How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Mattress

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Written by:

Max Stevens
how to get cigarette smell out of mattress

How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Mattress

cigarette smell on mattress

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

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

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

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

Third-hand cigarette smoke has the potential to re-emit back from the surface, which has absorbed it back into the air, and it’s why it’s a problem in indoor environments.

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 Will You Need

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

materials needed to remove cigar smell on mattress

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

These materials are staples in cleaning mattresses, so they’re worth keeping in your cabinets or pantry.

How to Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of a Mattress?

woman smoking cigar on bed

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 a building’s ventilation system. And, without action, it takes years for the cigarette smell to go away.

The method below is effective, scientific and fact-based.

Step 1: Remove Bedding (Blankets, Duvets & Pillows)

Remove all your beddings and wash them thoroughly. As mentioned earlier, cigarette smoke easily clings to fabric. Having clean beddings avoid re-introducing the cigarette smell on the mattress.

We recommend a high temperature wash (care label permitting) and sprinkling some baking soda directly into the washing machine’s drum.

If you can sun-dry outside then that’s perfect, otherwise your normal drying method will work.

Step 2: Apply Baking Soda

From cleaning vomit out of a mattress to eliminating cigarette smell – baking soda is a sprinkle of magic for mattresses. It helps to neutralise bad odours by reacting to acidic and alkaline molecules and turning them into a neutral-smelling molecule.

Here’s how to get the most out of it:
– Sprinkle baking soda all over the mattress surface.
– Allow this to sit overnight or at least 8 hours. (No, it doesn’t harm the mattress.)
– Make sure that the room is well-ventilated. Open your windows and allow air to circulate.

Step 3: Vacuum the baking soda from surface

The first point to check is your mattress type, cleaning memory foam is harder as it’s more fragile than cleaning latex mattresses. If you have a pillow-top or quilted mattress then doubling down on the seams and creases is a must.

For this, you’ll want to use a vacuum that has a handheld attachment, or a handheld vacuum. You’re looking the smoke-soaked baking soda off the mattress, as well as any dirt, debris and allergens.

Step 4: Spray with white vinegar

Cigarette smoke has 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, it will go away over 24 hours.

Tip: Spray down the walls and floor.

Step 5: Baking Soda & Vacuum (Round 2)

It’s now time to get the baking soda back out for round 2 to help absorb any lingering smells. No different to step 2, spread a generous amount of baking soda all over your mattress and leave for as long as possible.

If you have essential oils with a floral or citrusy-tone then now is the time to use it. Bergamot Orange or Lemon work really well.

Remember to give the baking soda a gentle rub and pat into the mattress surface so it can bind with the odour-causing molecules.

Step 6: Dry Your Mattress

It’s time to dry your mattress, there’s two main methods to do this:

1) Sun-dry your mattress outside

Whilst this does require additional assistance, sun drying your mattress brings additional benefits with it. As well as a quicker dry time, the sun’s UV rays kill off odour-causing bacteria.

2) Use a fan, air-con, or reverse-suction vacuum.

Still an effective method, but it does have it’s limitations. Remember to keep the windows open for extra ventilation.

Step 7: Flip & Repeat

Unfortunately, the smoke particles will be on all sides of the mattress so it’s time to repeats steps 2-6 but on the other side.

On top of this, ensure you clean all the sides of the mattress. This ensures there’s less chance of contaminating the odour-free areas of the mattress.

Step 8: Put on Clean Beddings

Wahoo! By this point you should have an odour-free, fresh-smelling mattress. The last step is to put on the clean beddings from step 1 and enjoy a good night’s rest.

fastest way to get rid of cigarette smell From Non-Mattress Items?

The fastest way to get rid of cigarette smell is to use both baking soda and vinegar. With the steps provided, you’ll have your mattress smelling like new in no time.

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

1. upholstered furniture.

For furniture that can have baking soda resting on it (horizontal) then the how-to method above will work well.

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

2. carpet and walls.

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

3. 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 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

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.

Start Eliminating Cigarette Smoke Smells

Without further action, the cigarette smoke smell will take years to go away. Simple steps utilising baking soda and vinegar effectively removes 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.

4 Sources

  1. Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution. (n.d.). Retrieved from United Stated Environmental Protection Agency:
  2. Thirdhand smoke: What is it and what are its risks? (2019, January 15). Retrieved from Cancer Treatment Centers of America:
  3. Kuschner, W. G., Reddy, S., Mehrotra, N., & Paintal, H. S. (2011, February 1). Electronic cigarettes and thirdhand tobacco smoke: two emerging health care challenges for the primary care provider. Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information:
  4. Henningfield, J. E., Fant, R. V., Radzius, A., & Frost, S. (1999, June 1). Nicotine concentration, smoke pH and whole tobacco aqueous pH of some cigar brands and types popular in the United States Get access Arrow. Retrieved from Oxford Academic: 

Written by:

Max Stevens