When buying clothing, stuffed animals or books on auction websites, make sure that the items have been in a smoke-free environment. If it's not stated in the auction description, be sure to ask the seller directly. Cigarette smoke odors can be difficult to remove, especially from stuffed toys and books.
Be sure you want the item in spite of a possible odor. I ask about it and am told, "No odor." But it has an odor anyway. The vendor usually says, "Ooh, sorry, my allergies were acting up and I couldn't smell a thing."
I had someone send me a pamphlet type pattern once that just REEKED of cigarette smoke. I cured the problem by putting the item back into the large envelope it came in with a fabric softener sheet enclosed. In three days, the cigarette odor was totally gone.
For stuffed animals, I have found that washing with Febreze liquid in the rinse works. Open the washer lid and soak for a bit in the Febreze rinse if you are able. For sensitivity purposes I washed the items one more time with just water - no soap, softener or Febreze. (11/10/2008)
By Cathy S.
If an online seller is offering used items, unless he/she is psychic, there's usually no way of knowing an item's entire history. If you sell online and it's any type of used item--from clothing to retro pottery--there absolutely should be a disclaimer in your ads that state there's no guarantee of it having been completely in a pet or smoke free environment for those who are repulsed by even a hint of smoke scent or allergic to pet dander.
On the other side of the coin, as an online seller myself, I have a similar disclaimer on every listing that is in 14 point bold red lettering - and there are still people who cannot or will not read that. Online sellers should be honest and vigilant on this--but buyers also need to read listings carefully before buying. (03/23/2010)
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