It is nice to find bargain yarn at garage sales and secondhand stores, but not when it smells like a dirty ashtray. The odor of cigarette smoke can be repulsive, especially to those who do not partake, but smoky skeins are still worth buying and using for crocheting, knitting and other crafts. It is not difficult to get rid of the stench, and you can do it without having to wash your unfinished items. Use these easy ways to deodorize smelly skeins. They will turn out smelling fresh and clean.
Begin by Removing the Labels
Paper is like a wick when it comes to odors. It is highly absorbent, and it will retain the smell of cigarette smoke. When trying to get rid of a foul odor that has permeated skeins of yarn, begin by removing the labels. Before tossing them into the recycling bin, be sure to write down any pertinent information including washing and drying instructions, fiber content and lot numbers. Simply getting rid of the labels will solve some of the problem.
Freshen it Outdoors
After removing the labels from the skeins, take them outside. More often than not, all that it takes to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke is a little fresh air. A breeze can work wonders. Place the yarn in a protected location away from moisture and direct sunlight, and leave it outside all day. The bad odor might disappear without having to take further steps.
Neutralize the Smell
If placing the skeins outdoors for several hours does not solve the problem, neutralize the smell using an effective dry method. Place the yarn in a sealed bag along with an open container of baking soda. Keep the bag closed for at least 24 hours. The baking soda should completely absorb the bad odor.
If you do not think that baking soda will be enough to solve the malodorous problem, place an open container of charcoal briquettes or aquarium charcoal in a sealed bag with the yarn. Do not allow the charcoal to come in contact with the yarn. Otherwise, you will be washing it before crafting anything.
Wash Knitted or Crocheted Items
Yarn that smells like cigarettes is coated with tiny smoke particles. Even if you reduce odor enough to be able to work with the yarn, it should be washed before wearing. Refer back to the washing instructions on the label(s). Some people cannot tolerate the smell. In any case, the items should be washed before selling or giving them away.
Source: Advanced Crafting Education and Professional Cleaning Experience