What does “SF” mean and how do you use it?

A crossed-out cigarette smokes over an ashtray.Motortion Films/Shutterstock.com

Unless you’re willing to spend hours scrubbing the smell off a used couch, look for products that are SF. Here’s what this acronym means and how to use it.

Smoke free

SF means ‘smoke-free’. Online sellers use it in product listings to describe an item without exposure to cigarette smoke, which is an important factor for a thing that retains its value. Because the smell of cigarettes is so strong and difficult to remove, many buyers will actively avoid products that have a tobacco smoke smell. In addition, some products may have noticeable cigarette burns or stains caused by ash.

You can use SF for a wide variety of products, including clothing, furniture, linens, and toys. If you are a seller in a smoking household, it is essential to notify potential buyers that your products may have a noticeable cigarette smell. Otherwise, it could lead to bad reviews and damage your reseller reputation. SF is often combined with PF or “pet free” to form the acronym SFPF or “smoke free pet free”.

You may also see SF on real estate websites. Short stays such as hotels and AirBnBs will describe their properties as ‘non-smoking’ meaning you are not allowed to smoke cigarettes on the premises. Long term stays will often indicate that they are looking for renters who do not smoke.

There are a few alternate definitions for SF and similar acronyms that you should be aware of. SF can mean ‘stop flirting’, which is what you say to someone who may be coming on too strong in online chats. SF can also mean the city of San Francisco, a bustling metropolis in California. Finally, you might confuse “SFPF” with “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 a smoking aversion has been around for a while in real estate. When landlords or renters are looking for tenants, it is common to see people prefer a non-smoking roommate. They may also describe their property as non-smoking.

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

The smell of smoke

A woman holding her nose.Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

The stench of smoke tends to adhere very strongly to a wide variety of materials and can be very difficult to remove, even after a thorough cleaning. Therefore, many people have an aversion to products from a smoker’s home. Even if a product is completely unused and kept in a cupboard, the smell of smoke can reach the product and stick to it.

The smell can be difficult to get rid of for fixtures that tend to sit around a house with cigarette smoke. Upholstered products such as sofas, ottomans and armchairs can have cigarette odors lingering for months, even if you blow them out. The same goes for rugs, carpets and curtains, such as curtains and room dividers. These products may require a deep deep cleaning.

Just about anything made of fabric can hold the smell of smoke. That includes items of clothing such as shirts, pants, shoes and dresses. Even a material that is otherwise resistant to external elements, such as denim, leather or canvas, can absorb the smell of smoke when exposed for an extended period of time and may require special care to get it into a salable condition. If someone smokes in the bedrooms, it also greatly affects linens such as sheets and pillowcases.

If you are in a smokehouse and need to get some of your items in a salable condition, there may be some options for getting rid of the smoke smell. Websites such as Wikihow and The Spruce have comprehensive guides on how to remove cigarette odors from specific materials. Some techniques include white vinegar, charcoal, and sunlight. You can also consult a nearby dry cleaner or laundromat for advice.

How SF . to use

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

“Sale of a 2 year old PU leather, brown sofa, all SF. Good condition.” “Anyone interested in buying this hoodie I got on tour? NWT, SF/PF.” “Looking for a lightly used comforter, SFPF please.”

Good luck and happy shopping!

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