Does anyone have any info on how to get rid of the awful aroma of nicotine from approximately 200 +/- skeins of wool? Both of my parents were heavy smokers, and since Mom crocheted she always bought wool when it was on sale.
I now have all of it and can't stand the odor which clings to all of them. I'd love to be able to crochet up lap blankets, regular blankets, etc., but the smell! It's a "sin" to throw them out so I'm hoping that one of the great contributors to this site will have some kind of solution. Many thanks to all of you.
By June 11/07/2011
I once inherited a photo album from a heavy smoker and had the same problem. I put it in a big zip-loc bag with some baking soda. After about a week the odor was gone. You might try this with just a skein or two first to see if it works. You can put the soda in a little cup and set it upright so it doesn't get all over the yarn. Worth a try.
I would try washing it. You could try it with one skein and see how it worked. I would look to see what cleaners would remove the cigarette odor. The skein could be dipped and squeezed and rinsed and then rolled gently in towels to remove excess water, and set aside to dry. hopefully when dry it would be odor free and nearly as good as new.
This is just one of the sites I found when I googled "removing smoke from yarns".
Keep in mind that wool will shrink when washed with certain things, so if you wanted to perhaps try some Dawn and water, just do one skein. Another idea is Dryell, the product that lets you dry clean some products in your dryer.
If all else fails, I would sell them to smokers. I know that sounds crazy, but if smokers don't smell it, they won't mind it being used in their homes.
I sure hope we can help. To me, losing yarn to an outside substance is like burning money.
I'm a smoker, just now trying to quit using the e-cigarette. I don't smoke in the house anymore, and got the odor out of my wools and blended yarns by soaking the skeins by colour in a half water-half vinegar solution.
I soaked the skeins in the solution overnight (I smoked heavily) then squeezed out the excess, soaked in plain water again overnight, then squeezed and rolled to towel dry. I left them to dry in a warm dry area (on top of the clothes dryer but you could also try atop the fridge or similar spot), it took several days but once dry most of the skeins were clean. You may have to repeat the process but it does work.
Added bonus, the vinegar 'set' the colours on the machine washable wool, and I didn't get any bleeding once those skeins were made up and run through a wash.
Try adding one cup of ammonia to the wash water. This doesn't harm regular fabrics, but I don't know how it would work with wool. You could try it with one or two skeins of the wool just to see the result. I tried everything to remove cigarette smoke odor from clothes and ammonia was the one thing that really worked. Good luck!