How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Cabinets

Smoke smell is never a nice thing, but having it seep deep into your household, including your cabinets, is quite a problem. At that point, not only does your furniture smell like cigarettes but also your clothes and everything you plan to put there.

If you smoke inside or if you have an open fireplace, that room and the furniture itself will start smelling like smoke after some time, regardless of how often you air it out. Cigarette smoke is especially problematic since nicotine and tar are sticky substances that almost glue themselves to everything they touch. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to get rid of smoke smell in your cabinets. We will give you some tips and guidelines but also recommend some products that could be useful. If you’re looking for less specific solutions, check out our guide on how to get smoke smell out of furniture

Ways to Get Smoke Smell out of Cabinets

Airing the Smoke Smell Out of Your Cabinet

The first thing you should always do to get the smoke smell out of anything is to get some air circulating. Take everything out of the cabinet and leave it completely empty. Sometimes, the smoke smell problem comes not just from the cabinet itself but from the objects inside it as well. 

After you’ve emptied it, open every door and every drawer. If there are some secret compartments inside, open them too. If the cabinet is too tight and dense, disassembling is also an option. Just mark the parts so you can put them together again as they were.

If your circumstances allow it, place your cabinet (or its parts) outside. Let the wind and the air do their job. If you don’t have a yard or any other place you can use, place your cabinet “strategically” near your widest open window to get some air. If you have one, you can also use a fan to accelerate the process.

Absorbing the Smoke Smell From Your Cabinet

The second step is absorption. There are many ways to do that, but the most common ones are by using vinegar, baking soda, cat litter, charcoal, coffee grounds, and newsprint. 

  • Vinegar is great at cleaning and absorbing smoke smell. Place a bowl full of vinegar inside your cabinet. Leave it like that for at least 48 hours, and let the vinegar absorb the smell. After that, air out the cabinet again.
  • Baking soda is another unexpected helper in the battle against smoke smell. You can use it in at least two ways. First, place it in a bowl (like the vinegar) and leave it for a few days. Second, spray the baking soda around the cabinet and leave it for 48 hours. After that, clean it with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Leaving a bowl of charcoal is another good idea. It will surely absorb the smell if you leave it inside for 2-3 days.
  • You can also try cat litter. Place a sizeable bowl full of cat litter in your cabinet and leave it for about 48 hours as well. 
  • Line each drawer or shelf of your cabinet with newspaper and sprinkle it with coffee grounds. Leave for 48 hours before you remove it. It should be especially effective for cabinets made of wood. 

Wash the Cabinet to Get Rid of Smoke Smell

Washing is the obvious third step and probably the most crucial one. After you’ve absorbed the lingering smoke particles, you have to clean the cabinets thoroughly, inside and out, washing every part of every side. Again, disassembling the cabinet is probably a very prudent choice, as it will considerably ease the process. Just remember to mark the parts.

Use a damp sponge or a soft, damp cloth. If you use some coarse material, you may scratch or damage the surface of the cabinets. You can use a wide range of products, such as plant-based oil soap or dish soap, which should be mixed with warm water and give a nice, soapy substance. Using a combination of vinegar, water, and baking is also a good idea if you don’t feel like buying a particular product, but it’ll be relatively less effective. 

When using the vinegar/water/baking soda combination, it’s better to take the furniture outside since the smell of vinegar is quite pungent, and it can leave your house or apartment with a sour smell. In short, you’d be exchanging one smell for the other, which is why we suggest using specialized products.

After you clean the cabinets, first dry them softly with a soft towel, and then let them air-dry further with the drawers and doors open.

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