Odor removal from jacket

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Renault78law, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    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?
     
  2. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. Millerp

    Millerp Senior member

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    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.
     
  4. Vintage Gent

    Vintage Gent Senior member

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    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.
     
  5. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    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.
     
  6. discostu004

    discostu004 Affiliate vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    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
     
  7. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    OK Lance, but that was a jacket with dopest fabric -- what about one with regular fabric. Maybe wouldn't "dry out" so quickly.
     
  8. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    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.
     
  9. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. Tom

    Tom Senior member

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    My experience has been that dry cleaning doesn't do anything to remove the smell of mothballs.

    -Tom
     
  11. stache

    stache Senior member

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    Try Dryell home dry cleaning kit.
     
  12. Zubberah

    Zubberah Senior member

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    Best tip has already been mentioned. Turn jacket inside out and put in sun for an hour on a hanger. Always works for me.
     
  13. acole

    acole Senior member

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    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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