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My grandmother made crotched pineapple design double bed coverlets for each of her children when they got married. My mother never used it and gave it to me long after my father had passed. I decided to save it and placed it in my hope chest. Now eighty plus year's later, I would like to use it in my craft room, but don't know how to get the rid of the smell. Should I gently wash it and hang dry or take it to the dry cleaners to see if they can help?
Thanks.
 

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I'm not sure, but someone on this form, when I had moth ball smell, said to put the yarn in the freezer, and it worked. Of course I had it in a bag.. but I left it for a few days. Cedar isn't as nasty a smell, so maybe it will work, or just let it air out. Many suggestions were to place in the sun our out side.. Hope this works and that you have room for them in the freezer.
 

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Let's see, you have a crocheted coverlet that sounds like it is nearly a century old that smells like cedar. No, do not take it to a dry cleaners, they are not equipped to handle heirloom textiles. I would even hesitate to gently wash it unless you wash it by hand. Let me suggest that you contact the conservation department of the nearest museum or university with a fine arts department and ask their recommendations for this. I suspect that you may find that the fibers may be fragile at this point and any strenuous cleaning may damage it beyond the point of repair. I, myself, have hand laundered some antique fabrics in Eucalan and laid them on a clean sheet on the lawn to dry, with a second sheet over them to protect them from bird bombs. I've had to support the fabric from below to lift it when wet and been very careful in opening it up and letting it dry. If you are older, it may be worthwhile to have someone help you if you decide to do this yourself. I'd love to see a photo of it, though.
 

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My mother had a cedar chest. In the winter, she took out the wooly things and hung them outside to air out. That worked fine. But if something has been in a cedar chest for a very long time, I'm not sure if this would be enough.
 

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crispie said:
Found this on Google search; hope it helps: http://www.getsmellout.com/how-to-get-rid-of-cedar-smell/
Sorry but I don't agree entirely with some of the advice given on this site.

First off you want the cedar smell that's why closets are lined with it so why go to great lengths to weaken the cedar smell, it's doing it's thing--keeping insects (more than just moths) from eating your clothes. Clothes stored in these closets are usually wool/silk suits or dresses and will need dry cleaning after to freshen and remove the cedar smell or in this case for linens soak in diluted vinegar and wash.

And the following for removing the smell from fabrics, yes, vinegar in your wash will take care of--good advice, and an enzyme spray from the pets store is okay and will get rid of the smell but needs to be washed out. Another idea, if you don't mind using chemicals, is spray sold in auto supply stores where you spray a cloth or paper towel with the product then put it into a plastic bag or box with the item you want to remove the smell from for 24-48 hours--it works for stinky purses and other items you can't immerse into water--originally sold to remove smokers smell from used autos.
 

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If it's that old do NOT put it in the washing machine. I did that with a doily that my grandmother had made when she was a teenager. I washed it and it fell apart. I was very upset with myself because it was something I wanted to keep. Now it's in shreds. If airing it outside doesn't work, just get used to the smell. Maybe after a while, it will dissipate.
 

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The first part of the linked site was about how to tone down the cedar smell, but as Ask4j said, that's what we need to repel bugs.
The second part about using vinegar, enzyme sprays, etc. may work with clothing that is stored for a much shorter time than the OP's crocheted piece, but with an item like hers I wouldn't dare!

I would start with the simplest methods first.

First, I would try airing it outdoors. I would take it indoors for the night and hang it outside for a second day, if necessary.

Second, I would put it on a clean tray and freeze it, as someone else suggested. Thaw it completely before touching it.

Third, I would carefully wet a small corner of it and gently, very gently, stretch the wet area to see how it reacts to water. If the material seems strong enough, I would go to-

Fourth, since I have an older, top loading washer, I would run enough lukewarm or perhaps body temperature water in the washer to cover the crocheted item. I would add a tiny bit of liquid detergent, swish it around to distribute it, and then lower the crochet piece into the water, and let it soak for a few minutes. DO NOT AGITATE!!! If the piece is tolerating the soaking, set the dial to spin. Spin out the water. Remove the piece and smell it to see if the odor is gone. If the piece comes out well, with no bad weak areas, I might repeat the soaking and washing if there is still an odor. Run more water in the tub and put the item in this rinse water, swish it a bit, then spin.

If these gentle methods don't work, I'm not sure if I would do anything more to it. It's so old and precious that I wouldn't risk it.

I would hesitate to use much vinegar, as it is so acidic it could cause problems.
 

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This is slightly off topic. I once received a gift baby dress for my daughter but by the time I received it she was already too big to fit into it.
I put it in the cedar chest, as it was wool, and kept it to give the next baby girl born by a friend or relative.
It was there a few months and the opportunity came up to give it away. I suppose I should have washed it but didn't and it smelt of cedar.
The new baby's mother did thank me, verbally, but in doing so mentioned the smell.
She had several more babies after that but I didn't bother giving her anything else.
I think that is what is called looking a gift horse in the mouth.
 

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I would start by laying it flat on a table outside on a warm, sunny day and leave it out there all day. If there is still some smell left after you bring it in, put it outside again a second day. I find that sundhine and lots of fresh air are an amazing way to get rid of odors. If that doesn't completely work, I would then try the vinegar method mentioned on the site that was posted. Good luck.
 

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crispie said:
Found this on Google search; hope it helps: http://www.getsmellout.com/how-to-get-rid-of-cedar-smell/
This is a solution to get rid of the smell in the closet, not in items stored there.

I would hang a bedspread on an outside clothesline or - if none is available - lay it on outside chairs - or if not possible (like if living in an apartment building that has no such opportunities) - simply run it for awhile in a dryer with a sheet of Downy.

Its important to handle it gently because of its age. I would NOT trust a dry cleaner or anyone else simply because of its heritage.
 

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Hanging an 80+ year old coverlet, ladies, is NOT a good idea. The strain on the fibers from the weight of the item, wet or dry, is very likely to cause breaks in the threads. Putting it in a dryer is similarly likely to damage it from the pounding against the sides and vanes of the dryer can break fibers. If anything, use a drying rack that will allow some support under the item by draping it over multiple rods to carry the weight more evenly. I would still recommend laying on the lawn or a porch on a sheet or two to air out, sun, or dry. Again, with a fabric of this age I would strongly recommend consulting a museum conservator, a university's fine arts division, or the conservator of a living history museum about appropriately cleaning and using this heirloom.
 

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I also love the smell of cedar but it makes me sneeze and it can be overwhelming in a craft room. Everybody has made good suggestions. Start with the least potentially damaging technique and go for it. Sunshine is easy and charcoal is used in commercial filters. Do you have a vegetable sieve for the charcoal? You could fill the sieve with charcoal, cover the top with plastic wrap then turn it upside down over your heirloom. Put both items in an open container on the porch to air. The charcoal should work in a few days. Barbeque briquettes with lighter fluid in them are not the kind you want. Use commercial charcoal for odor absorption.
 

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Long before there were automatic washing machines and chemical cleaners people would freshen items by laying them out in the sun on the grass. If you are worried about sun fade or "bird bombs" I would cover it with a sheet. I believe it was something between the sun and the photosynthesis process that help to eliminate the long storage smells. I read articles that said many items were freshened this way, even carpets and especially quilts. Any white item needing brightening was always placed on the grass in the sun. I even found an old photo of a delicate lace shawl being blocked by staking it out in the grass.
 
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