How to Get Cigarette Smoke Out of Leather

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Things You'll Need

  • Portable fans

  • White vinegar

  • Bowl

  • Absorbent white cloths

  • Nylon-bristled brush

  • Baking soda

  • Vacuum cleaner

Tip

Treat a trunk, suitcase or chest that smells as if it spent decades in a smoky environment by wadding up newspaper, placing the paper inside, and adding a coffee filter or bowl full of dry ground coffee. Close the item and set it outside for several warm, nonhumid days, replacing the coffee and paper every day. The paper and coffee absorb odors, and the fresh air removes some of the smoky scent.

Kitty litter or activated charcoal, placed in a bowl inside a trunk or piece of luggage, also help remove odors.

Apply a leather conditioner to your deodorized item to help preserve the material, if desired.

Baking soda helps absorb and remove stale cigarette odors.
Image Credit: clamon/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you've purchased furniture secondhand or had a few friends over for a party, a lingering cigarette-smoke odor trapped in your home's leather goods may make you want to banish those belongings to the backyard. Even though the smoke odor lasts a long time if left untreated, it can be removed, no matter what type of leather or how large the object. If using liquid-based treatments, test your homemade odor absorber on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not discolor delicate leathers such as suede.

Step 1

Place the odor-affected item outdoors in a protected environment such as a screened-in porch. If you have a bulky item, such as a large sofa, and are unable to do so, open the windows and turn on a ceiling fan or portable fan, circulating the air near the leather. Remove all loose items from leather furniture, such as cushions and pillows, to allow the leather to air out more thoroughly. Place the cushions or pillows outdoors or prop them up against a table leg so airflow reaches more of the leather. Open up items such as vintage leather suitcases used for decor. Allow the leather to air out for several hours or all day during nonhumid conditions.

Step 2

Combine equal portions of white vinegar and cool water in a bowl. Dip an absorbent white cloth into the vinegar solution, squeezing out excess liquid; use a nylon-bristled brush in place of the cloth if the affected item is made of suede. Wipe the leather down entirely with the cloth or brush, then pat dry with a fresh lint-free white cloth. For an item such as a leather trunk, wipe the inside down with vinegar solution as well, if the inner area can handle a slight amount of moisture. Allow the item to air-dry completely in a well-ventilated area.

Step 3

Sprinkle baking soda over the entire item -- and inside, if it has an inner compartment. Allow the baking soda to sit for at least an hour, then vacuum it up or brush it out with a soft brush or soft cloth. If using a vacuum cleaner, add an upholstery brush attachment before vacuuming.

references & resources

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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