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Thread: Smoke smell in quilts- help please!

  1. #1
    Cyn
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    I know the best way to keep smoke smell out of your quilts is to Not Smoke but if it's in there already- How do you get it out for good? Do you have to wash them? hang them outside? Is there a better way besides avoiding the smoke altogehter? Does the stuff called febreeze work? Some should not be washed and it's getting pretty chilly to hang outside right now so any help would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    if you can't wash them, which would be best, I'd say hang them outside and spray well with Fabreeze. They need the fresh air and of course you want to be sure the spray is dry before you fold or put away.

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    I bought a rag quilt from a friend, and it had the smoke smell so bad. I washed 3 times and used downey fabric softener--- and layed out to dry. It finally smelled normal.

  4. #4
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Why can't they be washed??? Are you talking about silks etc??
    I wash all of my quilts and hang them out to dry. I've bought some vintage quilts that smell funky and they clean beautifully. If I can't hang them I dry in very low heat (dryer)
    Some get a good soak first and then wash.
    I've never had a problem.
    I'm talking about cotton here not silk or wool etc.
    Let me know if I can help you!!

    I really don't think products like Febreeze are good for quilts.
    Just my opinion.

    If I had one with fabric that you can't wash I would take it to a professional cleaner.
    Also if they are fragile quilts I soak them only, wring out gently and dry either on the line or in the house.
    Hope this helps

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    Cyn
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    They are cotton but I'm not sure how well they are made. Thanks for the help. I'm going to begin with one and see how it handles in the washer on gentle.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    To get rid of smoke smell, use white vinegar. Add it to your rinse water, whether you wash it by machine, or ??? I put stuff into the dryer for a short bit, and they smell so clean! The vinegar smell disappears, but it also acts as a fabric softener. I usually use a downy ball with an inch of vinegar in it. Helps break down soap scum too!

  7. #7
    Super Member alaskasunshine's Avatar
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    This is a tough one! I was in a block swap and I got several blocks that smelled from cigarette smoke. I hung them out doors in the wind. Did that day n night for several days. Then I hung them in our garage and that was horrible. When the heater came on it filled my house with that smell. But it finally worked. I was not able to throw the blocks into the washer or it would all unravel.My parents both used to smoke. I never did. I am super sensitive to the smell. I hope you find a solution. Please let us know what works for you!

  8. #8
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i wash my wool quilts in the washing machine too...they come out beautifully! i made one quilt with specialty fabrics, silks, velvets ect...that one went through the wash too...came out fine. using baking soda in the wash will get rid of odors.

  9. #9
    Super Member Margie's Avatar
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    I find baking soda in the wash really deodorizes the clothing, so it should work on quilts too.

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    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn
    I know the best way to keep smoke smell out of your quilts is to Not Smoke but if it's in there already- How do you get it out for good? Do you have to wash them? hang them outside? Is there a better way besides avoiding the smoke altogehter? Does the stuff called febreeze work? Some should not be washed and it's getting pretty chilly to hang outside right now so any help would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks!
    The biggest problem is that if there is a smoke smell then there is also smoke residue (the tar) in the fabric Having lived with smokers all my young life, and cleaning out my mother's house after she died, I know about this topic. You really need to wash everything that smells of smoke. Some of the fabric of my mother's I just ended up throwing it out because I couldn't get rid of the smell after several washings with various additives. Even bed sheets smelled; tablecloths, magazines everything. I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke, makes my throat close up. Good luck trying.

  11. #11
    cosyquilter's Avatar
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    Do you have lawn you can lay it out on? leave it on the grass ovrnight, don't pick it up until the dew dries off. Amazing how quickly the smells leave. Even if its cold out. Ditto for baking soda in the washer.

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    I used a powdered laundry detergent- Purex with fabreeze. Found it at Walmart. It comes in a box like detergents all used to. It worked on my DIL's clothes when she smoked.

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    Super Member Snorky Lvs2Quilt's Avatar
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    Had a friend who made my son a surfing themed quilt when he was going off to college. When she sent it to me, I could smell the smoke even before I opened the box....onced opened WHEW!! I hung the quilt outside for several days in a row and all the smoke smell went away. I did not spray it with anything, but that sounds like a good idea to do also. Good luck.

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    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn
    I know the best way to keep smoke smell out of your quilts is to Not Smoke but if it's in there already- How do you get it out for good? Do you have to wash them? hang them outside? Is there a better way besides avoiding the smoke altogehter? Does the stuff called febreeze work? Some should not be washed and it's getting pretty chilly to hang outside right now so any help would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks!
    A good soak in Oxy-clean (or the cheaper generic) will remove any smoke its grabbed on to and will remove the smell. Make a bath plenty big enough to hold the quilts. Use plenty of Oxy-clean. Squish up and down and let soak for a good while. Follow up with a light wash in your favorite detergent. If the water turns yellow, you're getting rid of smoke residue too.

    I got a lot of fabric from a smoker-------I've used this for fabric cuts, too.

  15. #15
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    I used Fabreeze. I love the results and the smell. I sure didn't want to wash it before it was ever on the bd.

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    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    If you are worried that the action of the washing machine is too much, I will 'wash' them in the bathtub. My mom and I used to do this alot with the quilts/fabrics/linens that she picked up at auctions. We used Orvus and tepid water. We would submerse them in the water, swoosh them around gently by hand, drain the tub, gently squeeze, fill tub to rinse (sometimes they needed to be rinsed several times) and then lay in the yard on top of a clean sheet and a clean sheet on top of it. If it was especially old or delicate, we would suspend a tarp about afoot over the quilt to completely block out the sun. We have only had one not survive - that was a velvet and satin crazy quilt that the dealer had 'thrown in' to the batch that we had bought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannieAnnie
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn
    I know the best way to keep smoke smell out of your quilts is to Not Smoke but if it's in there already- How do you get it out for good? Do you have to wash them? hang them outside? Is there a better way besides avoiding the smoke altogehter? Does the stuff called febreeze work? Some should not be washed and it's getting pretty chilly to hang outside right now so any help would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks!
    A good soak in Oxy-clean (or the cheaper generic) will remove any smoke its grabbed on to and will remove the smell. Make a bath plenty big enough to hold the quilts. Use plenty of Oxy-clean. Squish up and down and let soak for a good while. Follow up with a light wash in your favorite detergent. If the water turns yellow, you're getting rid of smoke residue too.

    I got a lot of fabric from a smoker-------I've used this for fabric cuts, too.
    dito

  18. #18
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have no idea. I smoke but not in my house. I stopped that years ago.

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    Here's what I do: take a large garbage bag and put a bag of kitty litter (the cheap, clay kind with nothing added) inside. Open up the kitty litter bag and then lay a piece of sheeting or something else you don't care about on top. Then lay your quilt, folded over the fabric. Be careful not to get any kitty litter dust on it. Close the bag tightly and let sit for a couple of weeks. You should find the clay absorbs the smell.

  20. #20
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingleberry
    I have no idea. I smoke but not in my house. I stopped that years ago.
    But the smoke is on your clothes, unless you change everything before you walk into the house. Ask anyone who is a nonsmoker, they will still smell smoke in your house. My husband smoked (sneakily for a while) only at work and in his car. One time he put his jacket in the hall closet; I opened the door and could smell the smoke. He stopped smoking completely after that; still died of lung cancer 14 years after he stopped smoking.

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    Baking soda may help in the wash water and vinegar
    in the rinse water.

  22. #22
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    Kitty litter will get the smell out of most anything. I use it for musty smells. Put your quilt in a box or suitcase, with some kitty litter for a few days. I would put the litter in a cloth bag or lay it on a paper towel on top of the quilt.

  23. #23
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn
    They are cotton but I'm not sure how well they are made. Thanks for the help. I'm going to begin with one and see how it handles in the washer on gentle.
    Be very careful taking them out of the washer. They will be heavy and this is when the stitches are very vulnerable!

  24. #24
    Super Member Teresa 54's Avatar
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    I use white vinigar and baking soda in the wash, did it 3 time, the smell was out. I also use this to unclog my toilets, sinks and tub!

  25. #25
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I know what you mean...I have gotten some things in swaps, etc. that smelled of smoke. I quit about 3 yrs. ago and I'm very sensitive to the smell. I had to immediately take the offenders outside...I hung them inside my storage building (so they wouldn't be out in the weather)..dowsed them with Fabreeze and left them for several weeks. I couldn't bring them in to work on them even...so after a few weeks...finally the smell would go away..but its a tough one...good luck!

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