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How to Remove Smoke Stains From Wood Cabinets

Mitchell Holt

Smoke is serious business. Whether cigarette smoke, cooking smoke or smoke from a house fire, it leaves a thick residue that easily stains wood and other household items. If you have smoke-stained wood cabinets, they will never look like new again, but if they are cleaned carefully, you can restore some of the wood's former luster.

  1. Mix warm water, dish soap and baking soda together. Stir well so the powder dissolves completely. Scrub the cabinets--one small section at a time--with a soft cloth, rinse the cloth frequently as you work.

  2. Notice any areas that feel especially coarse from smoke build-up. To clean these areas, dab a small amount of the dish soap on a damp rag and scrub vigorously. These areas should dissolve as you scrub.

  3. Rinse each section with a clean, warm and damp rag after you clean it. Dry each section of the cabinet before you move on to the next section. Although letting a solution set in is often an effective cleaning method, you can further damage your wood if it absorbs water.

  4. Follow up your cleaning job with a quality wood oil. Let the oil sit for a few minutes, then wipe it up with a clean rag, buffing the cabinets as you go.

  5. Treat your cabinets with wood oil every month to maintain its finish. If you smoke in your house, do not ever apply furniture polish as it allows smoke to permeate the wood easier.