How to Remove Cigarette Smell From Wood Furniture

Cigarette smoke isn't just a temporary annoyance -- when it settles on wood furniture, the odor can persist for years. The smoke contains nicotine and tar, which leaves behind a brownish-yellow film that mars furniture's beauty. Cigarette odor is one of the most stubborn smells to remove, and many standard cleaners aren't tough enough for the job. Smoke-stained furniture isn't destined for the landfill, though. Ammonia and vinegar break down cigarette residue and make wood smell fresh again.

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Step 1

Place the wood furniture in a well-ventilated room. Open a window, if possible, or run a fan next to the furniture.

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Step 2

Put on rubber gloves. Wear plastic eye goggles when cleaning an item over your head, such as a high shelf or cabinet. Goggles prevent cleaning solution from getting in your eyes.

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Step 3

Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with warm water. Wring the cloth to remove as much excess water as possible.

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Step 4

Wipe the furniture with the damp cloth to remove dust and debris. Work with one small section at a time. Wipe the wood dry with a clean cloth before moving on to another section.

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Step 5

Make a solution of 80 percent warm water and 20 percent household ammonia, or for very strong cigarette odors, use equal parts ammonia and warm water. Alternatively, use white vinegar instead of ammonia. Pour the solution into a bucket and put it near your work area. Fill another bucket with warm water and put it next to the cleaning solution.

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Step 6

Set a large stack of cloths next to your work area. Cloths will get very dirty during the cleaning process, so you'll need to change them frequently.

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Step 7

Moisten a cloth with the ammonia or vinegar solution, then squeeze out excess liquid. Working parallel to the grain, wipe a small area of the wood with the solution. Avoid wiping glued seams or joints, as this solution can cause separation, swelling or warping. Rough, unfinished wood can snag the cloth, so work carefully around it. As you clean, you'll see the cloth turn yellow or brown due to nicotine and tar breakdown. Swap the cloth for a clean one when it gets too dirty. Moisten each new cloth with ammonia or vinegar solution.

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Step 8

Dampen another cloth with clean water, then wipe the area you just cleaned to rinse. Wipe the wood immediately with a dry cloth.

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Step 9

Repeat this process until you've wiped the entire piece of furniture with the cleaning solution. To get rid of the smoke odor, you need to thoroughly clean all surfaces, such as legs, underside of the frame, both sides of shelves and insides of drawers.