Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

It can be difficult to remove cigarette odors from books. Odors on paper require different cleaning methods. This is a guide about getting cigarette smell out of books.

Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books. A pile of old books.
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Tip: Removing Odors From Books

By Myles E. McGonigle 1 1

My wife and I buy a lot of used books. The problem is, often the books have been in storage, or in a smoker's home (no offense to any smokers), or in other conditions that have left behind odors. I used to apply Febreze to rid books of these smells, but I've found a much cheaper way.

Simply take a sample perfume strip such as are found in many magazines and slip it into the book. Place the book in a sealable storage bag for a day or so. I've found that this will replace odors with the scent of the strip.

Of course, use a scent you don't mind smelling!

Source: My personal experience

By Mad Rabbit from Lovington, IL

CommentWas this helpful? Yes

Tip: Remove Odors with Ground Coffee

By melissagrannon 1

I had a chest freezer once. My daughter had accidentally unplugged it and I didn't find it until about 2 weeks later. The whole thing was filled with nasty rotten meat. I cleaned it out, bleached it and used everything under the sun and nothing helped rid the odor of spoiled meat.

Finally someone told me the coffee trick. Go to the store and buy the cheapest darkest coffee you can buy. If you don't have a grinder at home grind it at the store on the finest grind, like espresso. Come home and put the coffee in cheap knee high hose and tie them shut. Coffee will remove the smell of all most anything.

For books, I place the coffee in the knee high and tie it and the book up in a plastic grocery bag and leave it for about a week. Voila! No more stinky cigarette smells. I sell used books on Amazon and eBay so this is a must!

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Removing Cigarette Odor from Books

    By Maciej T. 1

    I wanted to share a tip about how to get rid of cigarette odor from books within an hour. No baking soda, no use of charcoal which only mask the cigarette smoke, no waiting for days or weeks to get rid of the smoke.

    Here is the method which worked for me:
    I recently bought a used book online from a heavy smoker. It was really, really stinking like an ash tray, awfully, I could not read it.

    You can remove the smoke particles from pages by applying heat. This is not without risks, but the risk is minimal. I would not put the book in an oven, this would cause fire, but I used a hairdryer for this purpose.

    Put the hairdryer on hot position (but not too hot!) in my hairdryer it is the 2nd (or middle) of the three positions.

    Then direct the hot air from the hairdryer on every single page of the book with smooth equal movements. 5 sec for every page is enough. Do not forget the edges and cover boards. The smoke particles will just diffuse away with the hot air.

    After this procedure, the pages of the book will be bent because the heat deforms them. Do not panic, they will return to its original form after three or four days.

    Then there should be not even the slightest cigarette odor noticeable. Smell the top edge of the book to be sure. This is the place where the smoke gathers most.

    With this method I removed the odor from my book within an hour. It can happen that your hairdryer will overheat and stop working. It happened to me once. But here also do not panic: there is a protection mechanism in every hairdryer to switch it off, when overheated. When it cools down it is again working.

    Greetings to all non-smokers!

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Tip: Air Smelly Books In Sun

      By Vivian P. 36 41

      Set the opened books out to air in the sun. A further solution is to place unused dryer sheets among the pages of closed books.

      By Vivian P.

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Tip: Use Baking Soda To Deodorize Books

      By Kathie K. 2 22

      I bought a book at Amazon that evidently was in a fire. It took a year for smell to go away. You could try putting the book in plastic bag with baking soda or flowers to absorb the smell or spray your book with orange oil. I use that for all stinky smells.

      By Kathie K. from Dublin, CA

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      By patricia d 1

      I would like help for getting cigarette smell out of hardback books and paperback books?

      By Patricia from Ramona, CA

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


      Most Recent Answer

      By jlynn12345 1 Flag

      September 1, 2011

      I use to smoke and since I've moved 3 years ago my entire bookshelf has been packed away in boxes. I went to take them out and omg. I can't believe what my house must have smelled like. There are 6 large Rubbermaid containers full plus a few boxes. How will I ever get the smell out of my treasured books? Quickest and most effective. Help please!

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Tobacco Odors on Books

      Please tell me how I can get tobacco odors out of hard back books.

      Carrie Shuter from Meridian, Idaho

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


      Most Recent Answer

      By guest (Guest Post) Flag

      November 17, 2005

      When I buy used books or from the Library I wipe the outside with baby wipes and spray a shot of lysol. Then I spray Lysol as I fan the pages. Lysol dries quickly. Try and keep a 10 inch distance. If you happen to spray closer no big deal. Lysol dries fast. Smells gone! And germs too!

      Jennifer CA

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Archive: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I recently purchased some books over the internet. They smell like cigarette smoke. Any suggestions to rid the books of this smell?



      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Put them out in the sun on a nice day. Open them up. Periodically change the pages to expose new areas. This has worked for old musty books for me. (01/30/2001)

      By lelbel

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Place the books in a large plastic bag, sprinkle in some baking soda and close. After a few days the smell should be removed from the books. Just shake or dust off the baking soda. Don't use the baking soda for cooking afterwards, instead use to freshen your sink drains. (01/30/2001)

      By kcohenvt

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      According to "Typical Mary Ellen", newspaper is good for removing odors. I'd wrap up the books with wads of newspaper in a plastic bag and leave them for a while. It may need to be repeated. For most people, newspapers are "free." (02/01/2001)

      By sward

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      This happened to me, too. I hate the smell of smoke! I packed the book into a plastic bag with a paper package of scented bath salts. You might try an unwrapped scented soap, too. Best of luck! (02/03/2001)

      By katkitkat

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I tried the baking soda in the plastic bag with the book and its been weeks and it still stinks. How long am i suppose to do this? (04/08/2004)


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I found this on another board:

      "It's too damp where I live to put anything valued out into the open air. I'd recommend putting the book into a chamber of some sort (I use a large rigid plastic box with a sealable lid) together with a zeolite, such as activated charcoal. I've experimented with several books that smelled musty by wrapping them well in pellon (spun polyester material, sold in fabric stores), then burying the wrapped book in deodorizing cat litter, which has a zeolite in it. After a few days the books smell fine, but as they weren't MY books, I don't know whether they have remained odor free. However, no one has told me the smell came back.

      Carol Pratt, Eugene, OR"

      Then this suggestion...

      "I was staying at a hotel once, and when I complained about the smell of smoke in my room, they put an ozone generator in it and left it running for some hours while I was away. When I returned, the smell was gone. Remember, however, ozone is toxic and should not be used in an area where people will inhale it." (04/08/2004)

      By Joe

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      For oder in a basement place in the open regular grill cooking CHARCOAL. I would place the books in a large plastic bag and inside with the books a generous amount of charcoal tied up in an old sheet or pillowcase (etc.) and you could add an old sock full of baking soda for musty smells. After you do this do not use the charcoal or soda for anything else. Discard. (06/14/2004)

      By wright6421

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I got the cigarette smell out of a very thick softcover textbook in a couple of days. I stood the book on its bottom edge and fanned-out the pages so it formed something like 3/4 of a cylinder shape. The book was placed like this on the floor with a piece of cardboard under it. (Some books, especially thinner ones, might not stand up like that, but you could easily clip the covers to an improvised support.) Then I took a fan of the type that normally stands on the floor on a high pedestal, and placed it horizontally over a chair so that it blew straight down onto the book. The pages soon fanned out evenly, and the air rushing between all the pages got out most of the smell in the first day. (07/11/2004)

      By Tom

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Use bounce dryer sheets to remove odors from fragile items such as books, etc. (07/12/2004)


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I got a smoky smelling book and just used fantastic lightly sprayed on paper towels then cleaned along all the edges, thoroughly on the covers and on the inside of the covers. This helped a lot, but there is still a slight smell if you stick your nose to the inside binding. (10/05/2004)

      By Morgan

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      The best thing I have found to remove odors from old books is cedar chips. You can buy these from your local feed or pet store. Place the book in a large zip-loc back together with a couple handfuls of the cedar chips. Place the bag somewhere dry and cool for a few days. It's done the trick for me many times and removes the smell of cigarettes, mold and mildew. And the cedar smells really good, too. (07/25/2005)

      By Lin

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Those are good ideas for books. Anybody have some good ideas of how to get cigarette smoke smell out of a sofa? My mother gave me her sofa for my new apartment but she is a chain smoker and the sofa smells like it's spent a year in the back of an old bar.


      By Genny

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Well, what I did was hang the book on the clothesline :) Yep.. take a couple front and back pages and clip them on the line with the squeeze type clothes pins.. being a non smoker I was highly upset when cigarette smelling books were were returned to me after loaning them out. Hang them in the shade then switch to different parts of the book to let the pages air in between. It worked for me.. and taught me a lesson, not to loan my books to people that I know smoke.. I just didn't think of it at the time.
      (not intended to offend smokers)

      P.S. I let them hang a few days in the day time only. (03/07/2006)

      By Ariela

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      How about solid items like plastic, can the smell be removed using the same technique? Or is it something different? (03/10/2006)

      By Person

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Put the books in a closed bookshelf (Barrister type) and put some incense sticks in with the books (not touching them, of course). It works like the cedar chips mentioned earlier. (04/18/2006)

      By jeff

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I used Potpourri in a bag, I tried baking soda in a bag, neither worked.

      Then I read this thread and used someones suggestion of a dryer sheet. I took one and rubbed it over the front cover, the back cover and each page. It has worked the best so far. The smell is almost gone.

      One more sheet over each page should be the end of that gross smell.

      And this is a Wedding Memory book I bought online. Not a good smell to have on it. :( (04/28/2006)

      By Taliaris

      How do I remove cigarette smoke smell from old photographs?


      By Leigh

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      The same thing happened to me. I started by wiping the pages with a dryer sheet and then leaving the dryer sheet in the book. This just layered a pleasant odor over the smoke odor, but it was still there. I finally got rid of the smell completely with newspaper. I put a sheet of newspaper one every page of the book and let it sit for two days. The smell is completely gone. (03/26/2007)

      By Rivka

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Use the dryer sheets. I put a dryer sheet in my book and put it back on the shelf for 4 weeks and now the smoke smell is gone and the books smells dryer fresh. This will also remove the moldy smell on books too. For thick books put two or more sheets in the book. (08/25/2007)

      By DEBRA J.

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      I wanted to give my mother's smoky books about her country of origin to my niece who has asthma. I used the dryer sheet method and it worked well without giving me asthma for my efforts. (11/12/2007)

      By LD

      Archive: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Cigarette smoke in books? Here's what I do to get rid of it. I take a large ziplock and depending on the severity and size of the books maybe 4 or 5 dryer sheets. I put some of the dryer sheets inside the books in various pages and two just inside the ziplock. Put the book in with the dryer sheets and seal. I check on the book once a week to see if the smoke smell is gone. I leave some of the sheets in the book so it stays dryer fresh.

      By debradj from Illinois


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Dyer sheets worked really well. I received a book from an eBay bid and it had a very musty smell. In a matter of two weeks, the smell was gone forever. (06/04/2008)

      By Kathy

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell out of Books

      Thanks so much! I have been plagued with this smoke and must problem in books for the longest time and was hoping, other than putting them out in the sun or fresh air that there might be another way to manage this issue. So I am going to give it a try and am hoping for the best. I am a huge book collector too! (06/17/2008)

      By Penny Foss

      Archive: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      Does anyone know how to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of books? A friend just gave me a wonderful cookbook that she bought at a yard sale and it smells so strong that my allergies go wild. It is a small spiral bound book about 1 inch thick.

      SandyC from Indianapolis, IN


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      Dryer sheets are full of toxic chemicals which are far worse for you to breathe than the cigarette smell you're trying to get rid of. Best off to use the suggestions involving natural methods. (11/12/2008)

      By kcsaunt

      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      Try wrapping your book in a towel and placing the book in a bag of baking soda or even fresh (of course) cat litter for few days. It works.

      I've even poured baking soda on the pages here and there and then placed it inside a bag, paper or plastic to remove the smell. Shaking the baking soda from the pages can be a pain, but it did remove the smell. (05/01/2009)

      By Anonymous

      Archive: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      How do you get cigarette smoke smell off of books?

      By Maria from CA


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      I would spray the pages with air freshener. Just hold the book at a distance so the pages don't get wet. (11/13/2009)

      By evarun21

      Archive: Removing Smoke Odor on Books

      How do I remove smoke odors from books?

      By bigharv from Denver, CO


      RE: Removing Smoke Odor on Books

      Try putting the book in a zipper-lock bag with either a new, unused fabric softener sheet or with about a teaspoon of fresh, dry, unused coffee grounds. Leave the book in there for at least 8 hours. Good luck! (07/08/2009)

      By Lynn from Calif.

      RE: Removing Smoke Odor on Books

      Take away their cigarettes! (07/09/2009)

      By AmnesiaWes

      Archive: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      How can you get cigarette smoke smell out of books?

      By Vikki from Tucson, AZ


      RE: Getting Cigarette Smell Out of Books

      Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of a brown paper bag, then place the book inside and fold the top of the bag over two or three times. Leave the book inside the bag for several days (5-7). This has worked well for me in the past and the baking soda won't damage the book like liquids can. (12/10/2009)

      By Millhouse1

      Home and Garden Cleaning Books and PapersNovember 18, 2011
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