How do I remove the odor from wooden cigar boxes?
October 2, 2011 7:10 PM   Subscribe

I got several cigar boxes on freecycle and I'd like to use them for storage. But they have a strong raw tobacco smell that I find very unpleasant. How did I get rid of the stink?
posted by DrGail to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
I've got access to just about all of the shoeboxes you could possibly want.. trade ya! Otherwise, I'd suggest just leaving them outside, open, for a couple days to air out.. somewhere where they won't get wet. Perhaps you could loan them to someone who likes the tobacco odor, to keep in the house until their scent diminishes enough =)
posted by Quarter Pincher at 7:28 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Coffee grounds supposedly work pretty well for odor absorption (someone has probably proven or disproven this online somewhere). You may try to sprinkle a couple spoon fulls in one of the boxes and see if it works.
posted by Think_Long at 7:29 PM on October 2, 2011

Came in to say what QP said. Leave them in the sunlight. If you don't have the time to watch them and make sure it doesn't rain, you can leave them in sunlight-through-windows, but it'll take longer, and you'll need to make sure it's ventilated away from the rest of the house. Try to make it cross-ventilated as well, so there's plenty of actual air circulation.
posted by Etrigan at 7:32 PM on October 2, 2011

Charcoal wrapped in newspaper took the smell out of my friend's plastic water bottle.
posted by purpletangerine at 7:41 PM on October 2, 2011

Odor-absorbent cat litter, if you have any. I keep an airtight plastic bin with some in it around for stinky vintage books and things. A few days in the chamber if you don't expect any sunlight and they'll be fine.
posted by peagood at 7:52 PM on October 2, 2011

Baking soda?
posted by orme at 6:29 AM on October 3, 2011

The vast majority of oderants are organic (esthers, terpenes, etc.). This means they're usually vulnerable to oxidation, which is why sunlight is often given as a common cure: high-energy (UV) photons often have enough energy to break the chemical bonds of the odorants, transforming them into chemicals you can't smell.

You can leverage this knowledge to get harsher cleaning for things that sunlight can't remedy. That is, pick a stronger oxidizer or one that can penetrate beyond the surface. Bleach is a common oxidizer, as is ozone.
posted by introp at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

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