How to Remove Cigarette Odors from Furniture Upholstery
Unpleasant and irritating, cigarette smell lingers in furniture long after the piece has been taken out of a smokers’ environment – the extremely small particles of cigarette smoke easily penetrate porous furniture materials such as wood, leather, and fabric and result in a persistent tobacco odor.
Removing cigarette smell from furniture is very difficult and requires a lot of patience – and proper technique. Many popular cigarette odor removal solutions cover the smell instead of eliminating it and, therefore, work only temporarily.
To effectively get cigarette smell out of furniture – and especially out of upholstered furniture – you need to remove the smoke particles embedded in the furniture. There are some simple, yet effective ways to do so and eliminate cigarette odor from couches, chairs, and other upholstered pieces for good.
Read on to find out how to remove cigarette smell from upholstered furniture:
Air out the Furniture
Your first step to removing cigarette odor from upholstery is to allow the furniture “a breath of fresh air”:
- Remove any slipcovers and cushion covers – wash them according to the manufacturer’s instructions (be sure to add some distilled white vinegar to the washing water – it will help neutralize the smoke odor) and let them air dry well;
- Remove the cushions from the furniture (if possible) – prop them up against a table leg or another similar object so that air can reach both sides of the cushions and freely circulate around them;
- If you can (and weather permits), take the furniture outside to a sunny area and let it air out for several hours – the fresh air and the ultraviolet rays of the sun will help remove cigarette odor and other lingering smells from the upholstery. Keep in mind though that bright sunlight can cause dyes to fade and leather to crack, so you shouldn’t let your upholstered pieces stay in the sun for long. It is, however, a good idea to place the furniture in a covered, protected area (such as a screened porch or a garage) for several days, so the smoke odor can dissipate naturally (be sure to keep the garage/porch door at least partially open);
- If you can’t take the affected piece outdoors, open the windows and turn on a ceiling fan in the room where the furniture is to thoroughly ventilate it.
Try the Baking Soda Treatment
Baking soda absorbs all kinds of odors, so it will minimize the cigarette smell lingering on your furniture upholstery as well.
Sprinkle baking soda over the upholstered parts of the furniture, including the cushions (if the cushions are removable, take them away and sprinkle the area where they sit, as well as the cushions themselves). Let the baking soda sit for a couple of hours and then vacuum it away (use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner and be careful to pick up all the powder).
If the cigarette smell isn’t gone, repeat the process, but allow the baking soda to stay overnight.
Use Liquid Fresheners
As already mentioned above, you can’t eliminate cigarette odor from furniture until you eliminate the smoke particles causing it. The above methods will help minimize the smell, but will not completely remove it. To get rid of the smoke residue – and tobacco smell – on your furniture you need to deep clean the upholstery:
- Use a commercial odor neutralizer like Febreeze or Lysol. These products can be very efficient in removing cigarette smell from upholstery. Bear in mind though that several applications might be needed to remove all of the smell;
- Combine two parts water with one part white vinegar in a spray bottle – spritz all upholstered surfaces of the furniture and let the piece air dry. If the smoke is still there, wipe down the upholstery with a solution made of equal parts water and white vinegar;
- Add 1/2 cup of household ammonia to 1 gallon of warm water. Scrub down the upholstery with this cleaning solution (be careful not to soak the fabric) and let it air dry.
Good to remember: Always test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first to make sure that the liquid doesn’t affect the upholstery fabric.
Steam Clean the Upholstery
Another efficient way to eliminate the smoke particles embedded in your furniture upholstery and get rid of the cigarette odor is to steam clean the fabric. You can rent a steam cleaner from a department store, home improvement store, or a dry cleaner and complete the task on your own. Just make sure you don’t have the steam setting on too high (so that you don’t soak the cushions) and be careful to clean every inch of the upholstery to ensure that you have removed all the smoke residue and tobacco odor from your furniture.
Good to remember: Delicate materials, such as silk or leather upholstery, can be easily damaged if handled improperly, so it’s best to have fine furniture upholstery steam cleaned professionally.
Use Professional Upholstery Cleaning Services
If the above methods don’t remove the cigarette smell from your upholstered furniture, it’s time to call in a professional upholstery cleaning company.
The pros have specialized, industrial strength cleaning products that are not easily available. They use high-powered upholstery cleaning machines and state-of-the-art deodorizing equipment that yield outstanding results. The experts will be able to get the cigarette smell out of your furniture upholstery using ozone treatment and other specialized deodorization techniques. The cleaning solutions used in the process contain no harmful or potentially dangerous ingredients and don’t leave any residue or irritating chemical smell behind.
Professional cleaners are properly trained, highly skilled, and richly experienced – they’re familiar with the specifics of different types of fabrics and know what upholstery cleaning products and methods will be safe for your upholstered furniture. Professional upholstery cleaning will not only completely remove cigarette odor from your furniture and leave the upholstery smelling fresh and looking like new, but will also prolong the life of your furniture pieces and ensure a healthier living environment in your home.