Naturally Remove Cigarette Odor from Wood Furniture

lit cigarette leaning over an ashtray
What You'll Need
White vinegar
Old newspaper
Soap and water
Coffee grounds
Baking soda
Clay cat litter

Browse any flea market or yard sale for secondhand furniture, and you are bound to discover beautiful wood pieces at fantastic prices. Unfortunately, secondhand wood furniture that has a fantastic look might also have a terrible smell.

In closed areas where cigarettes are regularly present, home furnishings take on the unpleasant odors associated with the smoke. Walls, window treatments, and everything in between gets permeated with the odor of cigarette smoke. Fortunately, with proper cleaning and a few natural odor removing tips and tricks, it is possible to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from wood furniture without stripping, sanding, and completely refinishing.

Step 1 - Attack the Odor, Don't Cover It

Too often people misunderstand how odors work. Floral deodorizers aren't a solution, they're band aids that just mask smells without eliminating them.

Do not attempt to cover up the smell of cigarette smoke. Wood furniture infused with cigarette smoke and sprayed with floral deodorizer will end up smelling like cigarette smoke and flowers. Even paint with its strong smell will ultimately fuse with the smoke smell if you avoid going after the odor at its source.

Step 2 - Clean the Wood Furniture

Get to the bottom of the problem and remove it for good by cleaning the wood with high-quality and completely natural oil soap and water. Follow product label instructions and precautions and thoroughly clean the smoke residue and all other dirt or grime from the inside as well as the outside of doors, drawers, and all other finished wood surfaces.

Once the wood furniture has been thoroughly cleaned, absorb excess moisture with clean dry rags and try one or more natural odor-removing options to completely remove the smell.

Step 3 - Outdoor Air-Dry

If possible, allow wood furniture to air-dry outdoors after thoroughly drying by hand. On a warm clear day, place wood furniture out of direct sunlight for several hours. Not only will the wood furniture dry more thoroughly than it would when drying with rags alone, but air-drying will also help remove the smell of cigarette smoke that has pervaded the wood. Remove all drawers and prop open doors for best results.

Follow up with one or more of the following easy, inexpensive, and natural odor-absorbing techniques.

Alternative Natural Odor Absorbing Techniques

If any smells still linger after all of this, consider the following odor-absorbing options to pull the cigarette smoke off of your wood. Even though these methods can take a number of days, they are all both natural and effective.


Vinegar is one of the best natural odor removers, and it does a fantastic job of absorbing the smell left behind by cigarette smoke.

Carefully place bowls of ordinary white vinegar in closed drawers and cabinets. The vinegar will gradually absorb the smell of any cigarette smoke residue trapped inside. Allow the vinegar to remain undisturbed for a few days before careful removal.


Newsprint is also a great natural odor-absorbing material, and ordinary sheets of black and white newspaper will remove the smell of cigarette smoke from the interior of wood dresser drawers and cabinets.

Loosely crumple several sheets of black and white newsprint, and place them inside tightly closed cabinets and drawers. Keep the papers inside the closed areas for several days. As an added benefit, newspaper will absorb any remaining moisture leftover after the wash.

Coffee Grounds

Ground coffee had been used for decades to remove bad odors from semi trailers, and it is one of the best natural chemical-free ways to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from wood furniture.

Be sure to clean the furniture thoroughly beforehand. Place each completely dry piece separately inside plastic trash bags, and include a bowl filled with freshly ground coffee in each tightly closed bag. Allow the bags to remain closed for at least three days, depending on the severity of the odor problem. The smell of coffee will eventually dissipate after removal, and when properly cleaned beforehand, the furniture will no longer harbor the lingering smell of cigarette smoke.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is also a natural odor absorbing material that is very inexpensive.

To remove the smell of cigarette smoke without leaving behind another odor, place open boxes or shallow bowls of natural baking soda inside closed drawers and cabinet doors. Allow the baking soda to work for several days to absorb the smell of cigarette smoke before removing. If the baking soda is kept inside tightly closed drawers and cabinet doors for an extended period of time, it will leave behind nothing more than a natural fresh scent.


Clay kitty litter is a fantastic natural odor-absorbing material, and it works quite well to remove the smell left behind by cigarette smoke.

Place shallow bowls or open paper sacks filled with kitty litter inside closed cabinet doors and drawers. The natural clay litter will draw out any moisture left behind after cleaning the wood furniture, and it will also pull out and absorb the smell left behind by cigarette smoke.