Getting Rid of Smell on Vintage Coats

How do I get the ugly smell out of the vintage coats I buy at thrift stores? I've already sent them twice for dry cleaning, used Febreze, and put them outside for a few days.


These coats need to be dry clean, I can't put them in the washing machine. The dry cleaning is getting too expensive and did not help at all. Any suggestions? I love the coats, but I have been able to wear them.


April 30, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

When I sewed for the local theater and the costumes stank to high heaven we used to spray them down with cheap vodka and let them dry. You might try that. Just fill a spray bottle with undiluted vodka and give them a good spraying.

Susan in Omaha

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April 30, 20080 found this helpful
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Don't forget the old "unused coffe grounds" trick. Perhaps you could put the item in a plastic bag and put some coffee in the pockets (would brush out later), and in the toe of a nylon and tied like a sausage and hung from the hanger. Then tie the bottom shut and tape the hanger hole shut. Leave it for a while --- a week,(?) and see if that helps. If some but not enough, maybe do it again.

I've not had luck with a dry cleaner getting perspiration odors out of a nice dress I loaned to a friend. It was either wash it or toss it (washing worked fine, but with all the internal things of any kind of a coat--don't try it).

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May 13, 20080 found this helpful
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One thing here I did not see was this, take a bunch of newspapaers wad them up and fill the arms of the coat, get one of those dry cleaning garment bags, and put the coat with the newspaper inside of it, adding more newspaper, close it and seal it with tape to make it air tight. Wait about 3-4 days open it up and remove some of the newspaper, the newspaper should smell like the coats. Newspaper absorbs ordors and I have had wonderful luck with it getting out the vintage smell in clothes. You may have to take out the newspaper and refill the coat a couple times but, works wonders.

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Anonymous Flag
January 19, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you, Shelly. I will have to try this method on my shearling coats.

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April 29, 20080 found this helpful

Gee, what do they smell like if they resist treatment? Are you sure you have sprayed the Fabreze adequately inside & out? You could also open the lining and spray underneath it. Then leave out in the sun and let the sun bake it inside & out. You could also try spraying them with spray disinfectant. That kills everything & comes in scents!

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May 1, 20080 found this helpful

What is the smell? Have your tried vinegar? Honestly, I find that straight from the bottle white distilled vinegar is pretty much for everything! It kills mold, mildew, viruses, and bacterias (not all.. but most in the house!) It also clears up weird smells in things. You can mix in 6-9 drops of a lovely essential oil (tee tree is nice and clean smelling but there's also things like lavender)

And the really nice thing is vinegar doesn't bleach fabrics!

kibby said something about deactivated charcoal, you can get that in a pet supply shop in the aquarium section. It's usually used for filters... you would get a big plastic tub and layer charcoal, coat, charcoal, coat...end with charcoal and close it up for a week or so... don't open the charcoal filters though.. you don't want it all over your coats. Just lay them in...

good luck... I'd be interested to know if anything works!

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May 1, 20080 found this helpful

I have used charcoal briquettes to get a nasty smell out of an old freezer and it worked great.

Why not try it on the coat. I would spread the briquettes on the inside of the coat and in the sleeves and let it sit for a day or so.

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