A down jacket, also known as the “puffer jacket” or just “puffer,” is an insulated winter coat, usually stuffed with goose or duck feathers.
These jackets can warm you up and make you feel comfy in wintertime, but unfortunately, they also absorb smells quite easily (especially if the feathers get wet).
If you’ve been around a campfire or in the company of smokers, your down jacket will probably have a lingering smoke smell for days or weeks.
In this article, we’ll share our knowledge on how to get the smoke smell out of a down jacket without damaging it.
How to Get the Smell of Smoke Out of a Down Jacket?
Some down jackets are suitable for machine washing, while others are not. We strongly recommend checking the manufacturer’s advice before putting the jacket into the washer or applying any chemicals.
When washing machines are out of the question or fail to remove the smell, the following tips may do the trick.
Air It Out
In most cases, it’s safe (and even recommended) to hang a down jacket outside for several hours to get some sunlight and fresh air. Unlike suede, leather, or silk, down jackets are not made of materials sensitive to atmospheric influence.
However, if the sun is too intense, you should not leave it under direct sunlight for too long because it might break down the dye. Just to be safe, turn it inside out to protect it.
After a couple of hours in the fresh air, your jacket is ready for stage two: treatment.
Down Cleaner Spray
Specialized cleaning sprays for down garments efficiently remove smoke smell particles. They should also be part of the regular maintenance of your down jacket because they improve the water-repellent features of these jackets and restore the protective performance of nylon.
You can try the Revivex liquid dedicated to odor elimination that works well with sports gear, down jackets, and camping gear. Plus, it also reliably removes the smoke smell.
Distilled white vinegar and water mixed in equal parts in a spraying bottle are the gold standard when it comes to DIY solutions in smoke smell treatments.
All you need to do is pour this solution into a spraying bottle and spray your jacket on both sides — inside and out. After this, hang the jacket and leave it to air dry.
You can use a few types of absorbers for smoke smell removal: baking soda, cat litter, activated charcoal, and cedar balls.
The baking soda recipe is the most practical solution, as most people already have it at home. There are two ways to use baking soda as a smoke-smell absorber.
The first one is to put the jacket into a large plastic bag, fill the bag with one or two packages of baking soda (depending on the size of the jacket), seal the bag, and let it sit for two or three days before you take out the jacket and clean it with a damp towel.
The other option is to put the baking soda into open-lid containers and leave it close to the jacket in a small closed space (for example, a closet or drawer) for a few days.
Activated charcoal is a powerful absorber that quickly neutralizes odors, including pet odor, smoke smell, mold, and even human waste.
You can use capsules, tablets, or powdered activated charcoal, depending on your preference and plans for future use.
Use the activated charcoal the same way as the baking soda.
Cat litter is designed to absorb unwanted odors, and you can exploit this feature for other purposes, like removing the smoke smell from a down jacket.
Apply it the same way as the baking soda, either by pouring it into the bag with the jacket or placing it in the open-lid containers close to the jacket in a closed space.
While lavender and citrus smells are considered the most successful at fighting odors, you should pick the scent of the litter that you find the most pleasant.
Cedar balls are another fantastic option for quickly removing the smoke smell from a down jacket.
All you need to do is place the balls into the pockets, hoodie, and other accessible places within the jacket and let it sit for a few days, isolated from other clothes. Then, take the balls out, and if the smell is still there, repeat the procedure, or give another absorber a shot.
Lemon Juice Solution
The lemon juice solution is similar to the vinegar and water solution. Still, since lemon juice alone is quite sticky and may damage the material, it’s a good idea to dilute it with water.
You should mix a half-squeezed lemon with a half gallon of water. If the jacket still feels sticky after the application, wipe it with a damp cloth and leave it to dry.
A steamer cleaner can be highly efficient at deodorizing your garments. If you own one, turn on the steamer and put it close to the inner part of the down jacket. Then, apply the steam and wait a bit. After a few minutes of steaming, the smell should be out, and the jacket should be ready to wear.
For this purpose, both large steam cleaners and handheld steamers are fine.
Dryer Run – No Heat
Another thing you can try is running your down jacket through the dryer on air without applying heat. You can add some dryer sheets to ensure the smell would be properly absorbed and replaced by a fresh and pleasant scent.
In addition to this solution is to add two or three tennis balls to the dryer machine to prevent the jacket from fluffing during the drying cycle.
DIY Dry Cleaning
If you can’t afford a professional cleaning service to remove the smoke smell from your down jacket, you can try a simple alternative with special DIY dry cleaning kits.
Simply purchase the DIY dry cleaning kit and follow the instructions. These kits are usually suitable for smell and stain removal and are a great option if your down jacket is not washing machine-friendly.
Most people think removing the smoke smell from their down jacket is difficult and tiresome. However, most down jackets can be washed in a washing machine, which is very helpful and makes further treatments much more effective.
But, if a washing machine is unsuitable for your down jacket, try airing it out before doing anything else.
If that doesn’t help, try odor absorbers, vinegar or lemon juice-based solutions, odor removal spray, or a steam cleaner. Finally, there are also DIY dry cleaning kits if the odor is persistent.