I just bought a used Canon 600D, and one of the first thing I realized when I tried it out is that the body reeks of cigarette smoke. It smells like layers upon layers of nicotine are stuck to the camera body. The smell is especially strong on the rubbery part.

How can I remove this smell without damaging the camera itself?

  • upvoting because this camera body can't simply be ruined forever because of smoking. Also, I wonder if all the gunk from the cigarretes has an effect on optical performance.
    – ppp
    Jul 17, 2015 at 23:03
  • See: photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=763324&page=1 Also, Febreze. :)
    – inkista
    Jul 18, 2015 at 0:52
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    I think I'll add "non smoking owner" to eBay listings.
    – JDługosz
    Jul 18, 2015 at 9:11
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    @inkista: Funny you should say that - my worst fear when ordering anything used is that it will smell like Febreze. :P Jul 19, 2015 at 1:57
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    Febreze doesn't actually eliminate the source of the odor, it just masks it by wrapping the offending molecules in something that doesn't smell as bad. Wikipedia: The molecule traps and binds volatilized hydrocarbons within its structural ring, retaining malodorous molecules, which reduces their volatility and thus the perception of their scent. Because I just hate the smell of Febreze, it is now allowed in my house.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 19, 2015 at 11:22

9 Answers 9


I followed other's suggestions (wipedown, etc.). Additionally, I put it in a box with a small container of baking soda for a couple of days. Seemed to do the trick.

  • Upvote for Baking Soda- that's a good tip! I will be using that in addition to white vinegar Jul 18, 2015 at 17:50
  • I let a smoking friend borrow my HDR-FX7 for about two weeks. It smelled like cigarettes when I got it back. I just let it air out for a few days and that worked, so I'm not sure the baking soda did anything.
    – 41829
    Aug 5, 2015 at 21:11
  • From all the suggestions that I've tried, this one works the best back then, thanks! Feb 6, 2018 at 4:37

As a collector of old and sometimes, very smelly cameras, I swear by general household kitchen white vinegar!

Equal part vinegar and water, dampen a cloth, and scrub away!

You will be surprised!

You can also half fill a small desert bowl with white vinegar, and then place that inside a cardboard box on one side with your camera on the other and by morning, the odour will be gone! Make sure to close the box off so that vinegar vapours stay within.

White vinegar is amazing! Hope it helps you too.

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    I would agree with the scrubbing down with vinegar part, but not the boxing up... ascetic acid vapors are probably not good for things like lens and sensor coatings. Also, wiping with peroxide after the vinegar will help remove the vinegar smell. :) Jul 19, 2015 at 2:01
  • +1 for the vinegar --- but be sure to buy the cheapest one (which is just acetic acid, water and a bit of colorant, and the only grape it ever saw is the photo in the label). Better than a nice, aged and flavored wine vinegar for this task --- reserve the latter for your salads ;-).
    – Rmano
    Jul 19, 2015 at 10:35
  • I generally use Distilled white Vinegar for pretty much all cleaning. The smell evaporates very quickly. I have used this since the mid 80's on pretty much all cameras, including Leica. its great stuff. I also leave any leather cases inside the box with cameras too, leaves them free from horrid odours very quickly. I always run it by people as to what I am to do, some are accepting, but some do show concerns, that is unless someone puts in a referral for me. Generally, it is the first stage of any restoration process for me Jul 19, 2015 at 11:19

Nicotine is a colourless and odourless liquid, and breaks down quickly in air. What you actually want to remove is tar.

Removing tar from hard flat surfaces (your camera body) isn't so difficult, just use any cleaning wipe and rub vigorously.

I don't know exactly what "rubbery parts" you have but as long as you don't use any aggressive solvents you could apply the same approach. Rub and wipe.

Since tar isn't very soluble the mechanical part, rubbing, is most important. And you will have to repeat a few times.

The same for the optical surfaces, just be more careful and use the appropriate cleaning materials.


I've had this with things, its sickening.

I've found with a good cleaning with antibacterial wipes (being careful about liquid ingress) and TIME (weeks, months) it will go away.

Actually when I was a kid, I thought ALL airplane models smelled that that from the factory!! the model shop owner was a chain smoker...


Whenever something smells, it's emitting material, and at some point the material must run out (it may take a while, but it can't take forever).

First do a good wipedown of all durable surfaces, perhaps including some rubber treatment compound for the rubber components. Then, put it somewhere where it can outgas; somewhat warm, and with some air movement to take away the fumes. Then you have to wait. Check it every once in a while to see if it's gotten better.

Even once it's gotten better you may have to store it in the open for a while rather than in a case to allow any residual odor to drift away. Good luck.


Start simple: use a damp cloth to wipe down the body. A microfiber cloth would work especially well. Again, it should be damp but not wet -- you shouldn't be able to squeeze water out of it. Your 600D isn't weather sealed, so go lightly around the buttons -- you don't want any liquid water seeping in around them. Repeat several times if necessary. Leave the lens on during cleaning -- you can wipe it down too, again being careful not to let any actual water get into switches or under the zoom or focus rings. It'd be a good idea to follow the damp cloth with a dry one.


I think I may have found a solution to "How do I clean the smell of cigarette from my used camera?" The smoke smell comes from the tar released from burning tobacco and is absorbed into the rubber and well, any surface of the camera, but especially the material that can absorb the tar. What needs to be done, as far as I can see, is we need to replace that smoke smell with something different, not try to clean the affected areas. We have to apply something that also absorbs into the rube like the the tar but smells nicer.

I have just tried my cologne, Jaguar Classic Black, Shoppers, $19.99?, on my D500 I purchased from a smoker. I also tried liquid lighter fluid, handy wipes, and white vinegar and H2O solution, but those didn't seem to penetrate well enough.

So it just came to me that my cologne smells nicer than the smoke so I sprayed some on the rubber grip area, away form the buttons, and rubbed it in with a paper towel and EUREKA! The smell was gone instantaneously. There was an overwhelming cologne scent but no smoke smell. After a couple of hours the cologne smell was hardly noticeable but the smoke smell was almost undetectable.

I've done the battery grip, lens hood (off the lens of course), sprayed the rubber grip on the lens, and scrubbed it with the paper towel and then wiped the hard parts with the damp paper towel.

It's been 5 or 6 hours since the cologne application and there is a slight scent of smoke residue, but nothing like it was at the start. Putting the camera to my eye to look through is much more pleasant now and maybe with another application of cologne, the smoke smell will disappear altogether and I imagine the cologne scent will do the same. I'm happy to share this finding will all my fellow photogs to help in everyone's enjoyment of photography.


A product I have had experience with is: Ozium. I used it when I had a janitorial business to rid smoke-filled spaces of the lingering tobacco smell and found it to work well. It's available as a spray or as an air freshener.

I would recommend 'unscented' for your camera.

"Ozium" will save your ass in nearly any situation. This stuff knocks the scent right out of anything. It is clinically proven to eliminate odors, unlike current products that just mask odors.

I hope that helps.

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    It is still a very poor answer. This is not how things are done here. Is this a chemical? A brand name product? A kit? If commercial, are you associated with the makers or sellers? As a casual reader that doesn't actually have the problem presented here, this kind of answer is annoying and rude, -1. And, keep in mind that most readers are going to be of the casual type, so I expect the downvotes will continue. Jul 18, 2015 at 12:44
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    What you provided may not have been a hyperlink but it is still a link. It provides a method to find out the information, rather than directly providing the information. Jul 18, 2015 at 12:55
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    @FatherLuke I've edited to (I hope) improve the answer. Despite Olin's question, you don't have to prove that you're not connected to the company -- it's just that your initial one-word answer looked awfully spammy. I've used Ozium too, and it is a fine product for eliminating smells from air, but I'm uncertain how well it'd work when used on a surface or whether it's a good choice for treating a camera. If you have more information about that, please go ahead and add it.
    – Caleb
    Jul 19, 2015 at 1:50
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    @FatherLuke Glad to help. For a gentle intro to what we expect, take a look at the tour and help center, both accessible from the "help" menu at the very top of the page. (If you read everything, you'll get a badge!) It doesn't hurt to lurk in Photography Meta a bit as well -- you'll find a lot of answers there about what makes a good or bad question or answer, etc.
    – Caleb
    Jul 19, 2015 at 2:29
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    Probably not, @Caleb, and thanks for the link. I'll stick to Stack Exchange English and Language usage, you shutterbugs have fangs. Haw! Thanks again for the love. Jul 19, 2015 at 3:43

Cedar chips or kitty litter are safe and pretty fast-acting.

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    How would you use it? Rub it all over the camera? Immerse the camera? Particularly with the kitty litter, wouldn't you be worried about dust — and maybe scratches?
    – mattdm
    Jul 18, 2015 at 1:00
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    @mattdm : small cheesecloth bags are filled with the substance and the camera is placed between those, all in a large plastic bag.
    – Iliah Borg
    Jul 18, 2015 at 1:09

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