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Thread: Need advice for smelly fabric

  1. #1
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    Need advice for smelly fabric

    Hi - I was recently given two large boxes of assorted quilting fabric, lots of fat qtrs and some yardage. My problem is that the person who gave me the fabric is a former smoker and all the fabric reeks of cigarette smoke. I washed some of it and it still smells (I'm in the process of washing it a second time). Is there anything I can do to get rid of the smell? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    I just googled to find a solution and found easy one for you. It says to fill the washer as normal with the detergent then add a cup of white vinegar, then wash your fabric as usual. There might be a vinegar smell after the wash cicle but it says it will dissipate quickly.
    Good luck
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  3. #3
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    I had that smokey smell with some boxes of fabric I bought, I also washed twice with vinegar and I also dried with a odorless softener sheet. That seemed to get my problem solved.
    Have a great day sewing and remember to "not sweat the small stuff"!!



  4. #4
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    A healthy dose of white vinegar will work. The vinegar can also be used as a natural fabric softener. I put into a Downy ball, then into the wash. The smell will go away as clothes are in the dryer.
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  5. #5
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    Power Poster QM's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing this tip.

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    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    I have also had good luck with 20 Muleteam Borax--a powder found in the laundry aisle.
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    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I had good luck this week with doggie odor using Surf detergent. It should work for cigarette odor, too. I used Surf in the 80s to wash smelly football clothes and had forgotten about it until recently. I stopped the cycle and soaked the items a few minutes, then washed as usual.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to try the white vinegar.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Daffy Daphne's Avatar
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    There's also a liquid detergent called Sport Wash that's the best thing I've found for washing dog blankets and DH's sweaty smelling clothes, so it should be good for fabric that retains an odor. I think it was developed especially for hunting clothes (not sure about that), and I find it in the sporting goods section at WalMart.

  10. #10
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I use 20 Muleteam Borax all the time to freshen towels, and use less detergent too. It will remove the smoke smell usually. If it still smells smoky while wet, my advice would be not to dry it, just wash it again. Sometimes the heat from the dryer sets the smell, and makes it harder to remove.

    Quote Originally Posted by oksewglad View Post
    I have also had good luck with 20 Muleteam Borax--a powder found in the laundry aisle.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  11. #11
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I've used Borax and also a product called Odoban, which I love. I learned about it here. You can use it on everything, and it smells nice.

    You can learn more about it here:

    http://www.amazon.com/OdoBan-Odor-El...eywords=odoban

    I add some to the wash, and it definitely gets rid of smells.
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  12. #12
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parrynj View Post
    Hi - I was recently given two large boxes of assorted quilting fabric, lots of fat qtrs and some yardage. My problem is that the person who gave me the fabric is a former smoker and all the fabric reeks of cigarette smoke. I washed some of it and it still smells (I'm in the process of washing it a second time). Is there anything I can do to get rid of the smell? Thanks!
    soak in Oxy-clean for a hour or two, dump that water and make more. If you're not worried about bleeding, make a put it all in your bathtub, and soak an hour at a time then repeat. Let the water drain well before the next soaking. About the third time, add a bit of regular detergent.

    AND TURN THE BATHROOM FAN ON! You will smell the smoke as the fabric soaks. Oh, and you'll be amazed by the bright colors, too.
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    This worked for me for a smelly quilt. Cut a bar of plain old Dial soap (gold) in half. Wrap each half in a paper towel. Secure with rubber band around it. Place in a container like rubber maid with fabric. Might take a while-maybe 2-4 weeks. Check periodically to see if it's improved.
    Heartgirl

  14. #14
    Super Member Grandma58's Avatar
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    Vinegar and baking soda with a tad bit of downy in the rinse, I washed about 12 tons of smelly fabric that way and it all came out great. Well maybe not quite 12 tons but close.

  15. #15
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I use white vinegar or baking soda in the final rinse. Also, if you can, drying outside really does remove most smells.

  16. #16
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    Great suggestions - will have to keep this one in mind for future issues!

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