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Odor removal from jacket

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just received a GREAT vintage (1976) Brioni sportcoat on ebay. My only complaint is that it smells of mothballs. I'd prefer not to dryclean it, mostly because I haven't found a good drycleaner yet, so I'm looking for alternatives. I tried doing a search, because I could have sworn this topic had been covered, but I didn't find anything. I remember something about using a vinegar/water solution in a steamer, but am affraid to try this without confirmation. The only other thing I could think of is airing it out. Any ideas?
post #2 of 13
Soak it in tomato juice. No, wait, that's what you do if you are sprayed with a skunk. I'd imagine a google search would confirm that the vinegar and water steam solution works. In any event, the solution clearly involves a steamer, unless you are willing to let it air out for a couple of months.
post #3 of 13
You could try Febreze which is supposed to be good for all fabrics except silk. My only experience with it was on upholstery material where it worked, but left a flowery scent for a few days.
post #4 of 13
As a diehard collector of vintage clothing, I've run into more than a few items that smell to varying degrees of mothballs. Your best first bet is airing the jacket out. I've gotten best results from sunny/windy days with lower humidity. There are some items, however, that do not respond well to an airing out, even over multiple days. If this is the case, you will have to break down and find a good dry cleaner.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for all your replies. i thinkthis was the thread I was referring to. I think I'll let it air out for a few days, before trying the vinegar/water solution in the steamer. If all else failes, I'll seek a drycleaner recommendation from my tailor. Thanks again.
post #6 of 13
2 things: hang it outside on a nice day (not in the sun) w/ some wind hang it where you can run a fan on it for a few days. i wore my dopest kiton jacket one time to a restaurant and it stunk like smoke so i hung it w/ a fan blowing on it and in 2 days it was fresh as a daisy
post #7 of 13
OK Lance, but that was a jacket with dopest fabric -- what about one with regular fabric. Maybe wouldn't "dry out" so quickly.
post #8 of 13
Sorry -- couldn't resist. Seriously though, I've found that taking the item to the cleaners nearly always eliminates the moth ball smell. Hanging outside may help, but I've never found that that eliminates the smell.
post #9 of 13
steam -> air out -> steam -> air out -> etc... soon or later, it will disappear. If you gonna dry clean, try to find CO2 drycleaner. CO2 does minimal harm to the garmnent.
post #10 of 13
My experience has been that dry cleaning doesn't do anything to remove the smell of mothballs. -Tom
post #11 of 13
Try Dryell home dry cleaning kit.
post #12 of 13
Best tip has already been mentioned. Turn jacket inside out and put in sun for an hour on a hanger. Always works for me.
post #13 of 13
To echo several previous suggestions, both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene have significant vapor pressures at room temperature, which is why they work as fumigants. Warm air in a well-ventilated room ought to do nicely to remove either. Stuff like Febreze etc. just masks one odor with another--not what you want. My biggest gripes have been with tobacco smoke residue, which doesn't just sublime away like mothballs. I've been known to soak offending washables in successive changes of diluted white vinegar for several days, which does seem to work OK. Tailored wool items are another matter though: I've donated a couple of smoky sportcoats to goodwill rather than bothering with dry cleaning, which seems to give mediocre results with smoke odor. The worst part of it is that the top offenders (3-pack-a-day ebay sellers) are completely oblivious to the problem.
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