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.

  3. Kristopher says:

    I have a special edition 1998 Furby that unfortunately smells of cigarette smoke. I had thought about using baking soda, but I thought it might make the fur crusty if I had to dampen the fur to get off all the baking soda. As it is a special edition, I really don’t want to have to take the fur off, although I will if it is absolutely necessary. That said, if anyone can tell me which method would probably be best for my specific condition, it would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Melanie says:

    Kristopher,
    You are correct that for faux fur items, baking soda will be difficult to remove from the fur because it is such a fine powder. However, you can use the baking soda or coffee grounds method without having them touch the fur; just use a plastic container or a box instead of a bag. Sprinkle the baking soda or coffee grounds on the bottom of the box, put a cookie sheet over the baking soda and put the Furby on the cookie rack. Close the box and leave the Furby in the box overnight or for several days.
    The fresh air method or vinegar method could work just as well also. However, some faux fur items can be damaged by water, so it is probably best to try the vinegar method last.
    Source: BookThink – How to Remove Odors from Books
    Source: HowToCleanStuff.net – How to Clean Faux Fur

  5. Xircal says:

    Great! Baking powder removed the odor left behind by dry cleaning my down-filled anorak, but now, how to I remove the baking powder? Even when using a vacuum cleaner to gently vacuum the material, a sizeable amount of residue remains.

  6. Judith says:

    I purchased a handmade wool knit cape from Europe. It reeks of cigarette smoke. How can I get rid of the odor?

  7. Melanie says:

    Judith,
    Select a method from the article, such as the Coffee Grounds Method, and follow the steps in that section to remove the smell. It may take several treatments of a method for the smell to be removed completely. If repeated treatments still have not removed the smell, try using one of the other methods.

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