Removing Cigarette Odor from Dolls

I recently bought a huge bunch of perfect condition Barbie dolls for my granddaughter. However, after I got them home, I realized that the former owner was a heavy smoker.

I have had them sealed tight in a large container with a layer of baking soda beneath them, but no luck. How can I get the smoky smell off of them so my granddaughter can play with them?

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By Kathy from Plymouth, CT

June 4, 20100 found this helpful

Put them back in the bin with unused coffee grounds, close it back up for a few days, then re-check to see if they need a few days more. It ought to help more than the baking soda. Also, a day or two laying in the sun on a dry towel may help.

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June 4, 20100 found this helpful

My guess is that the tobacco residue on the dolls is too thick for the baking soda to be able to neutralize all the odor. The residue must be removed. White vinegar is good at removing tobacco residue and odors (I've used it when renovating a downstairs apartment, my last tenants were chain smokers who left the place a stinking mess). Vinegar is harmless to plastics and paint. The Idea Jilson mentioned above about leaving the dolls out in the sun is also valid - UV light *does* effectively kill tobacco smells, however you must also consider that too much sunlight might damage the dolls, so be careful if they have any collector's value.

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

The odor is not the problem so much as the nasty cigarette smoke. It needs to be washed off with soap and water. I would use dishwashing soap and a white cloth. You will see the nasty yellow nicotine on the cloth. When the cloth is white you know the dolls are clean. Don't forget the hair too. Smoking is a terrible habit.

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

I agree that washing it is a good idea. I washed clothes for a neighbor who had lung cancer and still smoked! I was amazed at the yellow nicotine in the water, also on the dryer fuzz.

But for removing odors, I've found that Odo-ban (plant based and green smelling) is great. Also, Complete odor removal from the pet aisle. Both are inexpensive and really work. Both work with mold and bacterial.

Good luck!

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

My Mother-In-Law has antique dolls and when she gets some with odors, she uses charcoal like they use in fish tanks. Spread it in the bottom and then lay a thin layer of tissue paper to protect the dolls.

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