The only way to get rid of smoke smell out of furniture permanently is to ensure you remove the microscopic smoke particles tucked inside the furniture.
The best and easiest way to do this is to use smoke-smell neutralizers and absorbers like baking soda, white vinegar, activated charcoal, and fabric deodorizers.
Headaches and nausea are some of the symptoms that may arise from the exposure, but cigarette smoke smell can lead to more tragic consequences like cancer or asthma. To protect yourself and those around you, you must find a quick and easy way to get rid of the smell.
This comprehensive guide will give you a list of easy 100% Proof solutions to get rid of any smoke smell, whether the source is cigarette smoke, a small fire in the house, wildfires, smoke from burnt food, or smoke from outdoor pollution.
Does Smoke Smell Go Away From Furniture?
It is 100% possible to completely eliminate smoke in any piece of furniture, be it fabric or wood.
However, effectively combating the issue is only possible if you understand how smoke lingers on these surfaces.
Cigarette smoke contains a complex mixture of chemicals that can adhere to furniture surfaces. Formally known as thirdhand smoke (THS), these smoke pollutants stick to furniture, are emitted back as gas into the house, and react with other compounds to form more harmful secondary pollutants.
Therefore, having furniture with cigarette smoke is not only a nuisance but also dangerous to your health, especially if you have children who can be exposed to the potential risks of THS.
The porous nature of materials like fabric and upholstery makes them particularly susceptible to absorbing heavy, sticky smoke particles that can last for decades.
Burnt Food, Fire Smoke, Smoke Pollution, and Wildfires
Smoke from other sources, like a kitchen mishap or wildfires, carries different compounds. These odors often contain strong-smelling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that penetrate porous materials, leading to long-lasting and potent smells.
Regardless of the source, these smells linger for extended periods due to the microscopic smoke particles settling on the furniture. These particles can become trapped within the fibers, making them resistant to regular cleaning methods.
Additionally, smoke odors can penetrate deep within the furniture, making it challenging to address with surface-level treatments.
Therefore, any solution that can permanently remove the odor has to penetrate all the hard-to-reach sections of the furniture or completely react with the smoke particles to neutralize/absorb them chemically.
10 Methods of Removing Smoke Smell Out of Furniture
Depending on the severity of the issue, one or more of these methods may be effective. Therefore, the best strategy is to employ all the methods for the best results.
1. Use a Vacuum Cleaner
How it Works: Removes loose smoke particles and soot that contribute to the lingering smoke odor.
Materials: Vacuum cleaner, upholstery brush, crevice tool, vacuum hose
Thoroughly vacuum all surfaces of the furniture, including fabric, upholstery, and crevices, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap fine particles.
2. Use a Steam Cleaner
How it Works: Steam penetrates the fabric and wood, breaking down and loosening smoke particles and odorous compounds. The heat from the steam helps to neutralize and eliminate the smoke smells.
Materials: Steam cleaner with upholstery attachment, water
Fill the steam cleaner’s reservoir with water and attach the upholstery cleaning tool to the steam cleaner. Plug in the steam cleaner and allow it to heat up.
Start by testing the steam cleaner on a small area of the furniture to ensure it doesn’t damage the material.
Once confirmed, slowly pass the steam cleaner over the furniture’s surfaces, including fabric, upholstery, and wood. The heat and moisture from the steam will help break down the smoke particles.
Allow the furniture to air dry completely. You can help speed up the drying process by using fans or opening windows for ventilation.
Steam cleaning is good for fabric but not effective on wood furniture. To remove the smoke smell from wood you will need the solutions below.
3. Use Baking Soda
How it Works: Baking soda is a natural odor absorber that neutralizes smoke smells by absorbing the odorous molecules from the furniture’s surfaces.
Materials: Baking Soda
Sprinkle baking soda powder over upholstered surfaces and let it sit for a few hours. Afterward, vacuum the powder to lift absorbed odors.
4. Use White Vinegar
How it Works: White vinegar’s acidity helps neutralize odors. It breaks down smoke molecules, leaving behind a neutral scent.
Materials: White Vinegar, water, spray bottle, essential oils (optional)
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. You can add essential oils like lavender to mask the pungent smell of vinegar.
Proceed to lightly mist the furniture, allowing it to air dry and being cautious not to oversaturate.
5. Use Ammonia Solution
How it Works: Ammonia solution is a natural compound that also breaks down smells. It is very effective at neutralizing smoke particles embedded in hard surfaces like wood.
Materials: Ammonia, water, spray bottle, soft cloth
Mix 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Start by testing the solution to ensure it doesn’t damage the furniture’s finish.
Proceed to lightly spray the solution on the furniture, focusing on areas with strong smoke odors. Let it settle for a few hours, and finish up by gently wiping the furniture dry with a soft cloth.
Allow the furniture to air out in a well-ventilated space.
6. Use Activated Charcoal
How it Works: Activated charcoal is known for its odor-absorbing abilities and can effectively absorb smoke smells over time.
Materials: Activated charcoal powder, plastic wrap, tape
You can wrap pieces of activated charcoal in breathable fabric and place them strategically on the furniture.
Seal the furniture openings with plastic wrap and tape to keep the charcoal’s odor-absorbing action localized.
7. Use Fabric-Specific Deodorizer
How it Works: They are made of chemical compounds that break down smells by reacting with odor-causing agents.
Materials: Fabric-specific deodorizer
Apply a fabric deodorizer specifically designed for upholstery and one formulated to tackle smoke odors – Febreze and Lysol are good examples. They remove odors without damaging the fabric.
Start by lightly spraying the deodorizer over the furniture’s fabric surfaces from a distance.
Allow the deodorizer to dry completely and repeat the process if necessary to achieve desired results.
8. Use Wood Cleaner
How it Works: Wood Cleaners are special soap compounds made to provide wood shine, clean, and eliminate strong odors from wood furniture.
Materials: a Wood Cleaner like Murphy Oil Soap, water, clean cloth, and a bucket
Use a portion of 1 teaspoon of Murphy Oil Soap to 1 cup of warm water to fill the bucket.
Apply a small amount of the cleaner onto a soft cloth. Gently clean the furniture’s surfaces, following the wood’s grain.
Finish off by wiping off any excess cleaner and allow the furniture to air dry.
9. Use Ozone Generators and Ozone Air Purifiers
How it Works: Ozone helps break down smoke particles by emitting ozone molecules that react with and neutralize odor particles.
Ozone has only been proven scientifically to work under high concentrations. In these high concentrations, ozone is harmful to the health of animals and, therefore, should only be used when people or pets are not present in the house.
Materials: Ozone generator
Place the device in the room with the affected furniture. Allow it to run for the recommended duration, ensuring the space is unoccupied during this time.
Do not forget to ventilate the room thoroughly after treatment before residents reoccupy the residence.
10. Use Professional Cleaning Services
For severe cases, or if you have gone through all the above methods and the smoke smell still lingers, then you may want to consider hiring a professional cleaner.
A professional will use stronger chemicals and more concentrated cleaners that you may not easily find publicly. That and the use of proper techniques will effectively get rid of the smell permanently.
You can easily get in touch with professional cleaners online through trusted specialists, or you may ask around for a local service provider.
Considerations Before You Remove Smoke Smell From Furniture
There are a few considerations and pre-cleaning regimens that you should try before embarking on removing the smoke smells.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, these considerations help improve indoor air quality, act as preventative measures, and keep smoke from settling on furniture.
Eliminate Sources of Pollution
This is the most important and effective factor that will help remove smoke odors.
Start by minimizing or eliminating the source of the smoke. Proceed to use good housecleaning and housekeeping practices to control the smoke particles from setting on the furniture.
You can also remove washable covers, pillows, and other fabric items from the furniture. Launder them using appropriate detergents to eliminate trapped smoke odors.
Fresh Air Circulation and Air Cleaning
Use good ventilation methods like installing exhaust fans close to smoke source areas like the kitchen, smoking in areas that are well-ventilated, or increasing air flow from outdoors to indoors through ventilation systems. You can also employ air filters, ionizers, and electronic particle air cleaners.
Note that this is more so helpful when the sources are in use (i.e., when smoking a cigarette)
Allowing fresh air to circulate through your living space is essential. Open windows and doors to encourage cross-ventilation, helping to disperse lingering smoke particles.
Please keep in mind that the fresh air won’t fully remove the odor but rather dilute it. The smoke smell might still remain and hence in need of a much more efficient solution.
Avoid Temporary Solutions
Using scented candles, perfumes, or air fresheners only temporarily mask the smoke odor, but they won’t provide a lasting solution. Addressing the root cause is crucial for complete odor removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes?
The best way to remove the smell from clothes is to deep wash the clothes (not in a dryer) and line-hang them in open air and sunlight. Use a sizeable amount of white vinegar or baking soda during the wash to help absorb and neutralize the smoke.
2. How Do You Get Smoke Smell out Of Fabric without Washing It?
Use smoke smell absorbers and neutralizer like white vinegar, baking soda, activated charcoal, or fabric-specific deodorizer. Create a solution of one of the chemicals and spray generously on the fabric. Let it dry for a few hours and take note of the change afterwards.
Please ensure you try to apply as many of the methods mentioned above before you consider getting rid of the furniture completely. You may need to reapply some chemicals over and over again before the smell completely goes away.
Also, if you are a smoker and want to get rid of the smell, it would be best to ask a non-smoker to smell the furniture to see if you got rid of it permanently. This is because tobacco exposure has long-term effects on sensory systems and can decrease the sensibility to odors.