How do I clean a bass that reeks of cigarette smoke?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by psi, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    I'm at my wits end here. I tried a damp cloth - didn't work. Then I tried a weak Windex solution - still smells. The guy who used to own this thing must have been a serious chain-smoker! I love playing it but I find my eyes burning & tearing up after a few minutes.

    Any tips?

  2. flea claypool

    flea claypool

    Jun 27, 2004
    petrol... :)

    i used lemon wipes.. the kind you use for wiping down a dash in a car?? just dont use it on raw wood..
  3. user362432

    user362432 Guest

    Dec 27, 2002
    Start smoking.

    You will smell nothing.
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    A bass that smells like that makes me weep---with nostalgia for my well-spent youth! :bag:
  5. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Try vinegar. Test check an area first. I recently bought a Hammond organ that the previous owner's cat had urinated on and it really smelled badly. I mixed bleach with mine in some spots, but just the vinegar worked pretty good too. :cool:
  6. flea claypool

    flea claypool

    Jun 27, 2004
  7. throbgod13


    Mar 26, 2005
    pull your bass apart, and clean it with windex.. then use a polish, like Meguire's Carnuba wax and polish your bass.. then reassemble it..

    or.. get a large trashbag, stand and a Ionic Breeze.. guitar on stand, ionic breeze next to it on high, cover with trashbag.. let it sit for a few days.. no smell.. ozone kills the smell..

    that's about all i can think of..

    you might want to wipe your bass down after each session, and toss a "Stick-Ups" Neutra Air in your case to cut the stink..
  8. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    start with this:>Auto%20Paint%20Care>Auto%20Detailing%20Clay&sectionID=31201

    and then a couple of grades of these:>Auto%20Paint%20Care>Car%20Polishes>Cleaner/Polishes&sectionID=31402
  9. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    Hmmm, I think you may find most of the odor is trapped in the strings, wipe'em down with a lil bleach water and DRY WELL (use a hair dryer if necessary)and that should do it. Like a car windshield on the inside, a bass would really require cig smoke immersion to continue stinking after repeated wiping down with windex as you said you did. Strings on the other hand will also get it off the smoker's fingers and as the oils carry it, it'll build up in/on strings. Give it a try and let us know.
  10. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I had the same problem with an old Fender once. I tried a lot of things and here's what worked:

    First thing's first; air it out! I would say to do this outside if it were summer, but it's not ;) Don't keep it in a case or gig-bag, and put a space heater fan (on low) on it while it's on a stand. You don't want it hot, just not cold air like from a regular fan. The warm air will bring out more of the smell, just like heating up food, and eventually the stink will fade. If you have a case with it, the same goes: Open it up, stand it upright, and blow warm air into it. You can get a little heater fan like this one from Wal*Mart for $14:

    You can try to cover up the scent with potpourri, and eventually this will help by replacing the scent of the tobacco. You can put some in your case.

    Lemon oil on the fretboard helps some (if it's not the kind with a sealed finish).

    Hope this helps!
  11. sozo


    Jan 23, 2009
    What I hate most in the world is cig. smoke in things.

    I have had to remove smoke from various items, like leather, headphones etc... never from wood .

    The best method to remove smoke is to wipe it down w/ a mild solution of vinegar then leave it sit out in a well ventilated area w/ fresh air circulating, maybe run a fan in the room.

    The worst I had was a leather vest and I had to let it air out for almost 4 months before I got rid of the smell.

    They do make industrial solutions you can buy but I wouldn't put them on your bass.

    From what I understand it is the tar that makes it smell but it will eventually diminish so at least know that it will not stink forever, unless you lock it up in it's case.

    Good luck!
  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I have found most of the smell is in the case, not on the bass.
  13. spark_chaser


    Nov 15, 2008
    Sanford, FL
    I just noticed this problem with my basses from my last gig...I've never had that problem before, but it was definitely coming from the strings...I got a cloth and used and little 409 on it and pinched the string only with the rag and ran it up and down the sting to clean it. It seemed to work pretty good
  14. Cry me a river. Go to your local tobacconist and buy a Fuente Churchill cigar. Smoke it while enjoying a glass of good Scotch. Then go play your stinky bass.
  15. throbgod13


    Mar 26, 2005
    put on a little Sex Panther, no one will notice your stinky bass..

  16. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    +1, air it out & put some potpourri in it.
  17. Sprinkle some baking soda in the case, let it sit for a day or two and vacuum it out. Repeat. The baking soda will absorb the case odors. As far as the bass goes, try some of that windex with the vinegar. Vinegar might smell strong but it's a good cleaner/deodorizer.
  18. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Send it to me so I can scrape the nicotine off, pack it in a pipe, and smoke the $hit out of it..... sorry, I just quit smoking. It's been a week and i'm DYING!!!!!!!! God I love smoking:bag:
  19. basscheez


    Nov 6, 2008
    Cleveland, Oh
    Try Febreeze on the bass and case. I suggest you test it on the finish first in a discreet location.
  20. user362432

    user362432 Guest

    Dec 27, 2002