Getting Smoke Smell Out of Plastic

Updated on August 04, 2008
S.C. asks from Parkersburg, IL
13 answers

My uncle just gave us a new printer/copier/scanner/fax machine. He's only used it about 4 times & it's in perfect condition. We don't have one & I'm very thankful for the gift.

The issue is, he smokes. We don't. The printer smells like an ash tray.

How do I get rid of the smell? You all seem to know EVERYTHING, so I figure you can help out on this one too!! :) I've wiped it all down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust & that helped some, but the smell is still distinctly there. Our computer sits in the living room so I'd rather not have that smell lingering around. Help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great advice! I wiped the printer down with a bit of vinegar in water, then I let it set out for a few days. Eventually the smoke smell dissipated.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I had this problem when I bought a house and inherited an almost-new top of the line refrigerator that someone kept raw fish in. The smell when I opened the door knocked me over and NOTHING I tried got rid of it! So just when I was ready to throw out a $2,000 refridge, someone told me to buy a can of fresh coffee grounds and spread the whole can out on a cookie sheet and let it sit in the refridge for a couple of days. The fish smell was GONE!!!
I would take a large box, scatter fresh (unused) coffee grounds right out of the cofee container into the bottom of the box, set the printer in it and close the box top. Let it sit for a couple of days and I bet the smoke smell will be gone. Hope this helps.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Hello I have heard of a product that can be ordered on line or bought from Big Bob's used Carpet here in Cincinnati. It's called Odor x It. The website is no E. They say it woorks for getting rid of house fire smoke and I would thnk Cig smoke to. I am not sure how to get it out of plastics. I would say make a solution and wipe down what you can. If it still mells I would put it in a very large plastic bag with a small cup of the product and seal for a week to 10 days. That may take vcare of it. You might need to repeat it if the odor returns. I would ask and they do have money back if it does not work. It might be worth the try. It also takes out pet odors too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lafayette on

mr.clean extra strength wipes(not not magic eraser), it takes stains & smells off dang near anything.


answers from Cincinnati on

Hi S.! I worked with a woman who recommended a vinegar solution to get out cigarette smoke smells. I'd say just put some on a cloth & wipe down the printer. Maybe even do this a few times over the course of a couple days. Then wipe it down with a soapy/water cloth (so your livingroom doesn't smell of vinegar). I bet that does the trick. Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on


We had the same issue with an industrial strength paper shredder. It smelled horrible! But it was free. We left it outside on the front porch for two months, and now it is in my living room, and very useful.

Don't know if it is practical or not, but over time in the fresh air the smell really did leave. I did wipe it down with Pine-sol solution twice during that interval, so perhaps that helped, too.

Best wishes,



answers from Lima on

Since you can't immerse it that does make it tougher.

Try wiping it down with bleach wherever you can. Febreeze is another good thing, just lightly spray it over the machine. It will probably take several times but it will eventually lose the smell.
I dealt with this with a diaper bag I had bought that was vinyl, I even put it through the dryer on low heat to help and it took about 2 weeks to get the smell out.



answers from Indianapolis on

Try some baking soda in your water. Be generous with it. I use it straight (undiluted) down my garbage disposal, etc. Baking soda takes away odors. Depending on how bad it may have to do it more than once, but it certainly should help.



answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,

I am not sure if any of the suggestions will help, as I have never tried to get smoke out of something that is hard like a printer, but have you tried wiping it down with a vinegar water solution?

If that doesn't help, you might want to try to put the printer in a garbage bag and add some charcoal pieces in a container to the bag & printer. Close up the bag and leave it for a few days. Make sure you use the charcoal that doesn't have the lighter fluid already added.

We had moved from MI to OH and our stand up freezer was VERY smelly. Cleaning out, again, just wouldn't do. The charcoal in a pie tin in the freezer for a few days took care of everything. It was amazing.

Good Luck!!



answers from Cleveland on

Hi S.! Maybe try a Clorox Clean-Up cloth or something like that. Possibly some bleach water??? That's a disgusting smell, especially since you don't smoke. I'm right there with you on that one. I find the "ashtray" smell rather repulsive!! Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

Have you tried a vinegar solution? I've never tried it for smoke smells, but it works well for "my dog had diareah in her crate" smells. The vinegar smell will disipate as it dries. Good luck.




answers from Fort Wayne on

You can try a bleach solution, if it's white of course! Or the Clorox Hard Surface cleaner. It's probably a smell that will have to sort of come out on it's own, unfortunately. You will definately need some sort of cleaning solution to help the process along though. Just be careful not to get the ports or the scanner bed wet with any kind of cleaning solution. You may be able to try Windex too. That would be safe for the scanning bed.



answers from South Bend on

Try wiping it down with white vinegar.



answers from Dayton on

This works for me, but be careful as to where you set it and make sure no children or animals come in contact with it. Find a glass dish, about the size of 2 qt. bowl or pan and pour amonia in it. Leave it out overnight sitting in the room you are trying to get the smoke smell out of and the next morning, dilute with water and empty down your drain. A former smoker told me about this and it does help to take the smoke smell out of the air, so it might work for what you are hoping to do with the printer. You may even try using amonia on a damp sponge and wiping the outside of the printer down with that solution. good luck.

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