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How to Remove Cigarette Smell from Books

Cigarette odors on books can be difficult to remove and make them unappealing to non-smokers. This page has tips about how to get the cigarrette smell out of books.


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January 28, 2010

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

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July 8, 20090 found this helpful
Top Comment

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!

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By 6 found this helpful
February 5, 2013

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!

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By 9 found this helpful
May 8, 2013

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!

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By 5 found this helpful
November 28, 2011

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.

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By 3 found this helpful
November 22, 2011

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

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
February 19, 2011

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

By patricia d from Ramona, CA


February 22, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Patricia,

I had the same problem with a large collection of postcards that I had purchased from an estate. What I tried was putting them in a cardboard box that was big enough to allow air space, put in 2 bounce dryer sheets and closed the box up for about a week.


I was amazed when I opened the box back up - there was no sign of the cigarette smell ramaining at all. HTH

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September 1, 20111 found this helpful

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!

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November 15, 20050 found this helpful

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

Carrie Shuter from Meridian, Idaho


By Helen (Guest Post)
November 15, 20050 found this helpful

I too had the task of taking that awful smell off of books and video cases, what I did was to get a pan of warm water with Tide in it , use a cloth that is wrung out fairly dry, wipe the jacket of the books,also stand the book on end so that you can wipe the ends and sides off, You will be amazed at the color of the water After I finished doing that i wiped them dry,"as best I could" and I tore up sheets of Fabric softener putting the part sheets 4-6 in each book. Then putting the books in an airtight bag for a few weeks. after that I aired them out and they were not too bad for smell. I had a real collection of about 50 books that were given me and They were just too valuable to throw out. I do hope this helps.

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By Jennifer,CA (Guest Post)
November 17, 20051 found this helpful

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

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 28, 20101 found this helpful

How do I remove smoke odors from books?

By Harvey Brandt from Denver, CO


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 Marler

Comment Was this helpful? 1

December 10, 20091 found this helpful

How do you get cigarette smoke smell off of books?

By maria from CA


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

Comment Was this helpful? 1

October 27, 20091 found this helpful

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


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

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 Maryjo

Comment Was this helpful? 1

June 24, 20081 found this helpful

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


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

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

Comment Was this helpful? 1

February 19, 20110 found this helpful

How can you get cigarette smoke smell out of books?

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June 4, 20080 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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