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How Do You Get That Nasty Cigarette Smoke Smell Out Of Uniforms?


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#1 AirMechanic

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:13 PM

Is there a way to remove cigarette smoke smell from uniforms without washing them? Dry cleaning may remove the smell, but is there some kind of home remedy?

#2 Jonesy

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 10:01 PM

I use fabreeze, seems to work fine for me.

#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:00 AM

I use fabreeze, seems to work fine for me.


agree

#4 Jeff Ashenfelter

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 05:32 AM

Another trick is to put the uniform on a nice wood hanger and attach one of those dryer sheets to the hanger and put a dry cleaning plastic cover over the uniform. This seems to take the smoke smell away after awhile.
I use this same process for storing my berets. I put them in a gallon freezer zip lok bag and place a small section of dryer sheet inside. This also kills any moth eggs that may be present. Jeff

#5 37thguy

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:17 AM

I prefer Dry cleaning. It was done back then, should be good enough now. Probably needs it anyway! :thumbsup:

#6 shrapneldude

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:40 PM

I prefer Dry cleaning. It was done back then, should be good enough now. Probably needs it anyway! :thumbsup:


Just gotta be sure which chemical solutions they use at the dry cleaners. Some of them will cause the uniforms to react under blacklight, which will cause problems when you go to sell the uniforms.

All in all, febreeze seems to work best and easiest. But I never tried the dryer sheet trick there.

#7 keith d

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 03:55 PM

The dryer sheet trick works for me but I use a different method. Take the uniform and 3-4 dryer sheets, place all in a trash bag, tie the top in a knot and check every few days. Be sure to place a few sheets on the bottom of the bag, the uniform and then a few more sheets. This way everything is covered. You will have to change the dryer sheets every few days until the smell is gone. Good Luck.

#8 Steve B.

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:07 PM

I hang them up outside or in the garage and leave them for as long as it takes. It's best outside, in the shade, and under some sort of cover.

#9 Yancy Irwin

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 04:10 PM

i thought about febreeze before but ive never liked the idea of putting chemicals on my uniforms,thats why i also hesitate to dry clean them but man when i open my uniform closet door in my war room it smells like 65 year old B.O /cigarette smoke and some are just plain musty from bad storage over the years,i took the worst offender and tried the dryer sheet trick today,ill see what happens

#10 37thguy

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 04:50 PM

Just gotta be sure which chemical solutions they use at the dry cleaners. Some of them will cause the uniforms to react under blacklight, which will cause problems when you go to sell the uniforms.

All in all, febreeze seems to work best and easiest. But I never tried the dryer sheet trick there.


I've used the same cleaner for over 20 years and have never had a problem. Also I think way to much stock is put into the whole "Blacklight" thing :thumbdown:

#11 OD MAN

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 05:02 PM

I have a couple WWII wool items that I can't even keep in my room because of how bad they smell. I put one outside for almost a week and there was no change. :wacko:

#12 shrapneldude

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 06:22 PM

I've used the same cleaner for over 20 years and have never had a problem. Also I think way to much stock is put into the whole "Blacklight" thing :thumbdown:


Maybe so, but I've seen $2,000+ Pieces sell for less than half because they'd been chemically treated and lit up under a blacklight. They were all good, geniune honest pieces, but...they came out looking "messed with"

#13 37thguy

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 06:29 PM

Maybe so, but I've seen $2,000+ Pieces sell for less than half because they'd been chemically treated and lit up under a blacklight. They were all good, geniune honest pieces, but...they came out looking "messed with"


No offense meant, but I think that if you use the "Blacklight" trick as your only guide then you'll be missing out on a lot of genuine stuff out there.

What happens when I buy a grouping direct from the vets daughter and her Dad had it dry cleaned to keep it nice? Should I automatically SH*TCAN it because it "GLOWS"? :blink:

You gotta use your head and put together all the facts with this stuff. :thumbsup:

#14 Shenkursk

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 07:33 PM

Every once in a while we purchase collections that come from the homes of heavy smokers. One memorable collection of doughboy uniforms was so overwhelming that we had to leave them hanging in our workshop for the better part of two years before they had 'offgassed' enough to be brought into the office and even start the process of description, photo, sale, etc. Drycleaning is a good option, but as previously stated caution must be exercised, and a thorough conversation with your cleaner is in order before going down this path. The biggest hazard is to fragile insignia (bullion, etc.)

We have many friends who are smokers, and I have no desire to offend them. However - when the time comes to sell the collection, they should be aware that for the buyer extra time and expense is involved if the cloth items have been sitting around in a smoke-filled environment. That extra time and expense has to be factored into the transaction. (i.e. the buyer pays less than he would have otherwise)

Now for the good news - the nicotine in tobacco is actually a low-grade insect repellent. Many years ago the Tennessee Valley Authority was working on a research project to explore the viability of tobacco as a primary ingredient in insecticides and repellents.

#15 shrapneldude

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:07 AM

No offense meant, but I think that if you use the "Blacklight" trick as your only guide then you'll be missing out on a lot of genuine stuff out there.

What happens when I buy a grouping direct from the vets daughter and her Dad had it dry cleaned to keep it nice? Should I automatically SH*TCAN it because it "GLOWS"? :blink:

You gotta use your head and put together all the facts with this stuff. :thumbsup:


For the purposes of this particular discussion...why would a collector purposely, knowingly do this to what he knows to be good stuff? :thumbdown:

No, you shouldn't "sh*tcan" good stuff because it glows, but when you're giving out intel to other collectors on how to care for items in their collection that they may well have paid top dollar for and may at some point in the future decide to sell or trade off, or even have sold after their death, I feel it's important to keep in mind there are some things that collectors do to their items that devalue their collections in the name of "preserving" the items.

I'm not trying to start an argument with you here -- obviously you think blacklighting is junk science, and I partly agree with you as I've seen it in action for the uninformed or overly cautious to use it as an iron-clad litmus test of fake vs. original. That said, I STILL think it's a bad idea to write it off entirely because "people put too much stock in it." From my own personal experience, I can say for certain, regardless of whether it's right or wrong, when a collector chemically treats his items in such a way that they react under a blacklight, it devalues the item.

#16 fraukriegbaum

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:45 AM

I use Downy sheets or bar of soap (still in the box) and put it in the corners of the storage box so as not to have direct contact with the uniforms, and it works.

I also tried to use the garbage bag with vanilla smell (Glad).... after some days, the uniform smells fine.


Frau Kriegbaum

#17 37thguy

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 07:10 PM

For the purposes of this particular discussion...why would a collector purposely, knowingly do this to what he knows to be good stuff? :thumbdown:

No, you shouldn't "sh*tcan" good stuff because it glows, but when you're giving out intel to other collectors on how to care for items in their collection that they may well have paid top dollar for and may at some point in the future decide to sell or trade off, or even have sold after their death, I feel it's important to keep in mind there are some things that collectors do to their items that devalue their collections in the name of "preserving" the items.

I'm not trying to start an argument with you here -- obviously you think blacklighting is junk science, and I partly agree with you as I've seen it in action for the uninformed or overly cautious to use it as an iron-clad litmus test of fake vs. original. That said, I STILL think it's a bad idea to write it off entirely because "people put too much stock in it." From my own personal experience, I can say for certain, regardless of whether it's right or wrong, when a collector chemically treats his items in such a way that they react under a blacklight, it devalues the item.






We dis-agree Dan, let's leave it there ;)

#18 M1Marksman

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 01:43 PM

I've bought a few patches that had cigarette stank on them, so (good or bad) I sprayed the backs with Lysol. I prefer "parchment". No more stank.

#19 Dogtown

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:58 AM

Every once in a while we purchase collections that come from the homes of heavy smokers. One memorable collection of doughboy uniforms was so overwhelming that we had to leave them hanging in our workshop for the better part of two years before they had 'offgassed' enough to be brought into the office and even start the process of description, photo, sale, etc. Drycleaning is a good option, but as previously stated caution must be exercised, and a thorough conversation with your cleaner is in order before going down this path. The biggest hazard is to fragile insignia (bullion, etc.)

We have many friends who are smokers, and I have no desire to offend them. However - when the time comes to sell the collection, they should be aware that for the buyer extra time and expense is involved if the cloth items have been sitting around in a smoke-filled environment. That extra time and expense has to be factored into the transaction. (i.e. the buyer pays less than he would have otherwise)

Now for the good news - the nicotine in tobacco is actually a low-grade insect repellent. Many years ago the Tennessee Valley Authority was working on a research project to explore the viability of tobacco as a primary ingredient in insecticides and repellents.



Funny you mention this... any item that I've owned with heavy smoke residue has never had mothing or tracking. Maybe I've been lucky?

However, I've hung them in the garage for the better part of a 6 months - which seems to do the trick.

#20 Steindaddie

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 10:56 AM

I get patches that reek badly of cigarette smoke and I wash them in small bowl of club soda with a generous pour of vodka. Rinse in water and the patch is then odorless. The patches have to be pretty darn smoky though because I have a hard time reconciling the loss of vodka. I suppose if I were a real he-man patch collector (or desperate) I'd drink the booze afterwards.

~Will

PS. At least use cheap vodka!

#21 man860

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:51 PM

I use nicotine patches to get the smoke out! :P

#22 Sgt Brown

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 06:41 PM

Call your local drycleaner and ask if he either does it himself or has a contractor that does fire restoration. They use an ozone chamber to "nuke" smoke odors out of garments. Also works for BO. And, no chemicals involved.

Tom :thumbsup:

#23 Bluehawk

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 07:15 PM

It's been said a number of times already, but Mrs. Bluehawk (domestic engineering senior chief master sergeant) also said the sealed bag and a couple of fabric softener sheets in there for a week would work.

Edited by Bluehawk, 22 November 2009 - 07:15 PM.


#24 Shenkursk

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 08:14 PM

Call your local drycleaner and ask if he either does it himself or has a contractor that does fire restoration. They use an ozone chamber to "nuke" smoke odors out of garments. Also works for BO. And, no chemicals involved.

Tom :thumbsup:


Tom, that's a rather interesting idea. I will investigate next time the opportunity arises. Thanks for the tip!!

#25 Sgt Brown

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:26 AM

As I mentioned, it also works for BO. I had an officer's tunic that absolutely REEKED, even after drycleaning. My drycleaner then put it into an ozone chamber over night and, bingo, no more BO.

When I bought this house, it smelled like an ashtray. The previous owner would slide her oxygen mask aside to take another drag. The house had sat for sale and empty for a year because no one could stand it. I bought it for an excellent price then called a fire restoration service. They put an ozone generator in the house and sealed it up for three days. That was four years ago and still not the slightest smell of cigarettes.

Ozone works great. However, one thing you do have to watch is it may effect some plastics. Fine for your wools and cottons but might effect your polyesters, etc. Ask your drycleaner.

Tom


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