Removing Tobacco Odors and Stains from Clothing

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated May 30, 2016)

Tobacco is gross—there's no other way around it. It stains your teeth and your clothes, makes your clothes and breath smell bad, and gives you cancer on top of it all. This tip won't cure all these items, but it can help you to make your clothing smell a bit fresher by removing the odors and stains that can accumulate on them with time.

When it comes to tobacco stains, wash the clothing article as soon as possible. If the stain is fresh, you want to wash it soon so it doesn't have time to fully set in. A regular washing, perhaps with a stain remover made for regular laundry, may get rid of the stain easily. You should avoid machine drying or ironing the piece of clothing until you're sure the stain is gone; the heat can actually make the stain set, making it much more difficult to remove.

If it's an older stain that you are trying to get rid of, then you'll have some hard stain removal work ahead of you. Use some heavy-duty stain removers and go for the name brands rather than generic or household item remedies. These stains can be beasts to remove, and you want to tackle it with the most powerful products you can find. Specialized products should list, on the packaging, whether they are capable of removing tobacco stains.

As far as odor removal goes, the best way to tackle that is through multiple washings of the affected article of clothing. You can actually try baking soda if you so desire because it's supposed to absorb odors and can be used as a regular additive to your laundry load. Another good thing to try is to line-dry the item. After removing the item from the washer, hang it on the clothesline in the back yard and let it dry completely. The fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for getting rid of odors. (If you don't have a clothes line, then use a stand-alone clothes rack or a non-metal piece of lawn furniture to hold the clothing in the sun and air.)

Tobacco stains and odors can be a bear to get rid of, but it can be done. If avoiding the stains and orders in the first place really isn't possible, you can get rid of them with effort and patience, but it's possible and will be so worth it when it works.

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