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Thread: Quilt Cleaning Cigarette Smoke Odor -- NEED ADVICE!!!

  1. #1
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    Question Quilt Cleaning Cigarette Smoke Odor -- NEED ADVICE!!!

    My mother gave me a hand-made quilt 15 years ago. It has been stored in plastic and is in excellent condition except that it has a heavy nicotine/cigarette smell.

    I need to decide between airing it out, machine washing cold on delicate cycle, hand washing in cold water with mild detergent and then laying it out on towels or blankets, or taking it to a dry cleaner.

    I'm afraid to lay it out in the sun in case that might damage it. And I do not know if dry cleaners would care for it properly or be able to get the smell out.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Use your regular detergent and wash it on delicate. Turn the washer off and let it soak for a while before it agitates. You may want drain off that water and wash it in fresh water if the smell is really bad. I'd be careful of too many additives, though some white vinegar might be okay. I would spin it on normal to remove as much water as possible, then dry it in the dryer until damp, then lay it out. I wash a 50 year old quilt totally handmade that way.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    is it too fragile to wash?
    i would wash it in the washer- with detergent and white vinegar-
    if you want to dry it laying flat---fresh air would not hurt! one of the recommended ways it to lay out a sheet on the lawn- place the quilt on the sheet-then place another sheet over the top of it- to protect it from birds ect
    after a while go out & check it- turn it over-
    i actually use my hammock= which is a large double one- that way the air flows under & over it- but laying on the lawn- or deck= what ever is doable too- the fresh air certainly makes them nice
    vinegar is good for removing odors & softening- mild detergent to help remove the (oily nicotine residue) in the fibers. it is generally not recommended to dry clean them- and often if you take them to a cleaners they do not dry clean them-since they are cotton- they toss them into a large industrial washer- then a dryer- and charge you for cleaning.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    You can cover up the odor but it will never leave the fabric. It will get less noticeable if aired for a long time hanging outside so the wind can go through it.
    Got fabric?

  5. #5
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    This is interesting. I read just about an hour ago in our local newspaper a tip for removing smoke/nicotine smell from clothing. Perhaps it may be of help for you. It said to hang the garments in the bathroom, fill the tub with hot water, add a cup of white vinigar, close the door and leave over night. I have no idea if this works, but may be worth a try. I have always heard it is best to not send quilts to dry cleaners. Good luck with what ever you do.

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    Try using vanilla in the wash water, we had a house fire and I used some of the Mexican vanilla and it removed the order from our clothes, bedding and etc. It didn't hurt anything either.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Vanilla may work. I know if you add vanilla to paint the paint smell isn't very strong while you are painting.
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  8. #8
    Junior Member Christine George's Avatar
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    Soaking in OxyClean works too.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I would not send it to the cleaners. You will problably be more gentle with it then they are. I would soak in the washer , hopefully you have a regular not high efficency machine. Use the soak cycle with baking soda( a whole box ), and about 1 cup white vinegar and about 1/4 cup of gentle laundry soap. Use alot of water , filling the machine as high as you can. Let it soak over night, then start the gentle cycle. You may want to do this twice . If you can still detect odor after the first try.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BSKTLOFR-QUILTER's Avatar
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    I use to sell Longaberger baskets. We (consultants) were advised when we ran across this problem to hang the item in a garage or outside enclosed area such as a shed for a couple of weeks where the air can circulate to remove the odor. I would start there first, and then use one of the above suggestions or a combination of them. You may need to be persistant and do several gentle treatments before it all comes out. Good luck.

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    I would try airing it for a while first. In the garage if you have a nice one. If not you could put it out on the clothesline on a nice day and if you are worried about the sun, put a clean white sheet over it.

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    I wonder if Simple Green would work. I know it works on getting skunk smell off dogs and coats,and it can't be any more harsh than oxyclean or vinegar. It usually takes two washings to get the smell out. Good luck and let us know what does work for you. There is nothing worse than cigerette smoke, except maybe skunk smell. LOL

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    If nothing suggested here on the Board helps, have you thought about contacting Servicemaster? A phone call may put you in touch with a product and/or procedure that is delicate enough for your quilt. Servicemaster has disaster restoration services for fires, etc. Maybe they could suggest something. Good luck. For me, there isn't much worse than cigarette smoke in fabrics. I can't be anywhere near anything that has cigarette smoke on it. Need an inhaler pronto.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dandish's Avatar
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    I've found that a trip through the washing machine with your regular detergent usually does the trick very nicely. Alos, Febreze has a laundy additive - I've not used it on a quilt - but it gets the stink out of men's work and boy's gym socks very well. LOL. You don't add much so I wouldn't be too worried about it hurting the quilt - maybe an extra rinse if you are.

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    I had a brilliant tip from a fellow quilter. I smoked until recently, and all my quilts stank!!! Add Bi-Carb Soda to the wash, it really does get rid of the odour. Otherwise follow the tip below that I replied on Good Luck


    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose View Post
    Use your regular detergent and wash it on delicate. Turn the washer off and let it soak for a while before it agitates. You may want drain off that water and wash it in fresh water if the smell is really bad. I'd be careful of too many additives, though some white vinegar might be okay. I would spin it on normal to remove as much water as possible, then dry it in the dryer until damp, then lay it out. I wash a 50 year old quilt totally handmade that way.
    Heather
    In Queensland, Australia

  16. #16
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
    My mother gave me a hand-made quilt 15 years ago. It has been stored in plastic and is in excellent condition except that it has a heavy nicotine/cigarette smell.

    I need to decide between airing it out, machine washing cold on delicate cycle, hand washing in cold water with mild detergent and then laying it out on towels or blankets, or taking it to a dry cleaner.

    I'm afraid to lay it out in the sun in case that might damage it. And I do not know if dry cleaners would care for it properly or be able to get the smell out.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or help you can offer.
    The absolutely simplest solution is go buy a couple of bars of deodorant soap, either Dial or Safeguard work. Unwrap and stick in the bag with the quilt. Leave it for a month or so and the odor will be gone.

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    Hotels use dryer sheets in a/c to remove smell. Use 6 or 7 dryer sheets I would try putting the quilt in dryer on low setting and tumble for a 1/2 hour and see what happens.

  18. #18
    Junior Member hybearn8er's Avatar
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    I would wash it with my regular detergent and 20 mule team borax. I use borax all the time for smells in the laundry.

  19. #19
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Sometimes you have to run it through the washer 3 times to get the smell out. Use downy and bounce.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  20. #20
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    It definitely needs to be washed. I don't think airing is enough. Anytime I have washed fabrics that smelled of smoke, the water turned brown. That stuff needs to removed from the fibers.

  21. #21
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Ammonia removes all odors from washable fabrics without damaging colors or textiles. It's especially good for oily stains - cigarette smoke has a lot of oily stuff in it, and that's what makes it so difficult to remove.

    Ammonia stinks to high heaven when you first start the washer, but after the rinse cycle, your clothes smell nothing but clean and fresh.

    When the house was full of teenagers, about once a month I'd add a half-cup or a cup to every load I did - strips out soap residue, smells, stains and brightens colors.

    It also removes pet odors, and I used to use nothing but ammonia and water in the steam cleaner when I cleaned the carpets.

  22. #22
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    off topic but a professional carpet cleaning company came to clean the church banquet hall and they used rubbing alcohol instead of water in their carpet cleaning machine. The man said it evaporated fast and left the carpet dry in no time.
    Got fabric?

  23. #23
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    Good advice from Irishrose. That's what I have done.

  24. #24
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    Odoban works! I have a quilt in baby girls bed that was made in the late 1800's. When she wets through her diaper I add Odoban to the wash. I get it at Sam's.

  25. #25
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    I've used Nok-Out to get rid of odors. It works great and is non toxic.

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