Things You'll Need
Vegetable oil soap
Smoking in your home not only pollutes the air you breathe, it leaves a lingering odor behind as well as yellowing traces of nicotine. These yellowish brown layers of nicotine build up in your curtains, on your windows and your wooden furniture. Spraying furniture polish on the wood only seals the nicotine in--it does not remove it. To free your beautiful wooden furniture from the unsightly yellowish brown nicotine hue, you will have to actually scrub it. But, you need to do it gently, so you do not damage the furniture.
Dilute a 1/4 cup vegetable oil soap in a gallon of warm water. Add 2 tbsp. baking soda and mix well to dissolve the powder. Use a soft cloth and wet it in the soap solution. Scrub the wood furniture a small section at a time. Rinse the cloth as you work.
Pay close attention to the area of the wooden furniture that feels sticky as you wash. For particularly sticky areas, pour a small amount of the vegetable oil soap on your cloth and rub it into the wood. This sticky substance is the wax, nicotine and dirt build up melting away as you wash.
Rinse the wooden furniture with a clean damp cloth that has been dunked in plain warm water. If the wood still feels sticky, you need to repeat the washing with the vegetable oil soap again. Scrub the wooden furniture until you can no longer feel the sticky surface. Rinse and dry the wooden furniture each time.
Follow up this wash and rinse by applying a good quality wood oil to the furniture. Apply a heavy coat of the oil and let it sit for several minutes, so that the wood can absorb the oil. Use a dry soft cloth and wipe the furniture down to remove any excess oil. Buff the wooden furniture with the cloth to make it shine.
Do not use furniture polish on your wooden furniture. Furniture polish leaves a coating that dust and nicotine will easily adhere to. For a follow up, or to keep your wooden furniture looking clean and shiny, give it a quick wipe down with the vegetable oil soap and water on a weekly basis. Give it a heavy oil treatment monthly, especially in dry weather.
If you smoke in your home, run an air filter to capture the smoke and nicotine film. Use a high quality allergen filter in your furnace.
Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.