How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Books

If you are a smoker or you’ve just bought a used book from a smoker, you might have noticed that your books smell like cigarette smoke. This is not unusual as cigarette smoke tends to seep into many different materials and can linger for a long, long time. So, unfortunately, it can also get into your favorite reading material.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about some of the best and easiest methods that could help you remove that nasty cigarette smoke smell from your books. 

9 Ways to Get the Smoke Smell Out of Books

1. Ventilate 

This method is as simple as it sounds. All you have to do is get your books next to an open window and air them out to remove the smoke smell. If you have a house with a backyard or porch, you can gather all of your books and leave them outside. Just make sure it’s not raining. 

2. Exposure to Direct Sunlight 

This method goes hand in hand with the first one. Sun is a natural disinfectant that is great at removing bad odors from different materials, including paper. So, if you leave your books next to a window or outside to air out, try to do it on a sunny day. 

3. Use Baking Soda 

Baking soda is one of the most common items in an average household, so you probably have it at hand. You will also need a ziplock back. 

Put 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in the bag together with the book you want to remove the smoke smell from. Close the bag and leave it to sit for a couple of days. After 2-3 days the smoke smell should be soaked up by the baking soda. If not, you could try another method from this list or just keep going with this one until you get the desired result. 

4. Use Kitty Litter 

Kitty litter is not only good for absorbing the smell of cat feces and urine, but it’s also good at absorbing the cigarette smell from your books. Of course, it has to be a fresh batch.

The method is pretty much the same as the previous one; only you should use kitty litter instead of baking soda this time. So, to repeat:

  • Get a ziplock bag and fill it with kitty litter. Don’t overdo it; half a handful should be enough.
  • Put the book inside the zip bag and close it.
  • Leave the book in a ziplock bag for 24 hours.
  • And, voila! Your book should now be free from that nasty smoke smell!

5. A Lump of Coal 

Charcoal is surprisingly good at absorbing smells but can leave your books looking dirty and messy. But don’t worry, there’s a way to avoid that. All you have to do is make sure the coal doesn’t come in contact with your books. It’s as simple as that. 

  • Get a plastic container large enough to fit a lump or two of coal and the book you want to eliminate the bad smoke odor.  
  • Put the book inside the container along with the lump of coal, making sure they don’t touch each other. 
  • Close the container, and leave the books inside for a couple of 1-2 days. 
  • After 2 days, the smell of smoke should be completely gone from your book.

6. Vinegar 

Vinegar, especially white vinegar, is extremely potent when it comes to removing those nasty lingering smells. To perform this method, mix white vinegar with equal parts of water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, and gently spray the books from which you want to remove the smoke smell. Leave the books out to dry, preferably next to an open window. After a couple of hours, your books should be completely free of smoke smell! 

7. Coffee and a Ziplock Bag 

Ground coffee is highly absorbent and can help you get rid of the cigarette smell that’s permeating throughout your book collection. All you have to do is:

  • Get some ground coffee and a ziplock bag.
  • Put around 2-3 tablespoons of coffee in the bag.
  • Put the book affected by the smoke smell inside the bag
  • Close the bag and leave it like that for 1-2 days.

After you’ve performed these steps, your book should be free from any cigarette smell.

8. Buy New Books 

If all else fails and you can not find a way to remove the smoke smell from your books, don’t worry; consumerism has got your back! 

Go to an online store and just get some new books. Now, this method only works if the book or books in question don’t hold any sentimental value. If they do, getting a new one won’t do the job. You should reread this article and try to perform as many methods as possible until the smoke smell is gone. 


Ridding the smoke smell from your books might seem challenging, but it isn’t. It mainly requires patience and a couple of everyday household items. If you follow the instructions above, your books should be completely smoke-free.

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