How to Get Cigarette Smoke Out of Upholstered Furniture


No matter what its upholstery fabric is made of, a piece of furniture exposed to cigarette smoke is likely to absorb some of the smoke odor. Stale smoke odors linger so long in some furniture that you may even find the smell in a secondhand sofa or chair long after it left a smoker's home. Natural odor-absorbing materials such as vinegar or baking soda help neutralize odors, making formerly foul furniture functional once again.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery brush attachment
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Bowl or spray bottle
  • Absorbent white cloths
  • Remove the cushions and pillows from the furniture, if possible. Air the loose items outdoors in a protected area such as a porch on a dry, non-humid day or prop them up near an open window for several hours. Skip this step if you are unable to remove the cushions.

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the entire upholstered area, including cushions and pillows. If the cushions are off the furniture, sprinkle baking soda over the area where they normally belong. Allow the baking soda to sit for 30 minutes or longer.

  • Vacuum the baking soda up using the upholstery brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Flip over any loose cushions or pillows and sprinkle the other side with baking soda, vacuuming the powder up after another 30 minutes.

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl or spray bottle. Use a bowl if the upholstery is a smooth material such as leather, faux leather or vinyl. Mix the solution in a spray bottle for woven upholstery fabrics.

  • Dip an absorbent white cloth into the vinegar solution if you are cleaning smooth upholstery, wringing out most of the moisture. Wipe the upholstered areas down with the damp cloth. For woven upholstery, spritz the fabric lightly with the vinegar mixture so it is lightly damp but not soaking wet. Vinegar helps remove odors from all sorts of materials, including upholstery.

  • Pat the furniture dry with a white absorbent cloth if it still feels damp after 20 to 30 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the furniture came from another home and no one in your home smokes, air the pieces out for several days on a screened-in porch or a garage to help prevent the odor from entering your abode. If you are unable to keep the pieces out of your home, place them in a room you do not use often, open all the windows and close the door to ventilate the furniture.
  • Test liquid-based solutions on an inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire upholstered area. Even they do not stain or discolor the upholstery, keep liquid use to a minimum to prevent the moisture from soaking through to the foam inside the furniture.

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  • Photo Credit Ysbrand Cosijn/iStock/Getty Images
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