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Removing Cigarette Odor from Dolls

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Removing Cigarette Odor from a Vinyl Doll Lissi doll in box
Cigarette odor can linger for a long time in the clothes and hair of a doll that has been around a heavy smoker. This is a page about removing cigarette odor from dolls.
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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?

By kathy from Plymouth, CT

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June 4, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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
Best Answer

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).

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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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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March 31, 2019

I recently bought a pre-owned Lissi vinyl doll still in the box. However when I brought it home I realized that it had a heavy cigarette odor. I have been airing it out for days, but the cigarette odor still clings to the clothes and hair. Is there a way to clean the doll without damaging it? The stand seems to be attached the to the box and the doll's clothes are fastened over the stand so to take her out I think I would have to mess up her or the box.

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Removing Cigarette Odor from a Vinyl Doll Lissi doll in box

I would really like to clean the nicotine residue off of her. Is there a way to clean her without taking her out of the box? Or in terms of her value does it make sense to just remove her from the box anyway to clean her?

Removing Cigarette Odor from a Vinyl Doll

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April 1, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can try crumpled newspaper or charcoal. It may take a while to get rid of the smell.

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