A crossed-out cigarette smoking over an ashtray.
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Unless you’re willing to spend hours scrubbing the smell out of a used couch, look for products that are SF. Here’s what this acronym means and how to use it.


SF means “smoke-free.” Online sellers use it in product listings to describe an item with no exposure to cigarette smoke, which is an important factor for a thing holding its value. Since the smell of cigarettes is so strong and difficult to remove, many buyers will actively avoid products that have a tobacco smoke scent. Furthermore, some products might have noticeable cigarette burns or marks caused by ash.

You can use SF for a wide variety of products, including garments, furniture, linens, and toys. If you’re a seller in a smoking household, it’s essential to disclose to potential buyers that your products may have a noticeable cigarette smell. Otherwise, that could lead to bad reviews and a hit on your reputation as a reseller. SF is commonly combined with PF or “pet-free” to form the acronym SFPF or “smoke-free pet-free.”

You might also see SF on property websites. Short-term stays like hotels and AirBnBs will describe their properties as “smoke-free,” which means you’re not allowed to smoke cigarettes on the premises. Long-term stays will often specify that they’re looking for tenants that do not smoke.

There are a few alternative definitions to SF and similar acronyms that you should watch out for. SF can mean “stop flirting,” which you say to someone who might be coming on too strongly in online chats. SF can also mean the city of San Francisco, which is a bustling metropolis in California. Lastly, you might confuse “SFPF” for “SPF” or sun-protection factor, a term that refers to the strength of the formulation in sunblock.

The History of SF

The desire to avoid products that smell like cigarettes has been around for a long time. The practice of specifying an aversion to smoking has been in real estate for a while. When landlords or renters are looking for tenants, it’s common to see people preferring a non-smoker roommate. They might also describe their property as smoke-free.

However, the actual acronym “SF” is relatively recent, coinciding with the rise of PF or pet-free. The first definition for SFPF on the online slang repository Urban Dictionary is from 2018 and describes it as “coming from a smoke-free / pet-free home.”

The Smoking Smell

A woman holding her nose.

The stench of smoke tends to stick very strongly on a wide array of materials and can be extremely difficult to remove, even after a deep cleaning. That’s why many people have an aversion to products from a smoker’s home. Even if a product is entirely unused and stored in a closet, the smell of smoke could still reach and stick to them.

The smell can be tough to remove for fixtures that tend to sit around a house with cigarette smoke. Upholstered products such as couches, ottomans, and recliners can have cigarette smells stick on them for months, even when you air them out. The same is true for rugs, carpets, and draperies, such as window curtains and room separators. These products might require thorough deep cleaning.

Virtually anything made from fabric can retain the smell of smoke. That includes garments like shirts, pants, shoes, and dresses. Even a material that’s otherwise resistant to external elements, like denim, leather, or canvas, can absorb the smell of smoke when exposed for an extended period and may require special care to get it to a resalable state. If someone smokes in the bedrooms, it also heavily affects linens like bed sheets and pillowcases.

If you are in a smoking home and you need to get some of your items to a resalable state, then there might be some options to remove the smell of smoke. Websites like Wikihow and The Spruce have extensive guides on removing cigarette scents from specific materials. Some techniques include white vinegar, charcoal, and sunlight. You may also want to consult a nearby dry-cleaner or laundromat for advice.

How to Use SF

To use SF, add the acronym to the description of your product. Alternatively, you can use SFPF if your location is also pet-free. Here are a few examples of SF in action:

  • “Selling a 2-year-old PU leather, brown couch, completely SF. Good condition.”
  • “Anyone interested in buying this hoodie I got on tour? NWT, SF / PF.”
  • “Looking for a lightly used duvet, SFPF please.”

Good luck, and happy shopping!

Profile Photo for Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
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