How to Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of Wood

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowls

  • Baking soda

  • Coffee grounds, crushed charcoal or kitty litter

  • White vinegar

  • Lemon juice

  • Newspaper pages

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Vacuum

  • Gloves

  • Bucket

  • Turpentine

  • Linseed oil

  • Soft cloths

  • Protective face mask

  • Mineral spirits


Pour used baking soda down your kitchen or bathroom sink to dilute odors there.

Remember that most commercial “air fresheners” merely mask smells rather than eliminate them.

Instead of using a cloth or rag, test wood cleaners with cotton swabs, if you wish.

Image Credit: TUNA TIRKAZ/E+/Getty Images

Whether you've inherited a handsome, wooden antique bureau or fell in love with a wood dresser at a flea market, once you open the drawers, you know the unmistakable odor of cigarettes when you smell it. It might be difficult to discern whether someone stored cigarettes in the furniture or frequently lit up around it; the smell of cigarettes infiltrates and lingers like few others. With time, patience, repetition and perhaps a few different methods, you can eventually expunge the smell from wood cabinets and desks. Correct cleaning methods can also help remove cigarette smells from furniture without compartments as well as wood paneling.


Video of the Day

Wood Furniture With Drawers and Doors

Step 1

Fill as many bowls as there are drawers or cabinets in your piece of wood furniture. Fill each bowl with baking soda, place it inside and close the drawer or cabinet. Check the furniture every day; the baking soda might have to sit there for at least a week before the smell subsides or fades away. Alternatively, use new coffee grounds, crushed charcoal or kitty litter in place of the baking soda to absorb the smell.


Step 2

Deploy the power of white vinegar on the cigarette smell. Fill bowls with white vinegar or saturate a cloth with vinegar, wring it out and set it inside the furniture. Check the progress after a few hours. Vinegar carries its own potent smell that some people find offensive, but at least it dissipates rather quickly.


Step 3

Recruit the acidic agents in lemon juice to cut through the cigarette smell. Mix a 1:4 combination of lemon juice and water, pour into the proper number of bowls and set them inside your drawers or cabinets.

Step 4

Crumple sheets of newspaper and place them inside your wood furniture to erase the cigarette smell. Use inky newsprint and not the glossy paper often used for advertisements for the best results.


Step 5

Move your piece of furniture outdoors, if possible, on a sunny day so that the sun can soak up the cigarette smell. Open all the drawers and cabinets and let the piece sit outdoors for about eight hours.

Other Wood Furniture and Paneling

Step 1

Remove surface dust with a microfiber cloth. Remove a thick layer of dust with a vacuum, if you wish, but use a round brush attachment and the lowest suction setting to avoid damaging the furniture.


Step 2

Put on gloves and as you fill a bucket with 1 gallon of hot water, add 2 tablespoons of gum turpentine and 4 tablespoons of boiled linseed oil. Test the mixture first on an obscure section of the furniture or paneling. Proceed by saturating a soft cloth with the solution, wringing it out and washing the wood with as little liquid as possible. Wipe the surface with a dampened cloth to remove any leftover solution and then dry with a microfiber cloth.


Step 3

Ventilate the room, put on a protective face mask and moisten a cloth with mineral spirits -- also known as paint thinner -- and test it on a hidden section of the furniture or paneling. Proceed by rubbing the wood to remove cigarette stain buildup, which probably will look light brown or even yellow. Finish by wiping the surface with a damp cloth and then dry with a microfiber cloth.