How to remove cigarette smell from wood furniture

Written by patti wigington
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At some point, you have managed to acquire a lovely piece of wood furniture. But what do you do if that great armoire or beautiful table has a not-so-lovely smell? Unfortunately, wood tends to hold the smell of cigarette smoke for years, so if your piece of furniture has been in a smoking household, it may have a pretty unpleasant aroma to it. Don't worry though--with a little bit of elbow grease you should be able to eliminate that cigarette smell pretty quickly. Read on to learn how to remove cigarette smell from wood furniture.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon oil
  • Soft cloths

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  1. 1

    Know that one of the best neutralisers of odour is vinegar. Put some white vinegar in a spray bottle, and lightly spritz it on the wood's surface. Wipe off excess liquid with a soft cloth to avoid staining.

  2. 2

    Keep in mind that if you have a cabinet or drawer that has retained cigarette odour, baking soda can help with removing the smell. Place a bowl of baking soda inside the drawer or cabinet, and then close it up for a few days. The baking soda will absorb much of the odour. If you don't have baking soda, you can use ground coffee in the same way.

  3. 3

    Understand that lemon oil is also a great tool for eliminating smoky smells. If the furniture doesn’t have a build-up of nicotine on it, try wiping it down with Murphy's Oil Soap, in the lemon-scented version. This not only gets rid of the cigarette smell, it also leaves the furniture looking nice and smelling fresh.

  4. 4

    Use witch hazel. This is an astringent which can be found in the pharmacy section of your grocery store. Mix ½ cup witch hazel with a few drops of liquid dish soap. Using a soft scrubbing pad, gently rub the mixture into the wood. To wipe off, use a warm, damp washcloth. This should neutralise the cigarette odour in your wooden furniture.

  5. 5

    Finally, remember that some odours are caused not by the smoke itself, but by a nicotine residue. Nicotine is an acid, so to remove it you'll need an alkaline-based cleanser. Borax, baking soda and most laundry soaps are alkaline-based. Combine ½ tsp of any of these with a quart of warm water, and spray it on the furniture. Wipe it off and follow it with a white vinegar rinse. If the smell is really strong, you may need to do more than one application.

Tips and warnings

  • If at all possible, do these treatments outside or in your garage. That will help prevent your house from smelling like vinegar or Borax.

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