Removing smoke smell from furniture

Hello there,
I did a search on Google and thought I would also ask around this newsgroup to see if anyone had any other ideas. My great-aunt died on the weekend :-( and I brought home her china cabinet. She was a heavy smoker.
The china cabinet is a smaller version of the one my mom has - it's from the 1960s and it has a...hmm...veneer of some sort. I'm not sure what you would call it, it looks like a fake cherry finish - very dark in colour, but not spotty like walnut.
I don't want to damage the finish on it. The back of it just plain particle board, and I'm not sure how I would wash that off. So far I have tried a little bit of Mr. Clean and warm water. Paper towel after paper towel is black and brown :-(. It seems kind of endless :\
Any help would be very much appreciated.
Thank you, Christine
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In spewed forth and said:

Get some Murphys Oil Soap and gently clean it with that. You can buy it pre-mixed or as a paste and mix it yourself. If worst comes to worst, you could try some denatured alcohol. I'd try it in an inconspicious spot to see if it hurts the finish first though. After cleaning it, give it a good rub down with a good lemon oil and it should smell much better. hth
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Christine O writes:

They've just finished cleaning walls, books, hard surface furniture in my house after a basement fire. The contractor used, as a start, dry (actually chemically saturated) sponges to remove the first layers. An ozone generator will be brought in before we move back in, and left on for a day or so.
Suggest you use google to look up "fire restoration" and and "fire restoration supplies" go from there. I know when I was doing a rough check of the efficacy of the methods, I saw those chemical sponges available. They're using them by the CASE so the price can't be too outrageous.
With cigaret smoke, removing the varnish it lays down should remove almost all the stink.
Charlie Self
"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants." George W. Bush
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.combleah (Charlie Self) wrote in message

You already got some good direction for cleaning the finished portions of the china cabinet. The tough part will be the nasty particle board and possibly the cabinet innards (drawers, runners, etc). I recommend you get some Zinsser shellac sealcoat from your hardware store (even Home Depot carries it) and give the non-finished parts of the cabinet a wash coat. Cut the stuff from the can 1:1 with fresh denatured alcohol. You can brush or wipe it on. It'll seal off the nasty cigarette smell, but good.
Whenever there's a woodworking question, chances are the answer is shellac.
Hammuh
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Consider shellacing the back to seal the odors.
On 4 Aug 2003 20:38:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gonzo.org (Christine O) wrote:

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Christine - sorry for your loss. Try Murphy's Oil soap - and seal the particle board. Be patient because both tasks will require patience and time. This should do the trick.
Best to you,
Jim Mc Namara

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I inherited several pieces of furniture from my father who was a heavy smoker (several packs of Camels a day). I used a lemon oil furniture cleaner (Formby's) on the finished parts. On rough wood (back, inside drawers, etc.) I sprayed, very lightly, with Fabreeze (a fabric deoderizer). Let it air for several days and repeated. Seems to have removed all the smell (unless you stick your nose right up to it). Obviosly you want to test each surface material in an inconspicuous spot first. (And particle board is especially sensitive to moisture.)
My neice took a different tack: She cleaned the finished parts like I did, then put charcoal (wrapped in cloth or paper towels) inside the furniture (activated charcoal would be even better). I think it took a couple of weeks, but she said it absorbed the smell pretty well. -Wm
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William responds:

There are numerous fire restoration supply houses that make the job easier, quicker: here's one. http://www.unsmoke.com/fire-unsponge-632.htm
That shows the sponge I mentioned earlier, but down the right side there's a list of chemicals that may also be used.
Charlie Self
"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants." George W. Bush
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(Charlie Self)

easier,
The tobacco smoke coating was pretty thick in the case of my father's stuff. There were pieces of glass inside the china cabinet that I thought were amber-colored - turned out to be crystal clear once it was washed.
If I wasn't a non-smoker already, that would have made me want to kick the habit :-) -Wm
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