How to Remove Smoke Odor from Electronics

Smoke gets into all the corners and crevices of a home, including devices. Here are five things you can do to eliminate the smoky smells.
Written by Rochelle Miller-Hernandez
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
There are several ways to remove smoke odor from your devices, which, if used, can help them last longer afterwards.
Unlike spills that leave a visible sign of stains and blemishes, smoke damage is often less obvious. But even when barely evident, vapors can harm your electronic devices just as much, if not more. And even if you can get them
working like new
, it can still be hard to remove the smoke odor from electronics.
Here are a few tips from insurance broker
to help you get the smoke smell off your electronics. Before trying any of them, remember to unplug your devices and remove any batteries and memory cards.
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1. Air it out

The first thing you can try when removing the smoke odor from electronics is to air out your devices. It's simple: if your phone smells like smoke, place it by a window or outside if you have a safe and covered area. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh gentle breeze to get the smell out.

2. Spray with compressed air

You can blow out the dust and ash that is creating the smell with an air compressor, moving the air through the device to make sure you hit every crevice, vent, and port. Don't use too much pressure or you may damage or dislodge a part. You should probably try this technique outside, so you don’t spread the buildup inside your home or office.

3. Trap particles with an air ionizer

An air ionizer is an effective tool to trap particles like dust and smoke. It works by charging ions that attract these elements. When they gather together, the deposits can be collected through electrostatic into a central area. All you have to do is wipe up the deposits with a damp cloth.

4. Use vinegar

When removing smoke odor from electronics, stay away from harsh cleaners. A safe alternative is vinegar. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Before using, unplug your device and remove the casing. Lightly dampen a soft cloth or cotton swab with the vinegar mixture, making sure to squeeze out all excess liquid.
Carefully wipe down the interior, taking care to avoid bare parts like circuit boards. Don’t forget the inside of the casing, too. Once done, use a dry soft cloth to wipe everything dry or use a blow dryer set on cool. Make sure to do this before replacing the casing or you may trap moisture.

5. When all else fails, try baking soda

Often odor absorption techniques can work to eliminate smoke odors from your devices. You can use baking soda, charcoal, or coffee grinds.
There are two ways to use this method. The first is to unplug your electronics and place them in an airtight bag along with the odor absorption material in a container with vents. You want to make sure the baking soda or other materials do not spill into your electronics.
The other method you can use is a wire rack. Unplug all your devices and place them on an elevated wire rack. Closely underneath on a lower rack or the floor, place the baking soda, charcoal, or coffee grinds in an open container, so they can draw the odor from above. Both of these techniques can take a few days or even a few weeks to work.
Key Takeaway: Placing electronics close to baking soda, charcoal, or coffee grinds for several days or weeks can get the smell out of them. Whatever product you use, make sure it does not spill into the devices.
Removing smoke odors from your electronics can extend the lifespan of your devices, as well as remove the smell from your home. If you find none of these tips end up working for you, there are also professionals trained in smoke and soot removal that you can consult with.
Whatever the cause of the smoke damage, having the right insurance can help you cover the damage to both your devices and your home. If you also need
car insurance
, the
app can help you bundle it with your home insurance for extra savings. Just answer a few easy questions and Jerry will do the hard work of finding bundle quotes for you, paperwork free!


Does cigarette smoke damage electronics?

Yes, in some situations. When devices become coated in cigarette smoke, they're more likely to overheat and therefore become seriously damaged. There are ways to fix them, but it's best not to get smoke inside your device.

Is vinegar safe for electronics?

No. Vinegar can corrode surfaces, and is far more likely to cause damage than help clean, especially by itself. Always use safe cleaning fluids, ideally ones specifically made to clean electronics.
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