10 Ways to Remove Cigarette Smells from Furniture

updated Nov 27, 2023
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Incorporating secondhand furniture into our homes is a great way to keep things green, but sometimes the smells that come along with them can really give you the blues. If Uncle Harold’s desk is just too good to pass up (unlike his chain smoking habit), worry not — there are a few things you can do to get rid of that cigarette smell from furniture.

Quick Overview

How to Remove Cigarette Smells from Furniture

  • Use baking soda.
  • Use coffee grinds.
  • Try old newspapers.
  • Air it out.
  • Paint it.
  • Spray vodka on it.
  • Steam clean it.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide.
  • Try an ozone machine.
  • Get it professionally cleaned.

Here’s How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smells from Furniture

These tips should help you lessen or completely rid your furniture of those yucky smells.

1. Use baking soda.

Either in a container or sprinkled on directly (and vacuumed out later), baking soda is amazing when it comes to absorbing smells.

2. Use coffee grinds.

Grab some used coffee grinds instead — just make sure not to stain any of the surfaces. The best use of this is in a container and for your non-fabric finds.

3. Try old newspapers.

Crumpled-up newsprint is an effective odor-eater, and once it has done the job you can still toss it in the recycling bin or use it to clean your windows: Newspaper plus vinegar spritz equals a streak-free shine.

4. Air it out.

If you can, leave the item in question outdoors so the fresh air can work its magic. Watch out for direct sun or rain and humidity, though, as these elements can cause damage and warping.

5. Paint it.

It really isn’t a sin to paint wood, although some of you might disagree. Painting furniture is a great way to breathe new life into an old design, and it also does a fabulous job at suppressing smoke stink. Make sure to clean the surfaces well beforehand, followed by a light sanding/wipe-down for maximum adhesion.

6. Spray vodka on it.

You can sneak a little vodka into a spray bottle and mist it. This trick also works wonders on clothing and is a great alternative to chemical products.

7. Steam clean it.

If you have a steam cleaner for your carpets, pop that baby up onto your furniture and steam clean the heck out of it. The steam will penetrate any fabric and both clean and sanitize the upholstery. You can also rent one inexpensively at many hardware stores. 

8. Use hydrogen peroxide.

For hardwood furniture and materials that won’t discolor (always use a test spot!), mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray it on every part of the furniture and then wipe it clean.

9. Try an ozone machine.

Professional cleaners all over Reddit and Quora message boards say an ozone machine is a foolproof way to remove cigarette smell. Just remember that the machine has to run for several hours, and no people or pets can be in the room at the time. If you have a garage or small shed, move the furniture in there and run the machine. You can get a deal on an ozone machine by searching Amazon or eBay.

10. Get it professionally cleaned.

If all else fails, you can always have the piece professionally cleaned.

Depending on how strong the smell is, you might need to try a combination of these tips.

If you have any other suggestions, let us know!