How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Leather Chair

When it comes to lingering odors, few things are more unpleasant or difficult to remove than cigarette smoke clinging to leather furniture. The porous nature of leather allows those noxious smoke particles to penetrate deep, settling into the fibers of the material itself as well as any inner foam and fabric underneath. Trying to mask the stench with air fresheners is just a temporary, inadequate fix. To truly restore how to get cigarette smell out of leather chair and couches to their former smoke-free glory, you need to take a thorough, multi-pronged approach.

How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Leather Chair

Key Takeaways:

  • Use natural odor absorbers like baking soda, charcoal, and coffee grounds
  • Leverage airflow and sunlight to dissipate lingering smells
  • Employ targeted cleaners like vinegar solutions and enzyme treatments
  • Maintain leather conditioning and a no-smoking policy

Understanding Leather and Smoke Odors

Leather is extremely long-lasting, but also highly absorbent when it comes to smells. The smoke itself, along with the residue and tar from cigarettes, seeps into the material’s tiny pores and holes. This smoky odor then clings stubbornly not just to the leather surface, but also to any interior upholstery or cushion foam that the leather encases. Simply spraying some fragrance won’t do the trick – those odor particles become trapped and concentrated inside your leather furniture.

Preparing the Leather Chair

Before attempting any cleaning or deodorizing methods, it’s crucial to prepare your leather chair thoroughly. Start by vacuuming every crevice and surface using the appropriate attachments to loosen up any loose particles or debris. Remove all cushion covers and outer leather panels, exposing the inner foam and fabric areas that likely also reek of cigarette smoke.

Use a leather cleaner made specifically for this material to gently wipe down and remove any stains or residue on the exposed leather surfaces. Having this clean base helps treatments penetrate better. Just be sure the leather is fully dried before moving to the deodorizing phase.

3 Effective Phase for How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Leather Chair

Here are 3 effective phases for how to get cigarette smell out of leather chair:

Phase 1 – Natural Odor Absorbers

Some of the most effective and affordable odor eliminators are products you likely already have in your pantry. Baking soda is a deodorizing powerhouse – sprinkle it liberally over all leather and fabric surfaces of your chair, working it lightly into the material. Let the baking soda sit overnight so it has ample time to absorb that deeply-set smoke smell, then go back and vacuum everything up extremely thoroughly.

Let the Baking Soda Sit Overnight

You can also try placing bowls of odor-neutralizing charcoal briquettes or even cat litter around and under your leather chair. The porous materials will soak up lingering smoky scents. A somewhat unexpected odor absorber is good ol’ coffee grounds! Seal them up in paper bags and let them sit near the chair for a day. Used coffee grounds are cheap and effective at trapping airborne smells. For an extremely stubborn case, wrapping the entire chair in layers of newspaper can help draw out embedded odors over time.

Phase 2 – Air Flow and Sunlight

Once you’ve treated your leather chair with natural odor absorbers, take advantage of airflow and sunlight as the next line of attack. Weather permitting, move the chair outdoors into a sunny but shaded area for several hours. The combination of fresh air circulation and UV rays helps lift and dissipate any residual cigarette odors that household products couldn’t remove. Just avoid leaving the leather in direct, harsh sunlight for too long, as that can dry it out and cause cracking/damage over time.

If taking the chair outside isn’t an option, boost indoor airflow around it as much as possible with fans, open windows, etc. Keeping the area well-ventilated aids in replacing stagnant smoky air with fresher circulation.

Phase 3 – Targeted Cleaning Solutions

For smoke odors that linger even after baking soda, charcoal, and air flow methods, it’s time to pull out the big guns: specifically designed odor-removing cleaners and solutions. White vinegar makes for a potent, affordable treatment – mix one part vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle, saturate all surfaces of the leather chair, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping away. The acidic vinegar helps neutralize odors rather than just masking them.

Commercial enzyme cleaners formulated for tackling smells embedded in fabrics and upholstery can also provide a heavy-duty clean. For extreme cases of smoke stenches, you just can’t budge, professional services using ozone treatment may be required. These specialized machines release ozone to neutralize odor particles completely.

Neutralize Odor Particles Completely

Regardless of your cleaning solutions, always follow up by applying a high-quality leather conditioner. This helps restore essential oils and maintain the material’s supple texture and moisture resistance after deodorizing.

Dealing with Extreme/Stubborn Cases

If you’ve tried every trick in the book and that cigarette stench still won’t budge from your leather furniture, you may be dealing with a decades-old, extremely deep-set case. Smoke particles could have had years to penetrate and chemically bind to all materials. In situations, this severe, reupholstering or even having the internal foam and fabric professionally replaced may be required.

Don’t get discouraged – these extreme cases are beatable, but will likely take repeated attempts, alternating different methods over some time. Smoke odors that are thick and ingrained take dedicated effort, diligence, and patience to eliminate.

Maintaining Results Going Forward

Once you’ve successfully deodorized and restored your leather chairs, taking proactive measures will help keep them that way for years to come. Establish a strict no-smoking policy for that furniture, not allowing any cigarette smoke to accumulate again. Make leather conditioning part of your regular cleaning routine – it keeps the material resilient against absorbing any future odors.

Make Leather Conditioning Part

FAQs About How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Leather Chair

Does Cigarette Smoke Stay on Leather?

Cigarette smoke can permeate leather due to its porous nature, making it challenging to remove the odor. Specialized leather cleaners, airing out the item, and using odor-absorbing materials like baking soda can help, but professional cleaning may be necessary in some cases. To prevent cigarette smoke from lingering on leather, it’s best to avoid smoking near leather items.

Does Leather Furniture Absorb Cigarette Smoke?

Yes, leather furniture can absorb cigarette smoke due to its porous nature. The smoke particles can become embedded in the leather, causing the smell to linger for an extended period. Removing cigarette smoke odor from leather furniture may require specialized cleaning methods and professional assistance to effectively eliminate the smell. Preventing cigarette smoke exposure to leather furniture is advisable to avoid the absorption of odor.

What Absorbs Cigarette Smoke Smell?

Materials such as baking soda, activated charcoal, and coffee grounds, along with methods like using white vinegar and air purifiers, are effective in absorbing cigarette smoke smell. Additionally, commercial odor-absorbing gels or beads can help neutralize and eliminate the odor. These methods capture and neutralize the smoke particles, ultimately reducing and removing the lingering smell of cigarette smoke.


With some diligent work using this multi-pronged approach of odor absorbers, air flow, targeted cleaners, and proper leather care, you can return even the smelliest smoke-infused thrift store chairs to fresh-scented excellence. Don’t give up on those beloved leather couches and chairs – that lingering cigarette stench can be eliminated for good.

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