How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Mattress

by Max Stevens

Cigarette smell, let’s face it, is pretty disgusting.

And for non-smokers, it’s guaranteed to be a massive turn off. But what’s more annoying is when the cigarette smell lingers on the bed.

In these situations, you’d want to know how to get cigarette smell out of mattress.

Third-hand cigarette smoke is the residue that remains in indoor environments, reacts with air to make additional pollutants, and re-emits from surfaces back into the air.

While we are aware of the illnesses that first-hand smoke (smoker) and second-hand smoke (inhaler) can cause, further studies and awareness are needed for third-hand smoke.

A person can acquire third-hand smoke by

  • absorbing it through the skin
  • inhaling third-hand smoke in the air
  • ingest third-hand smoke when you use household objects that are contaminated with smoke residue, i.e. utensils, toothbrushes

This blog will share tips on how to get cigarette smoke smell out of your mattress using everyday household items. We’ll also explain why these effectively eliminate the lingering cigarette smell odours.

What Materials You’ll Need

Be prepared to use only four items to get rid of the cigarette smell:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Vacuum cleaner

How to Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of a Mattress?

A smoke particle’s diameter is 20 times smaller than a hair strand, which allows them to infiltrate porous surfaces like fabrics, hair, furniture, carpet and mattresses.

Cigarette smoke can easily circulate within a room and through the building’s ventilation system and spread across.

woman puffing cigarette on mattress
Image: Pexels

Annoyingly, the cigarette smell also stays and lingers in the room. Without action, it will take years for the cigarette smell to go away on its own.

While you may be tempted to use aerosol sprays to remove the foul smell, this will only mask the odour.

The methods that we’ll share are effective, scientifically based and fact-based. But before starting, make sure to remove and wash all your beddings.

As mentioned earlier, cigarette smoke can easily cling to fabric. So, make sure that you clean the rest of the beddings to avoid re-introducing the cigarette smell on the mattress.

Method 1: Baking soda

Baking soda is a widely used ingredient to get smells out of mattresses. Its natural ability is to react and neutralise acidic and strong alkaline molecules that can cause nasty smells.

If you ever have to deal with getting pee out of a mattress, you’ll see that baking soda is an effective ingredient there as well.

To start using baking soda on your mattress,

  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of your mattress.
  • Allow this to sit overnight or at least 8 hours.
  • Make sure that the room is well-ventilated. Open your windows and allow air to circulate.
  • Vacuum the rest of the baking soda.
  • Repeat steps if you’re still unsatisfied with the smell.
  • If the mattress can be flipped, apply the same steps on the other side of your mattress to get the smell out.

Not everyone can leave baking soda on their mattress for days if there’s no spare bed. If you want to maximise the use of baking soda, you can:

  • Put baking soda in a bowl.
  • Place it in the corner of your room.
  • Let it sit there for days until all the smell in your bedroom is removed.

Since cigarette smoke residue floating in the air of your bedroom can also affect your mattress, we should target both the air and mattress. You can also do this in other parts of your home to get cigarette smoke smell out of the house.

We recommend using baking soda brands like Arm & Hammer.

Method 2: Vinegar

While baking soda can effectively absorb the cigarette smell, another area to address is the third-hand smoke residue which is now an emerging health concern. Let’s get a little science-y here:

How do you neutralise cigarette smoke?

Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and an 8 (alkaline) pH level. This means that the only substance that can dissolve any nicotine residue from surfaces is acidic.

With a pH level of 2, vinegar is highly acidic and can do the job of dissolving nicotine residue on the mattress or any surface. Aside from dissolving residue, vinegar can also neutralise cigarette smell odours.

So, to start using vinegar on your mattress,

  •  Mix equal parts of vinegar and water on a spray bottle.
  • Spray all over the mattress without oversaturating, including the sides.
  • If you worry about the vinegar smell, the vinegar smell will go away on its own.
  • Let the mattress dry completely before putting on clean beddings.

Similar to what we did with baking soda, you can spray the vinegar all over your room and not just your mattress. Vinegar particles will bond with any odour-causing particles in the air and neutralise them.

We recommend white vinegar brands like Golden Swan.

Using Essential Oils to Mask Cigarette Smell

oil being poured into lamp
Image: doTERRA International

While using essential oils is not scientifically proven to get rid of cigarette smell, it can help mask the smell. To counteract the smell of cigarettes, we recommend using citrus essential oils like

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lime
  • Bergamot orange

These fruit-based essential oils are acidic in nature and will somehow counteract the alkaline cigarette smell.

Using a scent diffuser will definitely help to maximise the potential of essential oils for masking cigarette smell. Diffused essential oils in vapour form will better bind with the cigarette smoke particles.

FAQ: What is the fastest way to get rid of cigarette smell?

vinegar and baking soda

If you have time, you can do both the baking soda method and the vinegar method to maximise the cleaning power of both. They are pretty simple to do.

Maybe other parts of your home are reeking cigarette smell, too. You can use baking soda and vinegar methods here as well. For example:

If you want to get cigarette smoke out of upholstered furniture.

Use the vinegar spray method. Just make sure to test out on a small area first as the acid may react with the furniture finishing and material.

If you want to get cigarette smell out of carpet and walls.

Use the baking soda method on carpets. For walls, the vinegar spray method can work.

If you want to get cigarette smoke smell out of the house.

You can use both the baking soda method and vinegar method on the whole house by

  • Put baking soda in a bowl and leave it in the corners of your house for a few days. This helps absorb funky smells like cigarette smell.
  • Spray vinegar solution on the walls and wipe down thoroughly. You can do this all over the house.
  • Some people even heat up the vinegar and let the smell spread all over the house. It is believed that vinegar in vapour form easily binds to other odour particles.

Other odour-absorbing materials you can use are coffee grounds and activated charcoal. Similarly, you can place them at the corners of your house and leave them until the smell is no more.

FAQ: Can I use a mattress cover for cigarette smell?

Mattress covers are usually used to prevent spills and stains on a mattress. These are waterproof materials and can prevent liquid from penetrating the mattress.

Unfortunately, in the case of cigarette smoke, the mattress cover won’t prevent the mattress from absorbing the smell. The cigarette smoke particle is small enough to penetrate any fabric and clings to surfaces.
The only thing to prevent cigarette smoke from reeking in your bedroom is to not smoke in the first place.

Wrapping Up How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of Mattress

Without further action, the cigarette smoke smell will take years to go away. Simple steps utilising baking soda and vinegar can effectively get rid of this funky smell.

Baking soda neutralises alkaline compounds, while white vinegar neutralises the nicotine from the cigarette. When both methods are used, it will get rid of the smell on your mattress faster.

This method can also be used in other parts of the house.


Photo of author


Max Stevens

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.