How Do You Remove Fragrance Chemicals and Bad Odors in Used Electronics?

How to Remove Fragrance Chemicals and Bad Odors in Used ElectronicsNot long ago we asked our super smart friends for tips about how to get fragrance chemicals out of clothes.  Your insights were spectacular, so we're asking for your help again!

Ok here's one for you, you buy a used appliance like a pc/tv monitor, plug it in and it starts to outgass a fragrance, hard to believe but this happens all the time when we buy used appliances like from Goodwill, we figure the previous owners sprayed themselves near the appliance and it somehow entered through the vents, since it pours of them, the latest smells like euphoria, get a perfume jag from this one and your brain takes to the hills, that's how they used to say it back in the 50's. Had to take it out of the house and put in the garage, any ideas how to get fragrance out of an appliance, clothes is hard enough, sheesh! ~Dayna

DIY Tips to Remove Odors in Used Electronics

We have a lot of savvy DIY blogging friends, so we posed the question to them.  Here are the non-toxic ways they suggested to remove fragrance chemicals and bad odors in used electronics like cell phones, computers and TV's.

This is a tough one. We bought a laptop that smelled like a sweaty armpit. I suspected toxic chemicals overheating inside the components or something like that was the cause (scary thought!).  I used diluted coffee to clean the outside because it's slightly acidic and smells better than vinegar (I think it's also less acidic than vinegar so it won't erode the plastic surface). I've also used leftover tea.  It's great for cleaning, so that's why you see Chinese waiters pouring leftover tea from the teapot to wipe down the table. ~ Karen of

My husband and I decided to buy a used cell phone for our One Small Green Change this month. The only problem with my new to me cell phone is it REEKED of cigarette smoke. The seller didn’t mention he was a smoker. I don’t smoke. The smell really bothered me.  I deodorized my smoky cell phone by running a damp cotton ball full of alcohol over the phone, battery, and cords. It was a temporary fix.  Next, I put my phone and cords (yes, even the cords STANK) in Pyrex container full of coffee grounds for a week. That took care of most of the odor. ~Lisa of

Additional Tips for Removing Smoke from Used Electronics

  • Cleaning thoroughly with regular old soap and water is always a good place to start.
  • Most experts recommend using compressed air (or an air compressor) to remove cobwebs and dust that may be harboring fragrance chemicals or cigarette smoke.
  • Try using equal parts white vinegar and water to clean the surface build-up.  If that doesn't prove strong enough, try purchasing a cleaning agent specially made for electronics for an more in-depth cleaning (don't use furniture cleaners or strong solvents though).  Wash with a cloth, not a spray bottle. You can use cotton swabs for tight spaces.
  • Try eliminating the rest of the odor by placing it in a small, closed room with a highly rated HEPA air purifier like this one or this one for at least 24 hours.
  • Follow up on any lingering odors by placing a combination of baking soda and charcoal in an open container next to the offending eletronic to help absorb the odor.

Share Your Best Tips in the Comments!

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4 Responses to How Do You Remove Fragrance Chemicals and Bad Odors in Used Electronics?

  1. Josephine February 20, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    helpful tips may try to use these tips with a figurine i got and a night stand i also got and a web cam but how do you get rid of the cigarette stain on these things that is what i would like to know but will try these tips…thanks for sharing this article it will be useful and helpful to get rid of cigarette odor

    • The Soft Landing Sisters
      The Soft Landing Sisters March 18, 2015 at 10:53 am #

      I’m glad you found it useful and hope you’re able to remove that icky cigarette odor Josephine! ~Alicia

  2. Karen Scribner March 6, 2015 at 2:13 am #

    Sunshine works wonders for everything from the thrift store. Try not to shop at Goodwill, all the extra money goes to one man.

    • The Soft Landing Sisters
      The Soft Landing Sisters March 18, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      You’re so right, Karen – sunshine is an amazing cure for much of what ails us! ~Alicia

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