4 things you can do to purge the smell of smoke from clothes

4 things you can do to purge the smell of smoke from clothes

For non-smokers and smokers alike, the odour of cigarette smoke on clothes is gross. How can you get rid of it? Here are four things you can do that purge the smell.

4 things you can do to purge the smell of smoke from clothes
4 things you can do to purge the smell of smoke from clothes

Gone are the days of smoking inside public places. But the stench of cigarette smoke can still find its way into your clothes. Whether it’s a result of a visit to a smoker’s house or from clothes you acquired secondhand, if you don’t smoke you likely want to get rid of the smell fast.

  • This third-hand smoke, as it’s called, isn’t discussed as often as first- and second-hand smoke. But it is also dangerous, especially for babies and children.
  • The chemicals used in tobacco can get in our hair, skin and the fabrics we wear. It can also get into household dust, which is hazardous to everyone’s health.
  • Prolonged or repeated exposure results in the chemicals building up on fabrics over time. This can make it seemingly impossible to remove unwelcome smoke odours.

Removing the smell of smoke from clothes is not too difficult. Try out some of these techniques:

1. Air it out

If you have the time, let fresh air do the work. It’s among the simpler drying techniques, but there’s no denying it works!

  • Hang the item outside on a clothing line or drying rack. The breeze will do the rest.

2. Double deodorize

All it takes is two easy steps:

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the item to harness its all-natural cleaning powers.
  • Then let it sit in a well-ventilated area for a couple of days.

You can also use a freshening spray.

  • Toss woolens and other knits in the dryer on low or no heat along with a scented dryer sheet.
  • You may need to repeat a few times depending on the duration of exposure.

3. Wash it

Washing clothes with regular detergent may not fully remove smoke odours. To combat the stench:

  • Add a cup of distilled white vinegar or colour-safe oxygen bleach to your laundry detergent. Then, wash on the hottest water setting allowed according to the manufacturing care instructions. The vinegar will help neutralize offensive smoke smells.
  • For added cleaning power, sprinkle a quarter cup of baking soda directly on the clothes before washing.
  • Unfortunately the smell of smoke on clothes is stubborn, and depending on how sensitive your sense of smell is, you may need to wash it more than once. Take a whiff to check before throwing items in the dryer.

4. Steam it

For dry clean-only clothing, try using a garment steamer with a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water.

  • Other tricks include spraying the garment with a 50:50 solution of vodka and water. The alcohol will evaporate along with the smell.
  • If you want to remove old smoke smells from clothes hanging in small, confined areas like closets or boxes, set an open bowl of used, dried coffee grounds in with clothes for a few days. The coffee will absorb odours from the air.

You can always protect yourself from the effects of third-hand smoke by avoiding smoke altogether, if possible. You’ll also avoid the hassle of excessive cleaning. Above all else, remember your health and that of your family is always more important than your clothes.


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