How to Get Smoke Damage Out of Clothes

By: Annabel Love
13 minute read

How to Get Smoke Damage Out of Clothes

If you've ever dealt with smoke damage, you'll know just how hard it is to remove the smell from your clothing. Smoke damage occurs when fire penetrates fabrics, causing tiny holes where the smoke particles enter the fiber. These particles are invisible, but they can cause discoloration and mildew over time if left untreated. Fortunately, there are some easy ways how to get smoke damage out of clothes and get rid of smoke odor without having to throw everything out. Read on to learn about these easy steps.

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1. Use soap and water.

This method is probably the easiest way to clean up smoke stains. Simply use warm water mixed with mild detergents like Dawn or Ivory Snow. Soak your garment in the solution overnight. Then rinse thoroughly. If you don't want to soak your item, you can still use cold water and detergent. Just make sure you wash the item quickly because the heat generated by the laundry machine will dry out the fabric.

2. Bleach.

Bleach is another popular choice for getting the smell of smoke out and cleaning smoke-damaged items. This method is effective for light stains, such as coffee or tea. To use bleach, mix equal parts white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together. Add 5 drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to each cup of mixture. Pour onto the stain and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and repeat the process once more.

3. Vinegar.

A cup of vinegar is great for removing the strong smell of smoke. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and apply directly to the stained area. Let stand for 10 minutes, then rinse away. Repeat the process several times until the odor disappears.

Can you save smoke-damaged clothes?

Smoke damage is one of those things we don't think about much until it happens. But it's actually pretty common -- especially in homes where there's been a fire. And while some people might just throw away their clothes, there are plenty of ways to save them. Here are three tips to keep in mind...

If you want to repair smoke-damaged clothes, follow these steps.

Smoke damage happens when the fire spreads near clothing items. This type of damage usually occurs during house fires, car accidents, explosions, etc. Smoke damage can cause discoloration, fading, shrinkage, mildew, odor, and even holes.

The best way to deal with smoke damage is to separate non-burned clothes from burned ones. Non-burned clothes are those that don't contain fire damage. These include shirts, pants, jackets, etc. Burned clothes are those that have been exposed to flames. They include sweaters, dresses, undergarments, etc.

Organize salvageable clothes based on the severity of the damage. For example, you could keep light-colored clothes together, dark-colored clothes together, and so on. You could also organize clothes according to color. Light colors go together, while darker colors do too.

Cover clothes with plastic sheets to prevent the growth of mold. Mold grows quickly in humid conditions. If you're unsure whether or not your clothes are affected by smoke damage, it's better to cover them up with plastic sheets to avoid having to clean out the area later.

Soot removal

Soap and water alone won't do it. So what does? A lot of people use vinegar and baking soda, but you don't want to mix those together because they react violently. You'll end up with a chemical reaction that could damage your machine. Instead, try one of these methods.

1. Vinegar + Baking Soda Cleaning Solution

Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda. Use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to stains. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then wash as usual.

2. Vinegar + Water + Baking Soda Cleanser

Mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and baking soda. Add enough water to make a paste, and let dry overnight. Apply to stains, let set for 5–10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

3. Lemon Juice + Salt + Warm Water Stain Remover

Squeeze lemon juice over stains. Sprinkle salt on top and wait 20 minutes. Rinse well, and repeat if necessary.

Getting rid of smoke odors

Smoke smells are unpleasant, no matter how you try to hide them. But the best way to eliminate the odor is to get rid of the smoke itself.

The first thing to do is to open windows and doors and let air flow freely throughout the house. This will help clear the air and allow the smoke to dissipate naturally. If there are still strong fumes, fans can be used to circulate the air. Fans work well because they pull air into the room and push it outside again, thus creating constant circulation.

If the smell persists, it might be necessary to use a deodorizer. A few drops of essential oil added to a spray bottle can help neutralize the scent. You can even add some baking soda to make sure the smell doesn't return.

Sort Out the Fabrics

When you're cleaning up your closet, it's important to separate damaged or unsalvageable items from salvageable ones.  When in doubt about a garment please just leave it to a professional.

Wash Smoke-Damaged Clothes

Smoke-damaged clothing is one of the most common types of damage you might find in your closet. If you don't know how to clean it properly, you could end up ruining some expensive items. Luckily, there are many ways to do it correctly. Here are three tips to help you out.

1. Don't use bleach if you don't have to as bleach can damage fabrics. Instead, try washing your clothes in hot water with no detergent. This might take care of the problem.  Be sure to check your clothing label for water temperature guidelines.

2. Use warm water. You want to make sure that the temperature of your washing machine matches what your clothes are being washed in. 

3. Let your clothes soak. After you've done everything else, let your clothes sit in the washing machine for about 30 minutes in a pre-wash cycle. 

What if the fabric is non-washable?

There are certain fabrics that cannot be washed. These can include silk, wool, cashmere, linen, satin, velvet, etc. If you want to wash these types of clothing items, try pouring baking soda over them. Baking soda helps neutralize odors and removes stains. You can use it to clean up spills, too. Be certain to check your clothing label first.

How can professionals help?

Fire restoration companies usually offer different types of services like smoke and soot removal, water damage repairs, mold removal, carpeting cleaning, etc. They will come to your house or office and assess the damage before starting any work. They will give you a quote based on the severity of the damage.

FAQs

What removes smoke from clothes?

There are a few different ways that you can remove smoke from your clothes. One way is to soak the clothing in white vinegar for about an hour, then wash it as you normally would. Another way is to mix equal parts baking soda and water, and then apply it to the smoke-stained areas. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing the clothing as usual. You can also try using a commercial smoke odor eliminator, which you can find at most stores that sell laundry supplies.

How long does it take for cigarette smoke to get out of clothes?

When you smoke, the smell of smoke lingers on your clothes. It can be difficult to get rid of the smell of smoke, especially if you don't have time to wash your clothes right away. The best way to get rid of the smell of smoke is to wash your clothes in cold water with mild detergent. You can also try using a fabric freshener or an air freshener. If you can't wash your clothes right away, try hanging them outside to air out.

What's the best cleaner for smoke damage?

There are a few different cleaners that can be used for smoke damage, but the best one to use depends on the severity of the damage. For light smoke damage, vinegar and water solutions can be used to clean surfaces. For more severe smoke damage, a stronger cleaner such as trisodium phosphate or TSP may be needed. TSP is a strong cleaner that can be used on both porous and non-porous surfaces. It is important to test the cleaner on a small area first to make sure it will not damage the surface.

Can dry cleaners get smoke smell out of clothes?

Dry cleaning may be able to remove some of the smoke odor from clothing as this is something that they're accustomed to doing.  Most reputable dry cleaners will let you know if they can or can't remove the odors.

Once washed, be sure to steam your clothes with the Nori Press. Use the Nori Fabric Facial to freshen them up.

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Will the cigarette smoke smell in my clothes eventually go away?

Probably not?  If you smoke cigarettes inside your home, the smell of smoke will eventually permeate your furniture, carpeting, drapes, and clothing. To remove the smoke smell from your clothes, you will need to wash them in detergent after each wearing if you were smoking.  If the smoke smell is still present after washing, you can try soaking your clothes in a solution of white vinegar and water.  You may find that the pre wash cycle is your friend.

How do you remove cigarette smoke from clothing without washing them?

There are a few ways that you can get cigarette smoke out of clothes without washing them. One way is to hang the clothes outside and let the fresh air and sunlight work their magic. Another way is to put the clothes in the freezer for a few hours. This will help to kill the bacteria that is causing the smoke smell. Finally, you can try using a clothes steamer. The Nori Press and its Fabric Facial will work wonders!  This will help to remove the smoke smell from the clothes without damaging the fabric.

Does cigarette smell stay in clothes?

Cigarette smoke can linger in clothing long after the smoke has dissipated. The smell of cigarettes can be difficult to remove from clothing, as the smoke clings to the fabric. There are a few ways to remove the smoke smell from clothing, including washing the clothing in vinegar, using a smoke-removing spray, or soaking the clothing in baking soda.

After a fire, how do you remove soot from clothing?

If your clothing has been exposed to smoke or soot from a fire, it is important to act quickly to clean the items. Smoke and soot can cause permanent damage to fabric and clothing. To remove soot from clothing, you will need to wash them, use a dry-cleaning solvent or have them professionally cleaned. To remove soot from your clothing, start by hanging the items outside. If the weather is not suitable for hanging clothing outside and your clothing can't be washed, you can lay the items on a clean, white sheet. Once the items are hung or laid out, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to gently remove any loose soot. Next, use a dry-cleaning solvent on the soot-stained areas. Apply the solvent to a clean white cloth and dab at the soot. Be sure to use a light touch, as rubbing the soot can cause it to spread and set into the fabric. If the items are dry clean only, take them to a professional dry cleaner.

How do you remove smoke odor from clothes without washing them in a washer?

There are a few ways to get the smell of smoke out of clothes without washing them. One way is to put the clothes in a garbage bag and add a cup of baking soda. Seal the bag and let it sit for a few hours. Another way is to fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and water and spritz the smoky clothing. Let the clothing air dry in a well-ventilated area. Finally, you can try hanging the clothes outside on a clothesline or over a chair in the fresh air.

Can dry cleaners remove soot?

Dry cleaners can most likely remove soot.  Most reputable dry cleaners will let you know if they can't help.   Soot is a tough stain to remove, and dry cleaners may not be able to completely remove it. If you have a soot stain that you need to remove, you should take it to a dry cleaner and see if they can help.

Does lemon get rid of the smoke smell?

The lemon won't completely eliminate the smoke smell, but it can help to cut through the odor. Lemons are acidic, and when used as a cleaner, they can help to break down the smoke molecules that are causing the odor. To use lemon to remove smoke odor, cut a lemon in half and rub it over the affected area. Make certain to check your clothing label and to test a small area of your clothing for color fastness.  You can also leave a bowl of lemon slices out in the room to help freshen the air.

How long does thirdhand smoke last?

Thirdhand smoke is the tobacco smoke that clings to clothing, upholstery, drapes, and other surfaces long after the smoker have left the room. Thirdhand smoke contains high levels of toxins, including cancer-causing chemicals. These toxins can be re-emitted into the air for hours or even days after smoking has occurred, and can be harmful to both children and adults who are exposed to them.

How to remove soot particles from clothing after a fire?

If you have soot on your clothes after a fire, there are a few things you can do to try to remove it. First, you can try using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to vacuum the soot off of your clothes. If that doesn't work, you can try using a damp sponge to gently rub the soot off. You can also try using a mild detergent and washing your clothes in the washing machine. If the soot is still on your clothes after all of these methods, you can try using a dry-cleaning solvent or leave the problem to a professional dry cleaner.

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