How to clean smoke smell out of pillows?

by Maggie

How do I wash pillows to remove the smell of smoke?

  37 answers
  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Dec 29, 2020

    I would wash the pillow in hot water and white vinegar then I would wash it a second time with detergent and dry it. That should remove the odor.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 29, 2020

    Hello Maggie,

    If it is not a feather pillow, then wash it in the washing machine. If it is a feather pillow then send it to the dry cleaners. or maybe you could also try using something like Febreeze, spraying the pillow to remove smells. Another option is to air it outside for about a week in good weather.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Dec 29, 2020

    Hi! I wash our pillows once or twice a year or after an illness. I throw them in the wash with Oxiclean and use hot water and detergent. Baking soda is also great for odors. Stay safe!

  • Wash your pillow. Mine get washed at least once a month, including feather and down pillows. My personal preference is to never use hot water as it sets stains and odors, and never toss in the dryer (or sun) until the stain or odor is gone. You can use a cup of vinegar in the wash and rinse (no fabric softener), should be as good as new.

  • I would wash it in cold water and vinegar and I would keep doing it until the smell is gone, then dry it. I know people say hot water, but I've found that cold water works best for odor removal.

  • Maura White Maura White on Dec 30, 2020

    You could leave it out in the sun - UV rays get rid of yucky odors like that!

  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 30, 2020

    I frequently wash pillows because of dust mites, and some of my clients have been smokers. I spray them down with Febreeze Odor Remover, I use the generic one from the dollar tree. Then I wash them in warm water with 1/2 c - 1 c of 20 Mule Team Laundry Borax, then I add 1/2c of vinegar to the rinse water. Smell the pillow, if it still has an odor repeat. Once the odor is removed you can dry it. If there is still a faint odor once dry, spray with Febreeze again.

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Dec 30, 2020

    Sprinkle the pillow with baking soda and lemon essential oil, then wash it in the washing machine.

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Dec 31, 2020

    Check your pillow care label and wash it according to the pillow's instructions. I'd use a nicely scented laundry detergent. You could even through in a scent booster just in case.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 01, 2021

    Odoban is the best remover but I would probably replace the bed pillows. If you decide to clean and keep them, add a protector.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jan 02, 2021

    If none of the above work, chlorine dioxide tablets made for removing the smoke in hotel rooms work. You’ll need to put the pillow in a room that can be sealed off from the rest of the house or leave the house for 3 hours.

  • Cindy Cindy on Jan 04, 2021

    Hi Maggie. Sprinkle baking soda inside an empty suitcase. Enough to cover the entire inside with a thin layer. Place your pillow inside the suitcase. Close the suitcase and let it sit for a couple of hours or, if possible, overnight. Then vacuum up the baking soda. Repeat if the smell still lingers. Good luck!

  • Cathy Cathy on Mar 06, 2018

    Febreeze is a good choice. If they can be washed another odor eliminator is white vinegar. For really stubborn odors, add a cup of white vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda to your wash.

  • Lynn Lynn on Mar 06, 2018

    Take the cushions outside and lay them down on the grass. The smell will be absorbed. Use an upholstery cleaner as well. Keep flipping them on the lawn.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Mar 07, 2018

    Mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of warm water in a spray bottle, shake the capped bottle hard and then lightly spray the mixture across the surface of the cushions. Let it dry naturally, preferably in the sun for a few hours.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 27, 2022

    Great! glad it workd for you!

  • Hea76907788 Hea76907788 on Feb 28, 2023

    Clorox & Lysol make disinfecting spray also for fabric. I use it all bc I hate the smell of smoke on my clothes and hair and in my bedroom, I don’t smoke in my house but in cold weather out the window and can’t. Avoid the lingering smell sometimes so those items including dollar tree febreeze & gain detergent. While Also using one of those UV wands I had gotten during the height of the pandemic.🤩

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 07, 2023

    I would take them to a local laundramat and use a big washer designed for bulky items. In it use 20 Mule Team Borax in the washer and a cup of vinegar in the rinse. Air dry if possible, if not, then in the dryer on low.

  • Jennifer Jennifer on Mar 23, 2023

    spray with a water and vinegar solution and then use one of those vacuum bags and suck all the air out. leave for a few hours then dry in the sun.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 22, 2023

    Fresh air - hang outside.., or spray with Febreez for fabric.

  • Soak them in hot water and vinegar, then run through the washer cycle. Run them again using detergent.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 16, 2023

    Wash it in your washing machine using a gentle cycle. Dry in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls to help dry the fillng quicker.

  • Betsy Betsy on Sep 01, 2023

    Hi Maggie: Here's a site that tells you exactly how to do that:

  • Karl Karl on Sep 16, 2023

    If there's a smoker. Use a commercial ozone machine. You can't be in the room at the time, but it will sanitize a whole house in 1 hour. So plan on a restaurant or movie. There is a timer on the thing so set it. Once you come back air out the house and everything should be smelling great. Queenaire makes them. The commercial one is used to clean smoked filled rooms after a fire. It's not like the tiny over the counter one.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 18, 2023

    Wash if washable, Dry Clean if Feathers, Febreez might help.

  • Annie Annie on Dec 24, 2023

    Here's a video as well:

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 06, 2024

    One of the most effective ways to remove cigarette smoke odor from pillows is by washing them. However, it’s important to note that not all types of pillows can be machine-washed. Check the care instructions on the pillow’s tag or packaging to determine the recommended cleaning method. If machine-washing is suitable for your pillows, follow these steps:

    1. Pre-treat any visible stains on the pillows by using a stain remover or a mixture of mild detergent and water. Gently scrub the stains, then rinse the area with clean water.
    2. Place the pillows in your washing machine, making sure not to overload it. Adding a few towels to the load can help create agitation and enhance the cleaning process.
    3. Use a gentle cycle and select a mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the pillows’ filling and affect their structure.
    4. After the washing cycle is complete, run an extra rinse cycle to ensure that all detergent residue is removed.
    5. Upon completion, remove the pillows from the washing machine and gently squeeze out any excess water.
    6. Dry the pillows completely. You can use a clothes dryer on low heat, but it’s recommended to opt for air-drying whenever possible. Hang the pillows in a well-ventilated area or place them on a clean surface, flipping them occasionally to ensure thorough drying.

  • Melissa Odom Melissa Odom on Feb 11, 2024


  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 11, 2024

    Stand them up either side of an upright washer. - see more details in Projects at top of Homepage!

  • Dee Dee on Feb 21, 2024

    I wash them in my front loader washing machine. I give them an extra long spin then hang them outside in the sun to dry before I fluff them up.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Feb 22, 2024

    OdoBan would be the best things I've used to remove smoke smell.

  • Annie Annie on Feb 29, 2024

    You might find some tips in this article as well:

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Mar 07, 2024

    Wash the pillow according to the instructions on the pillow... I would use "cleaning" vinegar instead of regular white vinegar (because it is stronger... find in cleaning supplies dept.) We have found that POOPH makes a laundry deodorizer that helps remove odors from fabrics and it leaves no residual smell