Cigarette Burn in the Furniture Finish

By Karl

A Cigarette Burn in the Finish Can Be Removed and the Finish can be Restored

Do you smoke? If so, there is a good chance that you have accidentally burned your wood furniture once or twice with a lit cigarette. Even if you are not a smoker, you might have a piece of furniture that contains an old cigarette burn in the finish that was caused by a previous owner. No matter who caused the burn, the damage can be removed and the finish restored.

Evaluate the Severity of the Burn

The level of the repair will depend on how badly the furniture is burned.

  • Is the burn on the surface of the finish?
  • Is the burn deep within the wood?


If the cigarette burn is light and did not affect the underlying wood, the finish will probably just need to be buffed, waxed and polished.

If the cigarette burn goes deeper than the finish and actually affected the underlying wood, the damaged wood will need to be removed and re-filled with wood filler.

It is likely that you will not have to pay someone to refinish the entire piece of furniture, and you will be able to fix the damage yourself. The process is not difficult, but it does require a few materials that can be purchased at a local hardware store and it also takes the determination to make the furniture look good again.

Repairing a Deep Burn

If the wood has a deep burn, you will need to scrape off the damaged wood. Using a craft knife or wood chisel, scrape out all of the wood that was darkened by the burn. After all of the damaged wood is removed, the area will need to be sanded. Use a very small piece of fine-grit sand paper to clean the damaged area. You will need to clean the area with a cloth and then fill the hole with wood filler that matches the original color of the wood. Once dry, apply a layer of finish and smooth the surface with No. 000 steel wool. When dry, you will want to wax, polish and buff the surface of the piece so that it shines like new.

Will the Repair Show?

Depending on the severity of the damage and how deep the burn in the wood, the repair may or may not show. There is no doubt that the repair will look better than the furniture looked when it had an obvious cigarette burn mark on it. The key to successfully repairing burned wood is removing all of the charred wood, and filling the spot with the correct colored wood filler.

How to Prevent Cigarette Burn Marks on Furniture

The most effective way of preventing cigarette burn marks on furniture is to not allow anyone to smoke near pieces of furniture that are valuable or that you want to keep in pristine condition. And, if you or your guests must smoke near wood furniture, make sure there is an ashtray readily available. The problem with cigarette smoking in relation to burn marks on wood furniture is that even when an ashtray is used, hot ashes can inadvertently fall onto the furniture and cause damage. Luckily, if cigarette burns are not deep they can probably be repaired with a good waxing, polishing and buffing.

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