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Thread: Where do I start to try to remove heavy odor of smoke????!!###

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    We are cleaning out the apartment of a family member who, along with her mother, were heavy smokers. Your suggestions would be appreciated.

    I asked for the quilt completed by my paternal grandmother prior to her death in 1951.

    It is composed of 4-inch finished patches of two squares of fabric with flannel as the batting. The edges of each patch are turned under and stitched down by hand. Then, the individual patches are sewn together by hand using a whipstitch.

    I need to get the smoke odor out and some of the off white fabric is a more loosely woven muslin. I know everything should be 100 percent cotton, but doubt that the flannel was preshrunk. Hopefully the cotton thread is still strong. Please help me..... Thanks, Kay Susan

  2. #2
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    Somebody suggested Febreeze in another thread.

  3. #3
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Soaking! You need to let the tar and resins from the smoke dissolve or else you'll just be disguising the odors.

    I'd let it soak overnight in shampoo to cut any greasy residue, then rinse well and wash gently. If possible, dry outside in the sun. Using a dryer will shrink muslin up for sure.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I would soak it in cold water and a mild soap (Synthrapol if you're not sure of colorfastness) in the washing machine. Just stop the machine before it gets to the agitate cycle. Push down by hand once in awhile to work the soapy water through the quilt. Drain and add new cold water and soap daily. Drain, add cold water, hand agitate, drain, add cold water, hand agitate to rinse. After the final rinse, I would "block" the entire quilt.

    If weather permits, you can block outside. Lay a large sheet on grass, lay the quilt on top of the sheet, and have a couple of people pull opposite corners to get the quilt straight in all directions. Lay another clean sheet on top and anchor the edges with stones. Allow to dry outside.

    If quilt still isn't quite squared after it's dry, you can bring it inside to a carpeted area, lay on top of a sheet, mist with water, straighten and pin it to the carpet to dry again.

    That's what I'd do because I think this is the safest way to clean the quilt. There probably won't be much shrinkage if you use cold water, and blocking while the quilt is still wet will also help. Even more than hot water, the heat of a dryer will shrink flannel quickly.

    Even with unshrunk flannel, a quilt will not shrink if it is closely machine quilted. That is another option if you could stand to machine quilt it while the odor is in the quilt. You could even use a machine basting stitch if you didn't want the machine quilting to be permanent. For machine basting, I would use a crosshatch pattern with lines every 2 inches in both directions.

  5. #5

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    I have rentals and when tenants move out that are heavy smokers I use vinegar and baking soda in water..............it gets the smell out totally. You'd never know smokers had lived there.

    I don't see why this combo wouldn't work on a quilt. It is all natural ingredients. Just letting it soak and use gental cycle on the machine should work.

  6. #6
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    someone suggested to me to put in plastic bag with dryer sheets? Didn't try it but if it can't be washed might work.

  7. #7

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    Soak in water with white vingegar.

  8. #8
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I use vinegar it seems to work well on oders.....Just putting it outside to air helps...its slow going but it does work after awhile...keep it in the shade

  9. #9
    Loose Threads's Avatar
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    I agree that vinegar gets out odors. Don't use Febreeze or fabric sheets as they will simply make it smell like something not natural. You want it sunshine fresh! Good luck.

  10. #10
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If you have things from her house that can not be washed you can seal them in a plastic bag with a bar of deodorant soap. It will take out the smoke smell without making the item smell like the soap. I know this works with Safeguard and Dial deodorant soaps. It generally takes about 2 weeks for the smoke smell to go away with this method.

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