If you buy used guitars, from time to time you notice that a guitar has a smell to it. This happened to me in my recent purchase of 2 used guitars. I bought a couple of ESP LTD Lynch 200 series guitars, in pretty much mint condition. A Kamikaze and a Tiger, for for $400. The Kamikaze needed a new pot. That's all that was wrong with either guitar.
When I got the guitars home, I noticed that the boxes (yes, they came in their original boxes) had a very strong smell of cigarette smoke. I immediately removed the guitars from the boxes, and put the boxes outside in the recycling. I let them sit for a day, to see if the smell was in the guitars also.
The next day, I walked by the guitars, and I could definitely notice a cigarette smell. Not strong, but if you don't smoke, it is very irritating. I, in fact, have found that I am allergic to it. I can feel it affect my breathing. So, something had to be done.
I looked up several ways to removes smells from the guitar. I almost bought an Ozone Generator (actually I still might, but for other reasons). But solution that I used was the simplest and cheapest.
I used a couple of old Chinese food containers that we saved for various uses. A pint for a mixture of water and hand soap. The other clean water.
I placed the guitar on a towel, and started washing it. The plan was wash it with a sponge and the soapy water, and quickly rinse the sponge with the clean water, and remove the soapy water. Then hit it with paper towels to completely dry it. The whole thing took about a minute per side. I did each side twice, being careful not to get any water in the cavities of the guitar. I regularly cleaned out the clean water container, which had a distinct cigarette smell every time I dumped it out.
I also did the neck and strings, basically scrubbing them with the sponge. The neck took a little longer, because it seemed dirtier and I had to continually scrub, rinse and dry after a couple of fret were done. I didn't want to leave the water on the neck, it would ruin the neck. I put extra paper towels under the strings to get rid of any water I might have missed. Thankfully, there wasn't any additional water on those paper towels.
After the cleaning, I let it sit for a while to completely dry out.
When I came back, I did a regular cleaning with guitar cleaner/wax. I also treated the neck using Dr Ducks.
After that, I walked away for about another hour, to clear my sinuses of any cigarette smell. When I came back, I smelled the guitar, and didn't smell any cigarettes. SWEEEEET!!!
I then did the other guitar. The cigarette smell is gone!!!!
"Women and music...I'm always amazed at other people's choices" - David Lee Roth