Removing burnt smell from cut toy/gift

Cutting some smaller gifts out of proof grade medium Maple. There is initially a considerable amount of burnt stink that will ‘offend’ the recipient (I have sensitive allergies so it’s understandable). I’m looking for techniques on cleaning the burnt smell out of nooks and crannies without saturating or swelling the material.

Would investing in a tumbler work or is this too aggressive? If ok, how long and what medium for stuff like Maple? Will it overly round the product? Cramb into the nooks etc?

Do you have time to leave it outside (protected from weather of course) for a couple days? This is usually long enough to dissipate all the remaining burnt smells for me.

The smell is from to soot created from burning the wood–the laser is effectively a high tech match.

I use bit of soap and water to clean most of my item, others like baby wipes, or bit of rubbing alcohol, or other products to remove the soot from the product. With wood, likely a non-water based cleaner may be best, but start with as mild an option you can. Once the soot is removed, the smell will go away, too.

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I find that hand sanitizer does a very good job and dries quickly, leaving neither stain or smell. Left out the smell leaves in a few days anyway, but clean is also good.

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One more possibility: use a portable ozone generator (like this one). I put items to be de-smelled at the bottom of a clean 35 lb kitty litter bucket (any bucket with a lid should do), then a small grate (it’s a cookie cooling rack) then the generator, cover it with a lid leaving the cord out, and put the whole assembly out on the deck (you don’t want to do this inside, ozone can degrade rubber as well as cause health problems) plug in and let it run for about 30 minutes. It totally gets rid of the acrid smell.


Quickest way to dissipate the smell is to use masking, and remove it immediately after the job is done and get it into a ziploc bag. (99% of the smell is on that masking.)

if the pieces are small enough (and especially if they are complex cuts, which can be hard to clean inside of), you can put them in a bin of salt and gently tumble them with the salt. it’s what i do with puzzles (thanks @jbmanning5). it gets the char off the edges and deodorizes some. i guess it’s possible if you shake too hard, it could damage a finish, but i put puzzles with printed photos that have been varnished on top of, and it doesn’t seem to hurt the finish.


Depending on the size of the pieces, a tupperware filled with salt does a nice job


Everyone has different solutions. (Awesome.) So I’ll ad my own brand of crazy to the mix:

For the outer edge: a slightly damn kleenex (or old soft rag moistened with water) along the outer edge to remove the loose soot. And Febreze sprayed above it. Let it sit for a day and the Febreze will remove the smell that the rag didn’t clean off. (This also works great for leather and cork.)

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i may be weird, but i’d rather smell the wood char than febreze.


Someone way back when suggested baby wipes - I imagine they are very similar to the a damp rag system :slight_smile:

and yeah @shop, I’m with you on not liking the smell of Febreze!


Orange wipes are good, too. I’ve used those for cleanup of a number of items. smells better than febreeze, too :slight_smile:

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Be careful with air freshener around the machine…

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Get the unscented version. Febreze was actually unscented originally because it doesn’t use other scents to cover the odor but people didn’t like that it just removed the odor - they wanted some perfume scent to “prove” it worked.

(Similar to vacuum cleaners - they’re only loud because people associate loud with power & effectiveness.)

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Good luck finding it.

you mean this?

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Challenge accepted!

I specifically looked for this in my local WalMart a couple of days ago and they did not have it, even though the web site says they do. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Edit… just saw the price. Holy guacamole… it’s a $4 product.


This is an awesome thread. Thank you. I’ll be able to try tomorrow.


I personally avoid chemicals like Febreze. I am very sensitive to chemicals like air fresheners and cleaners and Febreze (unscented or not). However, your comment gave me the idea to try lemon essential oil, which is typically great at cleaning. I will have to experiment. :slight_smile: