removing febreze / smoke from non washable garments

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by Dusty Butterfly, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    I have several pieces that have an awful odor of febreze mixed with cigarette smoke. The person I bought them from pulled a fast one on me and somehow I didn't smell either smoke or febreze when I bought them, but once I got everything home and started hanging them up I began to get a headache, lump in my throat, watery eyes and worst of all I became so irritable that I just felt like trashing everything.

    I know febreze has endocrine disrupting ingredients, and some would argue carcinogens, so I know to avoid it personally but how do I deal with these clothes - most of which are not washable? I'm working with a super tight budget so I can't just throw them out...I need to sell them.

    I've tried airing them out in the sun, and that seemed to help at first but later the smell came back. Today I'm trying vodka on a couple of velvet maxi skirts, but so far the smell is just the same. My dry cleaners have ruined so many things in exchange for my hard earned money, that I'm afraid to drop anything off again, and I'm out of ideas. The smell is just sickening. I hate working with these pieces because they make me feel sick all day, I just want a solution... please help if you have any ideas!
  2. catseyevintage

    catseyevintage Trade Member

    Sometimes freezing helps remove odors - but it usually takes more than one three days in the freezer, three day off, then three days back in the freezer cycles. I've also heard using clean kitty litter can help but haven't tried that personally. There are many suggestions on the internet if you google how to remove cigarette smoke odor from clothes or fabrics.
    Dusty Butterfly likes this.
  3. MaryLC

    MaryLC Registered Guest

    I've had good luck with the freezer cycle as Debbie has described above and in-between I've put the clothes in a sealed bag with an open box of baking soda. I've never had good luck with vinegar. That's always made things smell worse to me.
    Dusty Butterfly likes this.
  4. bycinbyhand

    bycinbyhand Trade Member

  5. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Trade Member

    See if a dry-cleaner near you does ozone treatments. It's not too bad price wise and it's easy on the clothing. They just hang on hangers in a room for 3 days while they do the ozone treatment. It did wonders on some 1920s and 30s dresses I had that really smelled of must and perfume.
  6. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    Thanks all. I'm afraid my freezer is too small for all the stuff I have to deodorize it would take too long, so I'm still trying high proof vodka in direct sunlight (when I can get it), misting several times seems to help. I treated a few pieces yesterday & they do seem better. Fustians have it the worst, I guess the odors get trapped in the nap, & it just so happens I'm dealing with a lot of velvets & corduroy. Will report back.
  7. bycinbyhand

    bycinbyhand Trade Member

    You can also put in bag and hang outside in the cooler night air. I do that, using my back porch.
    Dusty Butterfly likes this.
  8. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    Thanks, I'll try that!
  9. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    Well I must say the vodka did remove the smoke odor! I ended up getting high 151 proof stuff, & it got rid of the febreze odor too, which was so appreciated. I treated many pieces of all different types of fabric and all were a success.

    I also have another batch of clothes that smell like incense, which the vodka didn't do much for. It's incredibly stubborn. I actually had them all hanging from a line on the porch, and some in direct sunlight all day. Most of them smelled normal by the end of the day, from a combo of direct sunlight, breeze, and high proof vodka, but the next day after I brought them inside the incense smell came back. I'm going to try the freezer on them one at a time, unless anyone has a better idea.
  10. northstarvintage

    northstarvintage Administrator Staff Member

    I'm glad the vodka worked for you! Have you tried Zero Odor? I have good luck with using that and hanging clothing in sunlight.

    Good luck with the incense!
  11. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I want to ask a question as a consumer of vintage. Do you, when selling, disclose all details of the "cleaning" process?
  12. bycinbyhand

    bycinbyhand Trade Member

    I do and I don't. It depends. Much of the time, I wash things in unscented soap so I wouldn't disclose. I may share conditions of the estate, to cover my ass and help people with scent sensitivities. Example, I got some sewing patterns that were found in an old barn on a dairy. I aired them out in the sun and they were ok but wasn't 100% sitting in a box in the USPS system wouldn't bring out the smell. So I disclosed where I found them and advised those with scent sensitivities maybe not purchase. Works out well and people appreciate the clarity.
    vintagebaubles and mags_rags like this.
  13. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    Update: I found that the only thing I tried so far that worked on incense is soaking in water/baking soda for long time, like 24-48 hours.

    Also need to contradict myself to say that Febreze does not come right out with vodka, soaking, baking soda, vinegar, direct sun or fresh air, it seems to hide out after I do a treatment making me think it's gone, and then it comes back later. I can't say enough bad things about this product but that's not the point of this post so suffice it to say it's literally sickening, vile stuff & I don't understand why anyone would use it.

    I think the only way to really get rid of the stubborn odors is time and repeated treatments using anything & everything possible, but unfortunately repeated treatments can compromise the piece of clothing.
  14. Dusty Butterfly

    Dusty Butterfly Registered Guest

    @northstarvintage Yes I have tried Zero Odor but I find it leaves a bleachy-bathroom-cleaner odor behind. So I'm not sure where the 'Zero' comes in.
    northstarvintage likes this.
  15. MaryLC

    MaryLC Registered Guest

    I have a smelly flower girl dress from the 50s in the freezer right now. My husband thinks I'm nuts.
  16. northstarvintage

    northstarvintage Administrator Staff Member

    Oof - sorry about that residual odor! I've never noticed it or had any complaints about it. Maybe because I spray it when the item is in sunlight? In any case, good luck! Please post if you find something that works.
  17. vintagebaubles

    vintagebaubles Administrator Staff Member

    I've never tried kitty litter on anything except handbags that have smelled musty or of cigarette smoke, but it works beautifully. I think if you put a dress in a mesh laundry bag (to keep too much litter from getting on it), then put that in a bag of kitty litter, it might work for most odors.
  18. The Vintage Stylist

    The Vintage Stylist Administrator Staff Member

    Cheap vodka - has worked for me every single time. I see it was mentioned above.

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