How do I rid these chairs of cigarette smell?

I found these counter stools at a garage sale. They need to be recovered so I was just going to slip cover them but I discovered when I got them home that they smell of cigarette smoke. I don't want to completely take them apart to put in new polyfil,etc. Does anyone have an idea of how to rid them of the smoke smell so I can simply slip cover them?
q how do i rid these chairs of cigarette smell, cleaning tips, fabric cleaning, furniture cleaning, reupholster
  25 answers
  • Judy Judy on Oct 13, 2015
    Wash them down with a strong solution of vinegar and little dish soap.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 13, 2015
    Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, leave on so the odor absorbs then wipe off.

    • Sandy Sandy on Oct 13, 2015
      @Janet Pizaro How long do you leave the paste on? Until it dries?

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 13, 2015
    Yes the longer you leave this on the more it will absorb the odor.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 13, 2015
    Please let me know if you were sucessful.

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Oct 13, 2015
    I would spray a vinegar solution underneath as well (with essential oils if you have some--keep away from pets)...sometimes the lining underneath is attached with velcro, or you could remove a couple of staples, spray inside and the lining, and let dry really well. Alternatively, you could spray them with a pet neutralizing spray.

    • Sandy Sandy on Oct 13, 2015
      @B. Enne Thanks for the tip. I'll spray underneath as well. Hadn't thought of the neutralizing spray. I'll try that next if this doesn't work.

  • Smoke odors can be quite stubborn. Depending upon how strong the smoke odors are, one or more of these methods may prove helpful. Keep in mind, though, that if the smoke odor has permeated into your carpets, draperies, furnishings, etc., there is little that can be done to eliminate the smoke odor unless these items are removed or replaced. White vinegar cuts through odors naturally. Try wiping down furniture, washable walls, floors, etc. with white vinegar.

  • Susan Susan on Oct 14, 2015
    Cigarette smoke leaves a residue on everything it touches. The ONLY thing that cuts and lifts that residue is TSP. Clean every surface with it - wooden legs, vinyl seats, everything you can reach. Really the only way to eliminate the smoke residue and odor. Trust me - I inherited a houseful of beautiful antiques from a heavy smoker. As to fabrics, might have to have professionally steam cleaned.

  • Beverly Santo Beverly Santo on Oct 14, 2015
    Might try buying a cheap can of coffee and sprinkling it on, leaving it for a day or 2, then vacuum if the other solutions don't work.

  • Kcama Kcama on Oct 14, 2015
    Had a beautiful raincoat from my mom - 5 soakings/washings in soap and hot water didn't take away the smoke, but one soaking and washing in a cup of Nature's Miracle (for pet urine smells and stains) in the washer did the trick. You could spray the entire chair and set outside to completely dry.

    • Julie Dever Julie Dever on Oct 14, 2015
      @Kcama Yes, it does the job. But you have to give it time. As long as it is is still I have covered the item with plastic wrap after I sprayed and left overnight....not great on unsealed wood though.

  • JannG JannG on Oct 14, 2015
    1/2 C ammonia, 1/3 C white vinegar, 1/4 C baking soda, added to 1 gal hot water. Wash & rinse if you can, spray & blot if that's all you can do but get the oily smoke residue off. As B. Enne says, open those dead spaces up and clean those too. This is the absolute BEST smoke remover I've ever found. Both of my parents smoked and we scrubbed walls every year with this...when I quit smoking (pack a day smoker, 35 years) I pulled out the old recipe and started cleaning, even used it in my old tank style carpet cleaner. Within 2 weeks, even life-long non-smokers couldn't smell a thing. These are the same ones who wouldn't come to my house because the strong cigarette smell made them feel ill. The formula isn't as harsh as TSP and I think it actually works better.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 14, 2015
    After cleaning with whatever method you use, set the chairs outside in the sunshine for a few hours. The sun also has a disinfecting effect effect. Think of laundry hanging outside an how good it smells.

  • Alison Sarah McDermid Alison Sarah McDermid on Oct 14, 2015
    If you give them a good all over clean with warm water and an antibacteria type soap it will help get rid of the superficial smell , but the smoke that has been absorbed by the poly filling will not disapear un less you re-upholster them and replace the foam filling.... I have experience in 2 fields 1. I had a business where I got clients chairs upholstered and when the material was taken off the colour of the foam was brown due to the smoke and smelled bad, it nearly always was replaced 2. I have had different restaurantes over the years and up untill smoking was band in Spain people could smoke inside and when we had the chairs or fitted seating upholstered we had to replace the foam, the smell never disapears completely....even washing curtains doesn,t get rid of the smell, when you iron the the whole room reeks of stale smoke...sorry I don´t mean to be negative but I have tried to get rid of the smell of smoke out of upholsery and it´s nearly if not will get better with time but it doesn´t go completly away.

  • Ahmeans Ahmeans on Oct 14, 2015
    I just finished a sideboard that reeked of smoke when I first got it. I tried a number of tricks, but the most helpful was washing the piece down with vinegar/water spray and wiping up the excess. An onion left in the peice for a few days also helps obsorb smoke odors. Sunshine also help remove the smell from wood. As far as the fabric goes you will be better off reupholstering it.

  • Patti Patti on Oct 14, 2015
    I had a house that my dad lived in that truly smelled, I tried a product the paint store recommended and then tried dish washer soap and a scrub brush, then I used a product that is a primmer, and that did the trick, now you may not want to paint the vinyl but the nicotine will continue to leak out. I had forgot to prime the ceiling in the bathroom and it was ugly what oozed out, so I went back and used the primer, then painted again and it did the trick, Good luck!

  • Greenbabies Greenbabies on Oct 14, 2015
    Febreeze served a smoke saturated mattress for me. I dampened the surface with the spray was so much improved the next day that I repeated the process. Voila!!!! Odor free.

  • Greenbabies Greenbabies on Oct 14, 2015
    Febreeze served a smoke saturated mattress for me. I dampened the surface with the spray was so much improved the next day that I repeated the process. Voila!!!! Odor free.

  • Greenbabies Greenbabies on Oct 14, 2015
    I used spray bottle Febreeze on a smoke saturated mattress. I dampened the surface with the product. It smelled so much better the next day that I repeated the process.

  • Greenbabies Greenbabies on Oct 14, 2015
    Voila!! It was then odor free....and has remained do for several years.

  • Ann Hokrein Ann Hokrein on Oct 14, 2015
    If you get an enzymatic odor digestor and wipe it down, it will actually eat the odor and not just cover it up. If you dont use an enzymatic, the odor will usually come back.

    • Sandy Sandy on Oct 14, 2015
      Do you have a name of a product I should look for?

  • Jennifer Crompton Jennifer Crompton on Oct 14, 2015
    Try either Odo-Ban, or the Pet Odor Eliminator solution from Rug Doctor. Both will eliminate smells as opposed to covering them up.

  • Martha Martha on Oct 14, 2015
    Murphy's Oil Soap for the wood. OdorBan, as Jennifer Crompton suggested, for the rest. You can find both at Sam's Warehouse Club

  • Melveta Melveta on Oct 14, 2015
    Oh heck, just start smoking, relax and have a cigarette. :-)

  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Oct 15, 2015
    Most likely the culprit with the chairs is the foam and cushioning under the upholstery. It has absorbed the smoke smell like a sponge. I would suggest that you thoroughly clean the outside as best as possible, then try something that worked for me. Quite a few years ago I purchased a used car that had been owned by a HEAVY smoker. It reeked. So, I placed a couple of disposable aluminum turkey roaster pans on both sections of the floor on the rear and on both areas in the front. Then I filled the pans with plain old charcoal briquettes (fresh out of the bag). Once I'd done that, I crammed the whole cavity of the car with crumpled newspapers. Yes, it was a bit of work but, intuitively, I knew it would work. Shut the car up tight and let it sit for a couple of days, replacing the newspapers once or twice. It was amazing how "smokey" the papers smelled. A couple of years ago a friend bought a beautiful Lincoln that was in nearly the same state of smell. They tried my method and you would never know anyone ever smoked in the vehicle. They were amazed and pleased. You could do a similar thing with your chairs. Just put the charcoal briquette-filled roasting pans on the seats of the chairs, stuff newspapers all around the legs, etc., then envelope each chair in a large plastic bag, like a leaf bag. I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much better your chairs smell. However, I have a feeling that if this doesn't work, you are faced with redoing the chairs from the frames up.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Oct 19, 2015
    I agree with Swan Road. You can wipe off the cushions and see if it helps. But it sounds like it's in the cushions.

  • Leslie Crofford Leslie Crofford on Jun 17, 2016
    Air them out in the sunshine also.