Friday, 24 January 2014

How to Get Smoke out of Wood Furniture.

Earlier this week, I scored an amazing solid wood desk for free on kijiji (online classifieds).  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had lucked out!  There is no MDF or chipboard or even plywood in this piece.  Even the bottoms of the drawers are 1/4-inch solid wood.

But there was a reason it was free.  It smelled strongly of cigarette smoke.  The last free bit of furniture I got smelled like creme brule, so I didn't have to do much to remove the smell.  I asked on Instagram and Facebook for smell-removing tips, and did some Googling.  Here's what worked for me:

After sanding


Step 1: Spray it down with vinegar and let it soak in to the raw wood (especially the inside of the drawers, which had the strongest smell). Let it dry.

Step 2: Generously sprinkle baking soda in each drawer, close them, and leave it overnight  to absorb the smells.

Both these steps only had minimal impact on the smell, so next time, I might just start with step 3.

Step 3: Using the baking soda already in the drawer, and a dish scrubber dipped in hot water, scrub all surfaces, especially any raw wood.  I didn't bother rinsing after this step.  Let it all dry, at least partially.

Step 4: Mix vinegar and hot water (I did about a 50/50 mix), and wash everything  You don't need to be too concerned about getting all the baking soda off at this stage.  Let it dry completely.  Overnight is ideal.

Step 5: Vacuum all surfaces to remove the baking soda.

Once I completed all these steps, my desk smelled no worse than any other old piece of furniture would.  I found a stamp inside saying it was built in February 1967.  I have since sanded all the surfaces, and I plan to paint it today.  I'm not sure what colour it will end up, but I think I'm going to start with gray homemade chalk paint, to be followed by homemade furniture wax.

Right after I brought it home.  This is the main reason I love having a minivan.


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