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Thread: Smoke Smell in Garage Sale Fabric

  1. #1
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    I have always been awed by the garage and estate sale finds that are posted on this board. I figure I would never experience that since I rarely make it to garage sales, especially first thing in the morning before they are picked over. My cousin-in-law is a master garage saler and called me a couple of weeks ago to ask about a sewing machine she was looking at. I went over to give her some advice and when the man who was holding the sale heard that I was a quilter, he said "follow me" and led us into the garage where he had boxes and garbage bags stuffed with fabric, quilt tops, rulers, dozens of books, thread, etc that belonged to his late wife. He had tears in his eyes and said "I knew a quilter would come along today--just take it all please". Free!!!!!. His daughter picked out the finished tops to keep--that's all she wanted of the stash. I paid $20 for an oak quilt rack. His only request was that any fabric I didn't want to keep be donated in his wifes name, Sharmaine.

    Sadly they were both smokers and the fabric reeks. I laided it out on my hammock and every other piece of furniture on the porch to air out for days. There are hundreds of yards (many 6-8 yard cuts) so it couldn't be completely unfolded as I didn't have the room. Because of our severe drought and the time it would take, I can't wash it all. So I have 5 bins packed with sorted and folded fabric. I placed 3-4 bars of deoderant soap in each bin. I will have to wash a load at a time when we get rain and our rainwater tank is full again. I don't feel that I can donate any with the smell and I don't want to use it that way either.

    Any tips on what products to use and how to wash it to get the smoke smell out? I can hang the lighter-colored fabrics on the clothesline in the sun after washing but don't want to fade the brights. I did a test with one white piece and hung it up for a few days without washing. Don't know if the smell went away as a cow pulled it off, chewed it up and spit it out--yuck!!! :roll: :roll:

  2. #2
    Power Poster
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    Could you double bag it until you get rain again and can wash it?

    I know that stuff can really stink, but there have been posts on how to get the smoke smell out.

    Or could you take big loads to a laundromat? Or is washing limited there, too?

  3. #3
    Super Member Airwick156's Avatar
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    LOL that Cow Must be a NON Smoker eh? LOL. Could you maybe toss in a bunch of new Dryer sheets? I really don't have a clue. When I finish a quilt I always fold the quilt with a few randomly placed dryer sheets in it as I was told they help prevent the quilts from picking up the odors as bad. I hope you find a solution soon. I know that someone here will be along shortly to give you lots more advice.

  4. #4
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    good luck with it... soooo sorry to hear of the cow being orney. Maybe she needed a bonnet or bib out of it.

  5. #5
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Frebreeze makes a product to add to your washer maybe it would help.

  6. #6
    Senior Member collady's Avatar
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    Try putting dryer sheets in with the fabric. I have found that they help remove odors from many things, including the inside of my grandson's shoes!

  7. #7
    Super Member Twisted Quilter's Avatar
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    I just got 9 yards of fabric at a garage sale that reeked of smoke. I just threw it in the washer with a cup of white vinegar and regular detergent and the smoke smell is gone.

  8. #8
    Super Member scrappy happy's Avatar
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    im wondering if u could put it in the dryer with fabric sheets and run it for awhile if that would get the smell out. but on the other hand i wonder if that would make the dryer smell smokie. maybe try it at the laundermat

  9. #9
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    That much fabric I'd be taking to the dry cleaner and making a deal with them to clean it...

  10. #10
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I would continue to store it sealed as you got it and just wash each piece as you're getting ready to use it. I can't say what works, but there are a lot of laundry products that advertise that they remove odors. Good luck.

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