How to Remove Smoke Smell from a Mattress

Remove smoke smell, cigarette

Have you inherited a mattress from a smoker or found an absolutely great deal on one coming from a home that isn’t smoke-free?

My guess is that this happens pretty often, but there are only a few articles and forums on the web that offer any advice on removing the smoke smell and none of them actually give step-by-step, proven instructions on what to do.

That changes right now.

Whether a smoker you know (family or friend) gave you their mattress or you are an avid Craigslister/DIYer who found a deal you just couldn’t be passed up, this article is for you.

My husband and I recently purchased I house. Super exciting, right!? Except we had very little furniture and couldn’t afford to buy all new stuff. So, of course, I hit the ol’ Craigslist circuit and perused for some good deals. Eventually, I found a bedroom suite I really liked.

What was included: dresser, side table, headboard, bedframe, box spring, mattress

Price: $250

Keep in mind that I would not normally consider buying a mattress on Craiglist due to sanitation issues, but this mattress was almost brand spanking new, extremely nice, and immaculately clean. Not only that, but the other furniture pieces were top-notch.

The only problem? The woman selling it was a heavy smoker. Ultimately, we decided it was worth a try anyway.

Here is a list of everything I did in order to remove the cigarette smoke smell from our mattress.


Putting your mattress outside is one of the simplest ways to eliminate odor. Of course, it isn’t a quick-fix. I set my mattress (and box spring) up outside on saw horses and let them soak up some rays every day for about a week.

Note: the mattress was only outside during daylight hours. I moved it in at night.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is great at absorbing odors. I poured some on my mattress day one and rubbed it in all over, then continued to I let the mattress sit in the sun. Halfway through the day, I flipped it and put baking soda on the opposite side.

This was the messiest technique I used. I don’t recommend doing it inside and it is helpful if you have a nice vacuum with a wand to lift leftover baking soda from the material. I didn’t quite get it all off, but that ended up being fine.

Vinegar Water

Another great odor absorbent is vinegar. Get a spray bottle and fill it with one part vinegar, one part water. After brushing excess baking soda off , spray every inch of the mattress. Make sure you get around the edges.

I did this every morning, afternoon, and evening – and a few extra times just for the heck of it. For the most part, the vinegar smell dissipates. My husband claims he could still smell it a little, but I couldn’t smell it. Besides, a faint vinegar smell for a few days is still significantly better than the smell of smoke.

You can also avoid the mattress smelling up your home or room by setting out a bowl of pure vinegar. It will soak up some of the odor.

Coffee Grounds

You can buy a cheap can of Great Value brand coffee grounds and pour some onto two separate paper plates. I did this and left the plates in the room with the mattress at night. This does two things: (1) absorbs the smell of the smoke (2) masks the smell of the vinegar. Win-win.


OdoBan is great for eliminating odors. It’s also a disinfectant, which certainly can’t hurt! Amazon has it on Prime, so if you order it today you’ll be able to start using it about the same time I did. The lavender scented version was quite pleasant.

It was day three before I added a good OdoBan spray-down to my process. I used it once a day for about three days after that.

Please note that these are affiliate links, so purchasing this item through them provides me with a commission!

Purchase OdoBan Disinfectant and Odor Eliminator, Lavender Scent, 32 oz on Amazon

Mattress Cover

It’s always a good idea to get a mattress cover. The cover will seal in any unwanted smells and help the mattress last longer.

I chose Sleep Defense System, which is waterproof, bed bug proof, and encases the entire mattress instead of just fitting over the top. I have been incredibly pleased with this product and highly, highly recommend it.

Again, these are affiliate links, so purchasing this item through them provides me with a commission!

Purchase Sleep Defense System – Mattress Encasement, Queen on Amazon


Most importantly, you are going to want to dedicate some time to removing the cigarette smoke smell. I did all of these tasks consistently for about seven days. If you can’t quite manage doing it that consistently, that’s okay! Just take these measures as often as you are able until you can no longer smell the smoke.

It’s worth noting that we left the wooden furniture we bought in the same room with the vinegar and coffee grounds as well. After a week, we were able to set up our entire bedroom and it looks and smells beautiful!

Remove Smoke Smell, cigarette odor

And that’s it!

Start working through this process today to eliminate the cigarette smoke smell from your mattress.

Let me know if you have any questions about my process or any other suggestions I didn’t mention here. Please also leave a comment if you try it out and it works! That’ll really help others in the future.


6 thoughts on “How to Remove Smoke Smell from a Mattress

  1. I’m gonna try this,My aunt gave us her full size bed for the spare room and wow is the smell of cigarettes is awful. I will give this a shot,I have to do something cuz fabreezed sure didn’t work.Thanks for the knowledge.


    1. Kim did this work for you? I bought a mattress set from a smoker and it was never used and I have been airing it out on my back porch for a month and have used a couple of different febreeze like products and nothing has helped. I guess I have to step it up and try the above suggestions.


  2. I did the same thing bought a practically brand new mattress and box springs. Didn’t think to ask if the person was a smoker. Never will do that again, believe me. Left the mattress an box springs out on the porch for over a week, but not in the sun…didn’t think of that. used armor hammer and fabreeze but nothing has worked. So will try vinegar, hope that works.


    1. Hello! Thanks for your comment. I will absolutely never make this mistake again. I’m very pleased it turned out alright in the end, but would much prefer not to deal with this in the future. The sun and vinegar really should take care of it. Baking powder and coffee grounds are also odor absorbents, but I think the vinegar was key. I’m also partial to the vinegar smell. It went away pretty fast after sitting out, but my husband complained that he could still smell it for a week or so after we brought the mattress and box springs back inside – I think he was just being sensitive. 🙂 Good luck!


    1. That’s a good question. I think the sunlight has a lot to do with the process, but it’s not the only element. I’d recommend trying the other tips but leaving the windows in the room open during the days to get some natural airflow in the space. I can’t guarantee this will work, but I think with enough time and persistence, it should. Sorry I can’t be more help, but I hope you find a solution! Please post again to let everyone know how it goes! Thanks!


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