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Getting Rid of the Cigarette Smoke Odor

Daye Salander blog blogger books ceramics ephemera get rid of cigarette smell how to How to clean smoke from paintings How to remove cigarette smell How to remove smoke from books How to remove smoke smell paintings vintage wood furniture

Anyone who buys collectibles or antiques are often faced with the question of removing the smoke odor from the item. It is a common problem for in 1965, 42% of the adult population smoked...everywhere.

Here are some common fixes you can try to remove that smoke smell...  NOTE: If there is ANY DOUBT, do a test area first. If the item is valuable my advice is to take it to a professional.

Books (paper in general)

  • Use 4-6 unused dry sheets between pages of the book and seal in a zip lock back for about a week.  Longer, if needed
  • Try a couple tablespoons of unused ground coffee in a zip lock back with the book
  • Gently wipe the outside of the book damp cloth or a baby wipe

Wood Furniture (wood sculptures, knickknacks, etc)  NOTE:  Always test a small corner before doing the whole thing. Always air dray out of direct sunlight

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the surface of the wood.  Let set for 8-12 hours, then remove with sweeping it up and then vacuuming
  • Wipe down with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water
  • Set open bowl of baking soda in drawers and cabinets

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Canvas Paintings

  • For acrylic paintings use a q-tip or cotton ball and saliva.  The enzymes in the saliva clean the dirt and smoke residue.  Work slowly, lightly, and carefully, working on a 2-3 inch square at a time.
  • For oil paintings try a drop of Dawn soap in water and gently clean with a cotton ball or Q-tip.  This may have to be done more than once

Ceramic

  • Anything that is glazed just mild soap such as Dawn and warm water should do the trick.  Note that I say 'warm' not hot
  • More porous pieces can be dusted with baking soda and permitted to sit for 12-24 hours and then cleaned up with a damp cloth
  • Mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts of water.  Add 1 tbl baking soda.  Gently swipe the item with a damp sponge.  You do not want to soak the item. Rinse by wiping with damp clear water sponge
  • Set the piece out in the sunlight (this may take days)

There is a lot of help online if you are willing to look for it.  Smoke was a part of our history and there is no way around it.  What you can do though is alleviate it and still have those wonderful collectibles to enjoy.


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  • Rose Possien on

    Thank you for these tips, I’ll print off and save!


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