How to Remove Cigar Smell From Your Clothes

Jeff Miller
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Cigars are known for their great aromas, but the smells aren’t always welcome on your clothes. If you’re having a dinner party, for example, and you’re worried about lingering cigar smoke scents that may affect your food or offend your guests, keeping it trapped in your clothes is not the answer. Here are a few tips for removing cigar smells from your clothes.

Air Them Out

Cigar smoke has an odor that’s pretty strong, so sometimes you can’t hide it. If you’ve been smoking inside, the odor will be so strong that it’s likely to affect your food or your guests’ clothes. Instead of trying to mask it with an artificial fragrance, just get it out of your clothing by airing them outdoors.

In order to help the breeze more effectively remove the odor, open your windows and/or turn on a fan. The next morning, you should be smelling fresh air instead of stale cigar smoke.

Check Labels

You can sometimes find natural, non-toxic cleaning products at the health food store. When you are out shopping, take a look at the labels for any products that you are considering buying. Look for words that indicate that the product is toxic to your clothing and to you. When making your selection, be sure to find a product that is non-toxic.

Getting Started

To get started, gather together two parts white vinegar, one part baking soda, and one part salt. Put these ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Once you have mixed all of the ingredients thoroughly, pour them into a spray bottle and set it aside.

Next, gather together some warm water and liquid dish soap. Mix this in a bowl until the dishwashing liquid is completely dissolved. When you have completed the mixture, take your clothing and your spray bottle (which contains the vinegar, baking soda, and salt mixture) and put the clothing into the mixture. Make sure that all the clothing is completely submerged and then let it soak for approximately 15 minutes.

After the clothing has soaked for 15 minutes, take all of it out of the mixture, gently squeeze up any excess water, and set it to dry.

Take the Clothing Outdoors

The most effective way to get the smell out of your clothing is to open the windows and take the clothing outdoors. You could also hang the clothing outdoors if the weather is nice enough. Make sure you’re in an area that is open and airy, such as a deck or patio, so the room doesn’t get filled with cigar smoke.

If you’re in a tiny apartment or condominium, you may not be able to take your clothes outdoors. If that’s the case, open a window as much as possible so the smoke can get out of the space.

Water and Baking Soda

Did you know that water will not only dissolve dirt, its also a very effective odor remover? "A drop of dish liquid in water will give clothes a thorough rinse."

This method ideally works best if you are trying to remove cigar smell from shirts.

First you have to dilute the dishwashing soap in a large tub of water. Mix in a few tablespoons of baking soda and stir it until it’s completely dissolved. Then dip your clothing in the solution and let it soak for a while. By the time the residue is gone, your clothes will be nice and clean.

Washing Machine

Can clothes get rid of that nasty cigar smell? The first advice people usually give when someone asks that question is to take the offending item outside and hang it up for the wind to blow through it. While this is one of the best ways to get rid of the smell from a pair of clothes, clothes hanging outside can still get the smell of cigar trapped in them. The great part of washing machines is that most washing machines make the type of rocking motion that will get the cigar smell out of the fabric.

The washing machine method can be used by doing a few simple steps:

Put your clothes in the washing machine, along with a couple of dryer sheets. It is recommended to use a couple at least because more than two sheets can reduce any fabric softener you have on the clothing

Turn the Washing Machine on and Make Sure that the Water Temperature Is Set to Normal

It is best to run either the hottest or coldest setting on the washer to give the windy motion but you may want to set the temperature to warm for fabrics that are delicate or colors that may fade.

You may need to run the clothes through the washing machine twice in order to get the smell out.

Drying Outdoors

One of the most effective ways to remove cigar smell from your clothes is to simply hang them outside. The fresh air will do a lot to remove the odors. This is especially true if there are breezes in your area that are blowing away from your house. Anyone that is exposed to the breeze will breathe in the fresh air, and the smell won’t be hanging around in your living room.

You want to hang your clothes on a line, such as a clothesline, or on a clothes rack, rather than on a door, to ensure that they are dried properly. You don’t want humidity caused by the damp clothes to linger. If you can’t hang outside, the next best alternative is to hang your clothes on an outdoor rack inside your home, as long as your clothes are getting plenty of circulation.

A third option is to hang the clothes in the attic or an unused room in your home. It should be dark and dryly. Put them on hangers and let them hang for at least a day to help remove the cigar smell. Just be sure to check for pests. Make sure there are no animals living in your attic. You’ll also want to make sure that your clothes are not touching any wood, as the cigar smell and the wood smell could merge.

Fabric Fresheners

After smoking a cigar, you’ll realize soon enough that the smell will stick to your clothing. If you have a round humidor, you can place your cigar back inside, but if you don’t have a humidor, you should find a way to make sure the smell gets removed. Fortunately, there are a lot of products on the market that will help you get the smell out. For example, this product from cigar smokers forum is popular because it’s reasonably priced and works well for removing cigar smoke. You can also find fabric fresheners such as Febreze, available at any major retailer. Another DIY solution is to make your own. Take a can of cheap beer, remove about half of it, and add some coffee grounds and a teaspoon of vanilla. Put this into a spray bottle and use it as needed. This will break down the smoke particles and remove the odor, along with any other lingering scents.

Containing the Odor

The first thing you need to do is contain the odor. Unless you want to turn into a walking advertisement for your favorite brand of tobacco, you’ll want to contain the odor. A large Ziploc bag works great for this purpose. Make sure to grab it by the seal so that you don’t get a mouth full of the odor.

Place the bag over your hand, grab the cigar or cigarillo and throw the remaining cancer stick into the bag and seal it tight. Take it outside to a trashcan or a fire-pit and drop it in the bag. If you’re too ambitious and you’ve tried all of these things, you may need to place it outdoors and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. You will also want to be sure and give it a little air every once in a while to keep it from breaking.

Furniture and Carpet

After you’ve finished your cigar, it probably didn’t occur to you to clean your whole house. But that doesn’t mean your house is going to smell any less like a cigar. Some experts suggest that the best way to rid your home of cigar smell is to open all of your windows and let the smell of your home air out and circulate. But if your windows are closed and you can’t open them, there are other things you can do that will help reduce the intensity of the cigar smell.

Many people recommend using distilled white vinegar to get rid of cigar smoke smell. It’s a natural odor neutralizer. Simply spray the vinegar in the air and let it soak in. Make sure to spray a bit of the vinegar directly on any furnishings or carpets that might still smell like cigar smoke. This will help to lift the smell from the materials.

Another thing you can do to get rid of your cigar smell is to put a coffee filter in the exhaust vent of your stove. This will help to absorb the cigar odor that’s escaping into the air. Also, if you’re worried about your carpet and furniture smelling afterward, you can sprinkle baking soda or residual odor remover directly on to of them.

Carpet Care

Cigar smoke can leave a strong, persistent odor on your carpet. You can get rid of this offensive odor by doing the following:

Apply your favorite carpet cleaner to the soiled areas of carpet. If you have a spot item you like, try that first. Allow it to sit for several minutes. As a last resort, try spraying a spot remover, or water if that’s all you have.

Next, pour 1 cup of carpet cleaner into a bucket of water. Soak the carpet with the cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit on the carpet for several minutes. Apply another coat, then soak it again. Your carpet may smell fresh shortly after the initial cleaning, but after it dries, you will probably smell a faint cigar odor. Don’t panic; it’s just the residue from the smoke. Just repeat the cleaning process until the odor disappears.

If you clean the carpet and the room still smells like cigar smoke, you may want to think about using an ozone machine. Ozone machines can neutralize smoky odors from clothes, upholstery, and carpeting. Think of it as a highly effective air purifier. Plug it in, let it work its magic, and the next day, your home will be odor-free.

Why Odor Can be Difficult to Remove

Cigar smoke contains several different compounds that make it both distinctive and hard to remove. There’s a compound by the name of guaiacol and guaiacol acetate. That’s not enough for cigar smoke to linger, but there are a lot of other compounds that include terpenes, monoterpenols, and more.

The problem with removing these compounds is that they’re not just hung up on your clothes. They’re actually mixed with the fibers, so they need to be washed out.

Add to that the fact that most deodorizing agents aren’t effective against strong smells like these, and it’s clear to see that something a little more drastic is in order.

Heavy-Duty Odors

The smell of cigars is notoriously difficult to remove and it’s generally recommended that you just throw the clothes out. However, if the garment is still usable and you’re committed to removing the aroma, there’s some hope.

The good news about cigar smell is that it’s usually confined to the garment itself. The problem is, when you smoke a cigar, the smoke and the smell do not stay in a contained space for very long. It goes into the air, and usually into your clothes.

This is what makes cigar smell so hard to get rid of. The smoke and odor literally get inside your clothes, and if you don’t follow through with washing your clothes immediately, the smell is going to get even more ingrained. If you’re not going to wash your clothes right after you smoke a cigar, then your best bet is to rinse out your mouth with water and use a mouthwash. Although be aware that these will have a different smell and may leave an odor in your clothes as well.

Things You Need:

  • Heavy duty cleaner, like Downy Oxi Action
  • A bucket
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Baking Soda
  • Damp cloths
  • A fan

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