Friday, April 8, 2011

Frugal Friday: Removing Cigarette Odors from Clothing

Waiting patiently for fresh, clean smelling clothes!
I am eternally grateful to the people who have given Trey clothing, both new and used, over the first year of his life.  Their generosity helps make it possible for me to be a SAHM. 

That being said, sometimes we do receive gifts of clothing that present a problem: they smell heavily of cigarette smoke.  Not only is the odor unpleasant, but the fumes may actually be harmful.  As long as the smoky smell lingers, the clothing may contain toxins which are unhealthy for Trey to breathe. 

Fortunately, I've become a pro at removing the odor of cigarette smoke from clothing, which means others' generous gifts never go to waste.  The process is somewhat time consuming, but quite simple, and not at all expensive.  Once you've mastered it, you too will be able to accept gifts of clothing from even your smokiest friends. 
Air the clothes out.  Fabric smells more strongly of cigarette smoke when it's been sitting in a box or bag.  Hang affected items in an airy room, or even outside, for a few days.  Spray them intermittently with a fabric refresher, if you have it.  Make sure the items are spaced far apart, so they have plenty of room to breathe.

Wash them in vinegar and hot water.  I use my washing machine's "super" setting, but you can use a gentler cycle if you're concerned about delicate fabrics.  Just be sure to use plenty of vinegar, in place of detergent.  It kills any odor causing bacteria, which may contain toxins.  I usually do two or three vinegar washes, or more as needed (especially for dark fabrics, which retain smells longer).

Follow up with two or three regular washes.  After the clothes have been washed in vinegar several times, run them through at least two laundry cycles, using baby-safe detergent (Dreft, Seventh Generation, etc).  This removes any last traces of vinegar from the clothes, leaving them fresh and clean.
And that's all there is to it - a simple, easy, effective way to restore smelly clothes to "like-new" condition.  You'll never again have to turn down a bag of free baby clothes from a well-meaning smoker.

For more money-saving tips, visit Life as Mom.  Have a great weekend!    

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