How to Remove Heavy Smoke Odor From Expensive Dresses

by Louise Harding

Smoke odors can get into hair, fabric, and anything that can absorb odors. The permeating odor of smoke saturates fabrics, sometimes making it a difficult chore to remove. Expensive dresses often come with expensive dry cleaning bills. Before you haul that smoky dress off to the cleaner, try a home remedy first.

Items you will need

  • Dry cleaner’s plastic bag or large clean trash bag
  • Gallon-sized zipper baggy
  • Transparent tape
  • Toothpick
  • Baking soda
  • Hanger
  • Garage or unused room

Baking Soda and a Bag

Step 1

Hang the dress on a hanger and place the dress in a dry cleaner’s plastic bag. If you don't have access to a dry cleaner's bag, use a large trash bag and poke the top of the hanger through the closed end of the trash bag.

Step 2

Tape the opening around the hanger closed with transparent tape.

Step 3

Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the gallon-sized zipper baggy and close.

Step 4

Use a toothpick to poke 8-10 holes around the top of the gallon baggy.

Step 5

Place the bag-covered dress, hanging on a hanger, onto a table and put the gallon baggy of baking soda into the bag near the bottom.

Step 6

Tie a knot at the end of the dry cleaner’s bag, working the gallon baggy through the plastic to keep it upright when you pick up the hanger.

Step 7

Pick up the hanger and hang the bag-covered dress for two weeks somewhere it won’t be disturbed.

Step 8

Check the dress. The baking soda neutralizes the smoke odors in the fabric of the dress, absorbing the smell.

Hanging the Dress to Air Out

Step 1

Hang the dress on a hanger in a well-ventilated garage or unused room where the dress won’t be disturbed.

Step 2

Make sure that air can circulate freely around the dress. A closet or other closed-in space will not allow sufficient air circulation.

Step 3

Leave the dress to air out until the odor has dissipated.


  • If your dress doesn't have a lot of beading or if the fabric can be folded, place the dress inside a 5-gallon zipper bag. Prepare the bag of baking soda as directed above and place it inside the large bag with the dress. Close the large bag with the dress inside and store for a few weeks. This method works very well because the sealed bag is airtight. Not recommended for heavily decorated dresses.

About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.