Cigarette burns are unforgiving. Their dark, scraggly perimeter scowls at you and taunts you with
a scorched noticeable, often permanent, hole – ruining whatever surface was trying to survive. It’s very hard to hide a cigarette burn, and many cigarette burns are impossible to hide or repair. If your shirt went up in flames and is reduced to flying ashes, it’s time to get a new shirt. A car seat cover may be necessary to hide that cigarette burn from mom, and you might need to strategically center a floor planter over the carpet of your rented apartment. But, depending on the severity of the burn, there may be hope.

Sometimes there is damage, and sometimes there is just a darkening from heat. Wash the area first to expose the true nature of the burn. If it’s a discolored piece of clothing, try washing it in chlorine bleach if you can. If the clothing is dry-clean only, try sponging on a neutral detergent solution, then rinse it off. If your clothing article is now more see-through than it ought to be, – give it up and use it for rags or cleaning up other cigarette burns. (You can also donate ruined clothing to your local animal shelter. Dogs won’t nag you as much as your mother about your smoking habits.)

If you’re dealing with a cigarette burn in a carpet, your best bet is to put on your hunting gear and try a little camouflage work. Instead of a gun or bow and arrow, your tools will be a steel wool pad, neutral detergent, scissors and a vacuum. First, try scrubbing it lightly with a steel wool pad, then vacuum up the ashes. Then rub and scrub with some detergent and rinse. If black char still remains, perform surgery and try to precision cut what charcoaled pieces are left. If worse comes to worse, find an inconspicuous part of the carpet, cut out a hole the size of the burn, and hot glue the pretty carpet piece into the ugly burned carpet piece.

If your friends and visitors are to blame for the cigarette burns in your carpet – practice saying the words “smoke outside.” Or scatter an abundance of ashtrays at your next get-together to keep your rug safe. Smoke is ugly and not your friend. If you burned your clothes and carpet – it’s time to quit smoking. You can’t hide the black in your lungs. Clean up your clothes, your carpet and your air, and you won’t have to waste time playing hide, scrub and seek with malicious cigarette burns.

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