One of the characteristics of smoke is that it tends to cling to clothing. Whether this is a result of mundane situations such as cigarette smoke or an occasion that is more severe like a fire, smoke can be a serious problem. It is a situation that requires remedy because it can be a source of health issues such as allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. In addition this, it also makes the home lose some of its value because it becomes an unsuitable living environment. In gist, the smell of smoke in the fabrics can have both economic and health implications.
The good news is that there is no need to live with the smell of smoke in the property. The reason for this is that there are ways to eliminate the smell without eliminating the fabrics themselves. This is quite vital considering that it is quite impractical to buy a completely new wardrobe. For most people, it is also quite unthinkable to replace the upholstery or carpeting found in the home because of the cost. In addition to this, calling a professional may not always be the prudent thing to do. If the job can be done at home, then grab the opportunity to save some money and do the task of cleaning up the smoke smell yourself.
Before starting with any of the cleaning, it is important to recognize why fabrics are more susceptible to the smell of smoke. Knowing why this is the case can lead to the better understanding of the cleaning techniques, in the hope of their more efficient accomplishment. Keep in mind that fabrics are porous materials that make it easier for them to absorb the molecules of the smoke. The high propensity for absorption makes it difficult for cleaning to occur at the core lever. Thus, extra vigor is needed in order to get rid of the smoke smell.
Furthermore, there is a need to determine when exactly it is possible to conduct the cleanup of the smoke smell on your own and without the need to call a contractor. Do-it-yourselfers can practice their skills when the affected area does not occupy a large space and the smell of smoke is not severe. On the contrary, call a smoke damage cleaning company if the smell is too strong. This would mean that more sophisticated techniques such as the use of tents and oxygen are required to fully address the problem.
There are some universal principles that should be considered in cleaning out clothes from smoke. Keep in mind that when it comes to removing the smell of smoke, ventilation is your friend. No matter what the cleaning technique or product that is used, make sure that the garments get enough air so that the smell has the opportunity to dissipate. When cleaning the clothing to get rid of the smoke smell, keep in mind that fabrics are unlike hard surfaces that they can only take a certain amount of stress. If the washing is done to vigorously, then the fibers can break and result in a worn out appearance. To avoid this, make sure to treat the garments gently even when trying to wash out the smoke smell.
Assuming that the fabrics can be taken on by the homeowner, then there are some practical ways in which the smoke can be removed from them:
1. Wash and dry the fabrics thoroughly
Before trying any fancy cleaning methods, run the fabrics through the wash first. This is the easiest way to get rid of the smell. Even if it does not completely eliminate it, the washing can help in making it less strong. For the person doing the work, this means that significant progress has already been accomplished. The process of washing the fabric depends on the type of fabric it is. Cotton and wool can be washed in the machine while those of a more delicate make such as silk should be hand-washed. A good rule of thumb is to check the labels usually attached to the fabric and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. Usually, the smell of smoke can be the removed with the use of the simple combination of soap and water. It is not only the cheapest way to eliminate unwanted smells, but it is usually the most effective way to wash the fabrics.
2. Use vinegar to get rid of the smoke smell
One of the reasons why smoke lingers in clothing is that it is composed of leftover tar and resins, which can be quite sticky. Thus, an acidic substance, which has the ability to cut through the tar and resins, can be quite useful in getting rid of the smell of smoke. Although most people would protest that the smell of vinegar is even worse than smoke, keep in mind that vinegar is more easily removed. In addition to this, the vinegar can be diluted in the water before the clothing comes in contact with it. Pure vinegar is rarely used in the deodorizing of clothes. It is only for hard surfaces such as counters, floors, and walls that pure vinegar can be used to wipe off the smell of vinegar. To use this substance in the elimination of smells, soak the clothing in a water and vinegar solution and leave it undisturbed for about an hour. After which, wash the clothes with soap and water and enjoy a fresher smell.
3. Use commercial cleaners to wash the clothes
Commercially available chemicals which are formulated to get rid of the smoke smell can also be used to wash out the smell. To maintain the integrity of the fibers, make sure that you check the compatibility of the product before using it. For an extra kick, place some baking soda in the wash to help cleanse the fabrics even more. Just make sure that it is well diluted to prevent causing damage on the clothing. When drying the fabrics, air dry them instead of throwing them in the dryer. Allowing for extra ventilation can be quite helpful in getting rid of the smell.
Although there are plenty of products that claim to get rid of the smell of smoke in clothing, be wary of their use. There are some that generate a stronger smell that will eventually fade, only to reveal the smell of smoke again. Check the labels to ensure that they do not just work to mask the odor. One way of getting the best products is to use a product that actually has a cleaning agent. Otherwise, it is to be effective in removing the smell of smoke. One example of a chemical that should be looked for in the cleansing product is cyclodextrin, which has effective odor absorbing qualities.
4. Use ground coffee to absorb the odor
Although it may seem like an offbeat idea, ground coffee is an amazing way to get rid of the smoke smell in fabrics. To do this, take the freshly washed article of clothing and secure it using a hanger and then place a plastic garment bag over it. The next step is to take some freshly ground coffee beans and place them in a breathable container such as a pouch made out of cheesecloth and put it in the garment bag along with the clothing. Finally tape the bottom of the bag to ensure that it is sealed in tightly.
Do not disturb the garment for at least 24 hours. After which, open the bag from the bottom and carefully remove the container of ground coffee. You may be surprised at how much better the clothing smells because of the odor-absorbing properties of coffee. Do not be concerned if the smell of smoke is now replaced by the smell of coffee. The scent will quickly dissipate once the clothing has been allowed to air out.
5. Place chunks of charcoal around the closet
If the closets themselves smell of smoke, that poses an entirely different problem. After all, it is pointless to clean out the clothing if they will only be placed in storage that smells just as bad. For closets that have been affected by the smell of smoke, a good technique is to place some charcoal on the floor. Charcoal has long been used as a deodorizer by many cultures found around the world. It has the ability to absorb the molecules found in the air which allow the smell of smoke to linger. In addition to this, the presence of charcoal also lessens the humidity in closed spaces making the location smell less musty. Be careful when placing the charcoal in the closet because it can end up dirtying the clothes that were already washed. In fact, place them in a container to prevent them from spilling all over the place.
Getting rid of the smell of smoke in clothing can take a lot of work and a variety of techniques in order to meet a particular standard. However, the rewards can be just as great because it saves you from the trouble of having to throw out clothing and replacing them with new ones. Although the thought of having a new wardrobe may seem attractive, it is not always practical.