smoke on the mattress
December 9, 2007 7:09 AM   Subscribe

how do we get the smell of smoke out of a mattress and boxspring?

eek. we have inherited a mattress and boxspring from my sister and her boyfriend, who are heavy smokers. is there any way to get the smell out?

the bed is just for the spare bedroom, and we don't anticipate having guests for a while, so we were thinking about closing the heat vents, opening the window, and just airing them out for, like, a month.

obviously, this not exactly efficient, since it is winter and we are heating our house, and having nothing but an interior door between our heated home and the cold outdoors seems like not a great idea.

any other ideas? we febreezed the heck out of them but they still stink.
posted by thinkingwoman to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sunshine is nature's deodorant. Drag it out into the yard for several hours the next time you have a bright sunny day.

Smoke stink is sticky and tenacious. Is this just the best mattress ever or something?
posted by acorncup at 7:25 AM on December 9, 2007

Can you stick it in a big plastic mattress bag and duct tape the end?
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:25 AM on December 9, 2007

You'll never get the smell out. If you want a used mattress, I see mattress/boxspring sets on Craigslist in your area for $50 or less. Do that.
posted by grouse at 7:31 AM on December 9, 2007

they make zip up mattress covers out of plastic, i used one in the past and they work great!

check this out

get the zipper kind, it goes all the way around the mattress and zips up

keeps just about anything out

cheap too, or at least cheaper than a new mattress
posted by Salvatorparadise at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2007

Zip it in a plastic mattress bag and put duct tape (or some other sort of seal) over the end of the zipper.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2007

Readers Digest book rec's:

Sprinkle on baking soda, vacuum after a few hours.


To remove cig smell from suits, 1 cup vinegar to a bathtub filled with hottest tap water, hang the suit, close the door, smell gone after several hours. (Could try this with mattress in bathroom).
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:47 AM on December 9, 2007

I second the baking soda trick... we had to de-smoke a mattress once that way. Took several tries, but it worked pretty well.
posted by starman at 8:54 AM on December 9, 2007

piggyback time (and a bit of a warning about what might be hiding in that thing)..

I have an old bit of stereo gear with a fan. The smoke residue has noticeably yellowed every surface of the equipment, inside and out. I cleaned the outer shell, and I can clean any bits that are important for functional reasons, but any tips on cleaning/deodorizing the general internal workings without taking it apart?
posted by Chuckles at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2007

A couple years ago I inherited a bed from a smoker's house, and all I can tell you is, the smell went away. First, covering it with a mattress pad and sheets covered up the smell enough that I could sleep on it right away. Then ... it just took time. I can't tell you how long. I'm very sensitive to the smell of smoke and I just never really noticed it as long as the bed was made. Now I never notice it at all.

It's possible that it came from a room in the smoker's house that wasn't the smokiest room.
posted by iguanapolitico at 10:07 AM on December 9, 2007

"How to clean a mattress."
"How to get rid of the stench of cigarette smoke."
"What's the best way to get the smell of cigarettes out of a mattress?"

Washington Post, March 17, 2005:
"Upholstered furniture should be professionally cleaned and deodorized, Sellers said, because the wrong cleaner could cause colors to bleed. As with carpeting, nicotine may penetrate the furniture's padding, rendering surface cleaning ineffective. (...) Bishop and Head agree that ozone oxidation is the most effective way to neutralize smoke odors. (...) TV infomercials and Internet sites hawk products and devices to eliminate the odor of tobacco. Head, who labels the Internet "the largest source of misinformation on odor issues," contends that in his 15 years in the business, he has never come across an Internet product that works."
posted by iviken at 10:07 AM on December 9, 2007

But if it's really serious, I like your close-it-up-in-the-guest-bedroom method anyway. Stand up the mattresses so the large surface areas aren't up against anything, open the window, close the door, and put that window plastic over the door, and maybe hang a heavy blanket or two over that. Give it a couple weeks. (Sunshine is indeed nature's deodorant, but it doesn't sound like it's the right weather for that.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2007

yeah, the confounding factor is that winter weather here is dreary and rainy...which sounds like a recipe for mildew. the smoke smell was stunk up the entire upstairs and we just stripped the sheets after one night and have to wash them. and i am a smoker (i just don't smoke indoors), so it's not like i'm particularly sensitive.

we found another mattress and are sending this one to the dump. thanks, though.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2007

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