Machine washing stuff...

I managed to quit smoking almost a month ago, and I’m starting to notice that all of my clothing, bedding and whatnot stinks. Even the things that have been in drawers for years. So the last couple of days I’ve been on a binge, washing every last thing in my closet.

I’m getting towards the end, but there are a few items I’m a bit nervous about putting in my washing machine. I can’t really afford to have anything dry cleaned, but I don’t want to let anything go without washing it, either. So I’m willing to risk damage, unless the chances are too great that any of these items might be outright destroyed:

[li]A sport coat that says “dry clean only.” I can’t find a tag that says what it’s made of, but it appears to be mostly polyester. I haven’t worn this thing in years, and I don’t see myself wearing it anytime soon, but you never know.[/li]
[li]A sleeping bag, which I obtained via “Marlboro Miles.” I’m assuming it’s synthetic. Ditto it not being used in a long time.[/li]
[li]Two duffel bags and my backpack.[/li]
[li]My down pillows.[/li][/ul]
Being a guy living alone, I’m stupid about this sort of stuff. I’ve Googled each of these items, and found some sites that say machine washing is ok, and other sites that say it isn’t.

So, what say you?

Get rid of the stuff you have not used in a long time.

I have successfully washed down pillows, but I did so when I was ok with the potential cost of replacing them if it screwed them up. If you do it, be sure to double-rinse and then dry them really well.

The duffle bags and backpack should be fine, if they are just your regular bags and not specialized somehow.

When I stopped smoking, I used Febreze to get the smell out of all my stuff - furniture, car, mattress, etc. It worked fine, so give that a try before you do anything drastic.

Either drop it at the drycleaners or at the nearest Goodwill/your favorite clothing donation site. Get a new sport coat with all the money you saved from not smoking.

It can be washed, but maybe dry it on low-medium heat just a bit and then air or line dry the rest of the way.

Both can be washed in the washer. The duffel bags could be dried in the dryer. Depends on what your backpack is made of. Heavy canvas can go in the dryer, lightweight synthetic, hang it up somewhere to dry.

Unless you specifically remembered to buy washable down (synthetic down is machine washable. real down is not), I’d just replace the pillows.
Oh, and congratulations on quitting smoking!

I just stopped smoking too and am dealing with the smelliness. I second Febreeze. I have some because I use it to spray on my gym clothes if I’m not going to wash them soon. The ones sprayed with Febreeze smell better out of the wash than the ones that just went in the wash without spray!

All that stuff you have can be safely Febreezed. If possible, put them outside. If not now, when it’s warmer. I just had to dry out my bath rugs (dog, storm, bathtub, wet) outdoors and they were the best smelling things in my house!

Also get yourself some carpet freshener, either powder or foam. I used to use that on my carpets before I had company, and it helps a lot with the smell. That reminds me, I gotta do that now…

ETA: If you can’t afford real Febreeze, check out your local dollar store (everything is a dollar, not Family Dollar or Dollar General). They have $1 fabric freshener. Also if the Febreeze doesn’t do the trick on the coat, or if you don’t want it to smell Febreeze-y, check out Dryel

BTW that Febreze smell fades after a day or two, so you won’t have to live with it for long.

Yeah, I unloaded about half a bottle of Febreeze in my truck, and stuck some Bounce sheets under the seats, and my non-smoking girlfriend reports that that did the trick. I also used it on my furniture, and she says I’m good there.

I didn’t think about carpet freshener, good call. Although, by chance I happened to get a free carpet cleaning about a week before my last cigarette, and I was only smoking half a pack a day at that point, so I’m hoping the smell didn’t get firmly entrenched…?

I’ve decided I’ll risk ruining the coat and the sleeping bag. Since I haven’t been using them, it won’t be any great loss if they don’t survive. I was also just at Target, and it looks like I can replace the pillows for about $20-$25, which is much cheaper than I thought. So if those don’t make it I’ll just buy new ones.

Thanks everyone!

Fresh air + Febreze works wonders.
I have a few fabric-based items from my mom (a lifelong smoker) that I was able to remove the smoke smell from b Febrezing then leaving on the 3-season porch where they could get plenty of fresh air. It took a few weeks, but they finally seem to have no smoke smell left. I am a non-smoker who hasn’t lived in a smoking household for 20 years, so I am pretty sensitive to smoke smell.

Be careful of fading, though. You don’t want to leave the sport coat in the sun. The pillows should be fine, though.

Spread a mixture of boric acid, baking soda, and cinnamon on your carpets. (straight boric acid is really cheap in the insect control aisle, less so int he laundry aisle.) Spread it as thinly as you can, and leave it there a day or so, then vacuum. If your vaccuum cleaner uses a bag, you can also put some scent that you like in the bag, this will spread the scent around the place.

Very soon the scent of cinnamon (or whatever you use) will spread through the house and overwhelm the cigarette smoke.

I’ve never had any garment destroyed by cold water used on the delicate cycle of the washer, and then hang drying. the primary danger to a psort coat is that the lining and outer fabric might bleed color on to each other, or shrink at different rates. Cold water and hang drying will prevent both. You may have some serious ironing to do when it’s over though.

Congratulations on quitting!

Don’t forget about deodorizing the insides of the drawers and the closet walls.

You might want to look into painting your house, too - first coat should be Kilz to seal the walls and theoretically keep the cigarette smell in forever.

We lived in a (rental) house once where a smoker had lived and after the first winter (closed up house), we noticed the nicotine running down the bathroom walls from the humidity. Urgh. I second Cat Whisperer’s recommendation to think about painting.

While you’re gettin’ happy with the Febreeze, don’t forget things like your curtains, your mattress and your shower curtain.

Fresh air and sunshine are great deodorizers too. The first sunny day find a place outside to air out the sleeping bag. It doesn’t need to be warm, in fact cold and sunny air adds an awesome scent to sheets, pillows and of course your sleeping bag. Would probably work on your sports coat and bags too.

Ditto on only trying to wash the down pillows if you can afford to replace them. LOUNE tried to wash one of ours, and the washer and laundry room ended up covered in feathers.