How to Remove Smoke Smell from Fabrics

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Tamera asked: How do I remove smoke smell from sleeping bags. We have brand new sleeping bags that we purchased at a yard sale. They smell like smoke. Please help.

Anything that comes from a smoking home leaves with the residual smoke smell. Whether it’s a strong smell or a light, lingering odor, smoke smells can quickly ruin the appeal of any piece. Here are some methods to remove the smoke smell and freshen up your fabric item.

Washable Fabrics

You Will Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Washing machine

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. If the item is washable, it is easiest to clean the smoke smell away in the washing machine.
  2. Fill the washing machine with water and add laundry detergent as normal.
  3. Add one cup of white vinegar to the washing water. Vinegar is slightly acidic and will break down the smoke and tar molecules that create the smell.
  4. Add the affected pieces and continue through a normal wash cycle.
  5. Once washed, do not worry if the pieces have a slight vinegar scent. It will dissipate quickly.

Non-Washable Fabrics

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Febreeze
  • Vacuum

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. If the item cannot be washed, it will require different cleaning methods. These methods are effective, but will take repeated applications and more time to produce the desired results.
  2. Baking soda is a well-known odor absorber that can effectively remove smoke smell.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the affected piece.
  4. Allow it to set for a day or two. This allows time for the baking soda to absorb the moisture that can lead to odors.
  5. Take the item outside and shake out the loose baking soda.
  6. If the item cannot be taken outside, vacuum the baking soda away.
  7. Repeat until the odor is removed.
  8. If the baking soda is not available, Febreeze can also be used to eliminate the odors. Spray the entire piece with Febreeze and allow it to air dry.
  9. After it dries, the smell should be removed, leaving a pleasant floral scent in it’s place.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the item is washable, it has been found useful to wash it using Tide with Febreeze.
  • If the item can be hung outside, the fresh air will remove the smell after several days. Simply allowing the fresh air to circulate through the piece will remove some of the smoke molecules.
  • There is a product called Odor Check by Watkins. This product is designed to remove smells and odors. It has been found to work well for removing smoke smells.
  • Choose your odor removal product carefully. If there is no chemicals in it, it will simply mask the odor with perfumes. In order to get rid of the smell with a spray, chemicals must be present to neutralize the odors.

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