How to Remove Smoke Smell from Non-Washable Items

bedroom

Betty asked: How do I remove smoke smell from a bedroom, feather boas, dream catchers, etc. I had a small fire in my bedroom from a heating pad that was left on. I can’t get the smell out of the bedroom or the box spring. I have several feather things and fur stuff. How can I clean this and get the smell out?

Smoke smell can be strong and difficult to remove when the items cannot be washed. In these cases, it may take more time, but there are other odor-absorbing methods that can be  used. Choose from the list below to find an option that works for you.

Fresh Air Method

You Will Need:

  • Clothes line or Drying rack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. When items cannot be washed or dry cleaned, sometimes the only way to remove the smell is to allow them to air out.
  2. Place a drying rack outdoors or near an open window. If possible, use a clothesline, but avoid leaving items in direct sunlight or they may fade.
  3. Hang the affected items on the rack and allow the fresh air to move through them.
  4. Leave them outside for several hours, repeat for several days if the smell persists.

Baking Soda Method

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Brown paper sack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. Baking soda absorbs unwanted odors well and can be used for items such as feather boas, stuffed animals, wigs, etc. that cannot be washed or cleaned with other methods.
  2. Place the item in a brown paper sack.
  3. Add baking soda to the bag.
  4. Close the bag by folding over the top.
  5. Shake the bag gently to move the baking soda around and cover all areas of the object.
  6. Allow the baking soda to set on the object for several hours.
  7. Take the bag outside and remove the item.
  8. Shake the item to remove the excess baking soda.
  9. Repeat as necessary until the smell is removed.

Coffee Grounds Method

You Will Need:

  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Brown paper sack

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. Place the smoky item inside of the brown paper sack.
  2. Add fresh coffee grounds to the bag.
  3. Close the bag and allow the coffee grounds to absorb the odors for several hours to overnight. It is not necessary to shake the coffee grounds around or place them directly on the item. As long as they are in the bag, they will absorb odors.
  4. Remove the item and shake off coffee grounds, if necessary.
  5. Repeat until the smell is removed.

Vinegar Method

You Will Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Steps to Remove the Smoke Smell:

  1. If the item can tolerate moisture, vinegar is a great odor-fighter.
  2. Fill a bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. For especially strong odors, straight vinegar can be used.
  3. Test a small, hidden area on the piece by spraying some of the vinegar onto it. Allow it to set for several hours. If there are no unwanted effects to the surface or color, it should be safe to apply the vinegar to the entire piece.
  4. Mist the piece lightly with the vinegar and water mixture.
  5. Allow it to air dry.
  6. There may be a slight vinegar smell which will dissipate in a few days.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the item can be dry cleaned, that may be a quick way to clean it and remove the smoke smell.
  • Depending on the severity of the smoke damage, it may take time and repeated applications to fully remove the smell from the item. As long as the item is not becoming damaged from the method, it is safe to repeat it multiple times.
  • For the most sensitive items, it is best to leave them outside, in the shade, on a breezy day. The air movement will flush the odor from the item.

Comments

  1. Brendan says:

    Thanks for the hints. I have lost count of the things I’ve tried on four jackets I have. They were stored for 31 days in Georgia, and some young boys decided to smoke in the storage room. Now I have the trouble of getting rid of the smell. The dry cleaners charged $73.20 to do “special” treatments but they should be arrested for robbery since I don’t think they did anything but take money. I am airing them out now.

  2. MJM says:

    A method I saw (but haven’t tried yet) on a Harley Davidson forum to remove really bad smoke from a jacket was to put about a dozen dryer sheets into the dryer with the jacket (or clothing item) and four or so tennis balls (not kidding). Turn it on, no heat, for about 45 minutes. Multiple people said it did wonders. I’m trying it on a jacket this weekend. Cross your fingers.

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