friend. Do this too many times, I warn you, and your hands will start to feel as rough as bear paws. Grab yourself some hand lotion while you’re at it. Scented does the trick.
Clean…The AIR Around You
Probably the most obvious and most utilized is to just spray yourself down with some sort of scented spray or perfume. Because I’ve done it myself and seen it done wrong too many times, a few pointers. First, the amount you think you stink should not be directly proportional to the amount of cologne you need. Ever. Nothing screams ‘I’ve been hanging with Snoop Dogg’ like taking a full body shower in Axe body spray. Nobody needs to taste it. You will smell like Cannabis AND cologne.
My best advice? Go with it and be a stinky hippie. If you must dab or spray with some sort of perfume, grab one that is in the realm of similar scents of Cannabis. Woodsy, earthy type scents will do you well here. Essential oils are perfect for this. Small, pocket-sized bottles, with a few drops, rubbed in your hands, a couple of pats here and there, and you’re worries are covered.
Most of the time, you aren’t really close enough to someone for them to identify the exact origin of it.
Clean…Up the EVIDENCE
This means everything you use to get high should be cleaned and/or put away. Your biggest offenders are anything that had Cannabis burned in. All your pipes, bongs, and even vaporizers are going to have a resin residue leftover. If you are burning herb in a traditional sense (with a lighter or match and combusting it), then you will have ash as well.
Dump ashtrays and clean or put away your smelly Cannabis accouterments before the odor gives you away. This includes any leftover roaches or unsmoked blunts. Empty any vaped herb into an airtight container. Just take a look around and exercise some common sense. Something that can tend to go wayward once your indulgence has taken effect.
Problem #3: Your CAR Stinks
Bring in the Big Guns
Short of ventilation and time, if you need to get the smell of Cannabis out of your vehicle, you are going to need to employ chemicals. Ozium, Lysol, and Febreeze are the most popular and most effective. I don’t advocate you bombard you or your surroundings with chemicals from a health perspective but when weighing the ramifications of being busted by your next car passenger, it can beat the alternative.
Use Ventilation to…Ventilate
If your car hasn’t been home to every hot box you’ve had since your first toke, you may be able to get away with using your car’s HVAC system to cleanse the air. And you. With the help of some cologne or spray freshener. With the fans on full blast, spray your troubled odors away. Bonus if you know where your air intake is and take advantage to really get to business.
All in a Good Night’s Sleep
Any number of incense sticks or the like left overnight will also disguise any wrongdoings. My favorite way to naturally deodorize my car is to take a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and leave overnight. Essential oils are…oils. They can leave behind a stain or discolor certain materials. Place it in a cup before putting in your car to be safe.
As a general rule, cracked windows and a few hours will clear the air. Cannabis doesn’t have the tendency to linger like cigarette smoke. Make sure to toss any ashtray remenants or this rule goes out the window. Pun intended.
All these tricks aside, I hate to be the one to tell you, if you hot box in any small space, you should really have zero expectations of either you or your space smelling like a daisy right away. Sorry. Those are the rules.
Problem #4: Your HOUSE Stinks
Designate a Smoke Space
Much like with your clothing, assigning a routine around only smoking in a specified designated area or room will make your life easier. Make sure it’s a space that you can keep airtight or ventilate safely. As in, not into your Preacher neighbor’s widow.
If you are not planning to eventually air the room out, utilize an old standby trick to ensure the space is as airtight as can be. Roll up a towel to shove under the door. Works even better if you wet it first.
Once Again, it’s All About Ventilation
Smokey air that isn’t neutralized or moved out of the space will stink. Use fans to your advantage. If your window is in a safe spot, throw a fan in the window so it’s blowing out. This is one of the fastest ways to clear a room. Especially if it’s an actual window fan or box fan and all other windows/doors in the room are shut. Seriously fast. Just watch out for a nosy passerby.
Or Air Purification
For those of you who can’t or prefer not to air it out to nature, then an Air Purifier is for you. If you aren’t ventilating the room and getting clean air in, then you must clean the air yourself. These things are amazing. Turn it on before/during/and after you light up and your secrets are safe with it. Don’t consider this a ‘smoke only’ purchase. If you get the right one, they work great for allergies too.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Just like your body, you can certainly try to replace one smell with another. The same arsenal that works for your car will also work for your house. The good news is, with your house you will have a few extra tools.
In these cases, you can merely overpower one strong (perhaps skunky) smell with another strong smell. Simple and crude, but certainly effective.
- One of the oldest stoner tricks in the book is to burn incense. Incense leaves its own unique aroma behind while doing a marvelous job of covering up even the strongest Cannabis smell.
- Candles also work wonders. My personal favorites include Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, and Diptyque, though most scented candles will do. Plug-in air fresheners keep working while you aren’t thinking about it.
- Throw something on a fire. Cooking some onions and garlic will ensure every crevice of your home is Cannabis-smell free. Take advantage and cook yourself something healthy. A stinky egg omelet with those sauteed onions clears the air, so to speak.
- Throw some sliced citrus in a pot with water and simmer. Or just brew some coffee. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless once you get into the kitchen. Take advantage of the creativity your indulgence of Cannabis will bring and concoct a perfect de-stinker potpourri or a smelly meal.
Problem #5: You CAN’T Stink
Long before companies actually manufactured tools for us to solve this problem, my friends and I were DIYing with discarded items destined for the recycle bin. For when you can’t risk any detection, it comes down to how, or rather where, you exhale. Exhale into a Sploof and exhale all your future woes away. What is a sploof/spoof?
- A device, usually homemade, used to conceal the exhaled vapors and smoke of marijuana from other, sometimes judgemental, people.
- Other definitions, not so important here.
Sploof v. Spoof
For the purposes of this website, I call it a spLoof. I am aware and have seen the debates both online and in person as to whether or not there is an L in it. Although I don’t have a strong argument, I say there is an L. More or less, because that’s the way I grew up calling it. I have encountered a few people over the years who call it a spoof so I feel obligated to recognize both versions.
A sploof if is generally a tube that you exhale your smoke into. There a few options as to what you can put inside it, but it basically muffles any odor/smoke that you blow through it.
How to Make a Sploof
The most common way to construct a sploof is to grab a paper towel tube or cut the bottom off a water bottle so it resembles a tube. Stuff it with dryer sheets or take deodorant and liberally rub it on some tissues and stuff them in. Throw a thick sock over the end and you have yourself a sploof. Blow (exhale) your smoke through it.
A popular trick I picked up in college is to take an old pizza box and throw some incense in it. Blow your smoke through a corner and it will dissipate out with the scent of incense instead.
Guaranteed Odor-Free Sploof
For those of you who need an advanced version, start by constructing the above water bottle version. Take a trash bag (size depends on the number of people using it) and tape the opening around the bottom of the bottle so that what you blow through the sploof will end up in this big bag instead. You can cap it between tokes, essentially keeping a big bag of smoke that you can take out and empty when/where safe.
Then there are the commercially made varieties. Most of these work the same way as the DIY tube option only instead of dryer sheets or deodorant, there is a carbon fiber filter. The carbon absorbs the odor instead of masking it. These varieties either have a replaceable filter or a limited effective use. I’ve known people to use the carbon stones found in aquarium supply stores in their versions of sploofs. Whatever it takes, right?
One Last Tip…
I would be remiss to not mention one big giveaway that you ‘have been up to no good’, as some say. Your lighter. If you use the end of your lighter to tamp down your bowl even one time it will show of black residue. And it will reek as it builds up. Leave that lighter with your stash when you are out and about. That’s all you need – have your sweet grandmother ask to borrow your lighter and all efforts made so far go down the drain.
If All Else Fails…
If time is a factor and minutes is all you have, I have an oddball tip. Against all sound advice from the Surgeon General, smoke a cigarette. Its odor will knock out any odor lingering from your other smoke session. Although not what many might call a pleasant odor, it will most certainly outpower anything else and leave you with fewer questions directed your way.
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand cream
- Face spray
- Body spray or essential oils
- Bottle of water
What do you put in yours?
Passing it to you!