Yarn Lover's Room



Tips and Tricks


Exchanging knit to crochet


Exchange knitting to crochet or crochet to knitting.

Removing Odors from yarn Or making your yarn smell nice

Ann who shares with us this: When your knitting put a ball of cotton ball in with your yarn with 2 or 3 drops of lavender oil [any rose oil would also work]. It smells so nice. Love your site.

from Djr147 we get this one. Here's a tip for removing odors...works on cat urine better than anything....my friend told me about it after taking care of her father in his very late years of illness and incontinence. I also use it to wash those "stinky" work clothes of my husband's as well...

Listerine...yep...put it in a sprayer...full strength... spray the area(s) where cats have been...spray it "good" enough to make the area wet again...let dry...do not rinse.. order will be gone. Put a couple of capfuls in with your laundry detergent to remove smells from soiled clothes... great stuff that Listerine. Even the generic brand works. The yarn could be spayed worked in your hands till damp and then placed in a sunny spot to dry before using...or make the garment then washed adding the Listerine at that time. Good luck.

white vineger and arm and hammer saop powder..works well for people sensitive to perfume...thankyou  janet t.

Here's a tip for removing odors...works on cat urine better than anything....my friend told me about it after taking care of her father in his very late years of illness and incontinence.  I also use it to wash those "stinky" work clothes of my husband's as well...


Another way to get rid of odors in yarn.  Here are several.

#1: Place yarn or knit item in a closable container and add a (or more) dryer sheet(s) and close container.  Allow to stay for a while (as long as possible).

#2: Place yarn in clothes dryer and add a (or more) dryers sheet(s) and tumble on AIR for a short time. (Tumbling too long can cause yarn to pile).

#3: Expose to outside fresh air(not in sunlight) until odor dissipates.


A stick of spearmint gum in a container with the yarn. It works well in freezers and refrigerators as well.


Here is an idea for the lady with the homespun tobacco smell.  this is what I would do..time consuming maybe, but worthwhile if she wants nice scarves for gifts. I would wind all the yarn into skeins, tying in several places.  Wash and rinse several times, and hang to dry.  to speed drying put carefully into washer machine and spin for a couple of seconds, then hang to dry.  I was given a lovely vest, which I could not wear for the same reason and finally washed it , and hung it in the air to dry.  It is fine now.  The thing about your method, in my opinion, is that the debreeze might not get into the centre of the ball.  Barbara G., in Canada


I have another suggestion in response to Louise's problem about getting rid of smoke smell on yarn.   It's one that came from someone in another group I'm on and I know it works because I've tried it! Place the yarn in a mesh bag and put in the washer set on Delicate/Cold Water.  Along with your regular laundry detergent, add 2 cups of WHITE VINEGAR to the wash.  Run thru as normal.  Yarn can then be sent thru the dryer as well, again using the Delicate cycle, or laid out to dry.  This should get rid of the smell.


I received some embroidery thread from a friend and it smelled like tobacco. I wrapped each spool in a Bounce sheet and place two together in a brown lunch bag. I left them there for about a week - the smell was very strong.
Smells like Bounce now! Dawn J. Hartly, DE


Smell in yarn:  I inherited some quilts from my grandmother.  One had been in storage in a cedar chest in a garage and had a mildewey smell.  No visible mildew, it just stunk.  I lived in a dry climate at the time (Nevada) and had transported it from Arkansas in a black garbage bag.  I left it on the front porch in the bag in the sun for a couple of days (in the summer) while I tried to figure out how to get the smell out.  I was reluctant to wash it, as it's 100% wool.  When I decided to tackle it, I took it out of the bag and it didn't stink.  As accidental discoveries go, that one was pretty good.  The smell hasn't come back, and I have the quilt hanging on the wall right now here in my office.  Whether it would work on
tobacco, I don't know.


Try pouring approximately 1 cup of un perked coffee grounds in  a plastic container with holes poked in it then placing the container and the yarn in a large plastic bag and sealing it for 24 hours.  The coffee grounds will absorb the tobacco smell.  Truck drivers use this in their trailers after hauling onions, and the smell is gone completely.  And I know of smokers who place an open container on their counter or table and their house does not smell smoky.  Dawn


I am a crafter of yarns, threads, and fabrics and I smoke.  I found a wonderful product that I have a case of sitting in my crafting room that I use often,  It's called, "Lord Byron's Smoker's fabric refresher"  It is specially designed to get the smoke smell out of fabrics and such.  I have sent items that have been misted with this stuff(still in their plastic zip-loc bag) to folks and they never know I smoked in the same room!!  I swear by this stuff!!  You can get it at Wal-Mart for about $1.97 for a 6oz bottle.  The only area I have found it is on the shelving for the line that you can get ciggerrettes at.  Talk about the best place!  It's in a frosted colored bottle with a yellow top. One thing- make a small swatch  first before you use it on that fabric.  I have found that some brands of yarn(reds and purples) will slightly discolor but only you'd know it.  It neutarlizes the smells. I hope this helps. Hugs and Blessings! Michele


Regarding the tobacco smell, use activated charcoal found in pet supply stores. D.


Removing smells like tobacco: If you makes a 4"x4" or so
square, then washes it in something like Woolite, dries it in the dryer on"Low" with a dryer sheet, it should smell okay. If it does, then I would suggest she go ahead and make the articles, washing them in the same way. Of course, if she doesn't want to work with it smelling as it does, then
your Febreze is ideal--if successful. Cay


I would put it into those  potato sacks/onion sacks & hang it out in the open air for a few days  &   if she has a ball winder then I would undo the skeins a bit so air would circulate better & faster. Reshuffle every day .  I also suggest putting into a laundry bag & washing /drying .  Elsie


Place some sheets of Bounce, fabric softener in with the yarn and it will remove odors.  These sheets remove many odors if left with the item for a while.  I have tried this. Loretta


Put a  couple of good smelling fabric softener sheets in the bag for about 24 hours.  Another tip would be to just put it out in some fresh air for awhile.  Libby


Find someone with an ozone air purifier. Put the yarn in a plastic bag and face the purifier into the bag. This will take out the smell and give it a fresh scent. She may have to do it more than once depending on how smelly the yarn is. Chris


One thing I have done myself was to place the smoky smelling item(s) in a zip lock type bag along with a bar of soap.......zip the bag shut and let it set for a couple of days......was working on a quilt for a graduating GrandSon while on a business trip with my husband once and when we returned home the quilt smelled of stale smoke (had to be from the room ...although we couldn't smell it then) so tried this trick and the smell disappeared .....GrandSon says it never smelled and hasn't re turned.......worth the try anyway Alice


A few years back I purchased several yards of upholstery fabric at a yard sale.  I learned, too late, that the fabric had the strong and persistent odor of cat "spray."  I washed it several times but could not get the odor completely out.  So I hung it on the railing of my deck in the sunlight for many days, removing it when it rained, and returning it when the sun was out again.  I continued this until the odor was gone.  I don't recall how long it took, but several days at least.  If Louise can tolerate the smell of tobacco while she knits ( not easy, I'll admit ) I'm sure the sunlight and fresh air would remove the smell from the finished piece.  To protect the piece from fading, she could cover it with another light-weight fabric. I hope this helps.. Marcia


I have found that a dryer sheet and the fluff cycle are effective for getting rid of cigarette smoke odor.  However, it will depend on how deeply the odor has penetrated the skein of yarn.  Also, if the knitter can stand the odor herself, she can knit the article and then put it in the dryer with a sheet on fluff.  That will definitely eliminate the odor. Janice


Hello, For the tobacco smell, I would make the project then wash it, if the febreeze doesn't work. Mel


In regard to the tabacco-scented yarn:  I'd try leaving it outside for a few days and if that didn't work, perhaps placing it in ziploc baggies with a dryer sheet or a cotton ball or two with a few drops of true essential oil (my favorites are orange or lavender).  This always leaves my creations smelling fresh and nicely scented.  The other great odor absorber, of course, is baking soda.  In that case, I'd again seal it in a baggie with the yarn loosened somewhat and baking soda sprinkled into the baggie, then let set for awhile.  Can't hurt to try.....  I've used all methods.  It just depends on how saturated the yarn is, whether or not the smell will go away.  Hand-washing the yarn in cool water with a small amount of detergent and then adding fabric softener might also work!  Gee, I'm just full of ideas!  (I have a background in chemistry!) Hope one of these suggestions helps! Sandi


Place in a box with crumpled up newspapers. Somehow the newspapers absorb the offensive odor. Fabric softener sheets. Just plain air (as in leave outside in garage) If the knitter/crocheter isn't too allergic, they could try making the shawl and THEN washing it.  Most yarn I'd recommend washing (placing it in a nylon stocking or knee-high first) but with Homespun, it's so dense it might not dry quick enough and then you'd have mildewed tobacco.. ewwwww
Good luck. lisaizme


A great tip for getting the smell of tobacco out of wool is to get a stocking and put bicarbonate of soda in it and tie a knot in the top. Put the wool and stocking in a bag and tie it up. after a few days the bad smell has been absorbed. My partner smokes and the smell gets everywhere. So I totaly understand. Nevertheless I still love him hehe xx love Sian

* Smell....put some lemon juice on a dishcloth and put items and dishcloth in dryer for a few minutes and the odor will disappear.

* Shirley, I once came across some yarn that was free and when I got it home it was full of animal hair and it smelled like a dirty sock.  Wondering whether to throw it out or try to clean it somehow.  My ultimate decision was to throw it out.  What a waste.  So I took the chance and put all the balls and skeins of yarn in my washer. (Thinking it was going to be a big mess). To my astonishment, it stayed intact.  It even went through my dyer. Thank you for your helpful emails. Sincerely, Amy

* Frances writes; I was given a bunch of fabric and threads that were full of stale smoke smell.  I checked online and found a recommendation to wash fabrics in a washing machine with a can of regular coca cola added with the detergent.  It worked very well.  With the yarn it might be enough to put it in the sink with a part can and agitate by hand for a while, soak, then rinse and dry.

* Love the site.  I recently purchased "eucalan", a no rinse delicate wash from my LYS.  I had a PIG (project in grocery bag) that our puppies used. So I arm length wound the yarn and used twist ties several places around it.
Then just soaked the PIG and the yarn for a couple of hours, let it dry and no mess, no smell.  This stuff works great.  I have also used it to take quilt markings out, like pencil.  Great stuff. HAPPY QUILTING. Janice Dundalk, ON, Canada

* When my mother passed away she had several huge green garbage bags filled with yarns of every fiber and color.  They all absolutely reeked of cigarette smoke, some of them were even colored with nicotine.  Ghastly mess.  As there were hundreds of dollars of yarns I decided that a rescue was in order and took every last ball and skeined them on a yarn swift.
Carefully tying each one in several places before removing it from the
swift.  Then I took all the like colours and fibers and threw them in
lukewarm water with a mild soap and let them soak without touching them for at least 4 hours, rinsed carefully in a lemon juice (or vinegar rinse when I ran out of lemon juice), squeezed out excess moisture and hung them to dry.
Some of them needed a bit of weight to keep them from twisting up.  Some of the yarn was already in skeins so I made sure to add extra ties to each one and did the same thing with them.  Some of the cheaper acrylics and nylons did not respond to this treatment and they were put in pillow cases, tossed in the washing machine on regular cycle, then to the dryer and then I still used febreeze on them.  The febreeze really didn't improve them that much.
The whole thing was a lot of work; but better than throwing it all out.
Carefully read the ball bands if they are still attached for care
instructions and attach a small piece of each yarn  to them as you are
working otherwise you could have a lot of problems when you have deodorized your yarn.  Hope this helps a bit

* Dear Shirley,
To get the tobacco smell out of something I make, if I can stand the
smell to knit it up, I wash the garment after it is knit up. I also use
lots of fabric softener and also the fabric softener towels that go in
the dryer. Ugh! That nasty word dryer for hand knits. I have a tray and for most items I can block them on the tray. I pin a towel to the tray and block the item to the towel. I can have it dry in an hour or so.
Remembering, wool needs hair conditioner instead of fabric softener.
Yes, the shampoo and hair conditioner you wash your hair with does
great. I have yet to have any foul smelling anything stay in my
garments. I also agree with the Fabreeze sprayed into the bag to reduce the smell before it is knitted. Chris