Doll Care and Repairs / Other Tricks & Tools

How to Remove Cigarette Odour from your Dolls

I hope you are happy.  My wife has been on this journey.  I think she calls it a “girl’s journey” or something nonsensically familiar.  Anyways, in the past year, Meg has “rescued” forsaken dolls, with frizzy, dry hair, has surgically removed limbs to restring and transplant doll hair and many other doll repair adventures.  After many dirty, muddy dolls have gone through Journey Girls extreme makeover, I thought I had seen it all.  Don’t get me wrong; I love Meg and I think she likes me too despite the one or two dolls that stare at me from the window each night.  Once you read this article, you’ll understand.

I found Meg on the computer searching for something on Kijiji.  

“Whatcha doing?”  

“I have this awesome idea”  

“What is it?”

“I’m gonna get a doll and make her smell like smoke.”

You know, I try to be a good husband, so I didn’t share how I’d like to make the doll smell like smoke (it also involves outside and a match, heh heh).  Anyways, Meg is off on her adventure to get a doll, make it smell like cigarettes then, take the smell out.  Just so you know, when Meg says she tested the smell, she means she asked me to smell it.  Victory does not come without sacrifices.  As you read, just remember me.  

Thanks for the intro Ed, such a great husband, huh? 🙂

As Ed mentioned I was left with the task of trying to find a doll from a smoking home.  I started my search on Kijiji, the place where all my good searches begin.  Alas, I couldn’t find a single doll that wasn’t listed from a “smoke-free home”, darn it!

I decided that I would buy any cheap doll secondhand, and ask one of smoker friends to keep it at their house for a while.  However, none of my smoker friends smoke inside their homes!  How was I going to get a doll with a cigarette smoke smell???

At that time, my Newberry Doll Review post was attracting some attention so I secured a cheap Newberry doll from Kijiji as my test subject, as we were starting getting more in-depth questions about these dolls.  As I approached the house to pick up the doll, I was welcomed by the aroma of cigarettes.  You cannot imagine my delight as I took the doll out to my van, and confirmed in that smoke-fee environment that yes, in fact this doll did smell like cigarette smoke!


Now that the challenge was before me, I was ready to get to work!  This is my Newberry Katie, before her treatment.  I know you can’t see it in the photo, but she did indeed smell like cigarette smoke.


First, I had my daughter wash her hair with sulphate-free shampoo.  Since she has rooted hair, we were able to wash right down to her scalp.  If you are doing this with a wigged doll, try to avoid getting the wig cap wet.


Next Dee-dee and I headed to Walmart.  I had heard of the wonders of Kitty Litter in removing the smell of cigarettes from dolls, but the price stopped me in my tracks.  This was the smallest box of kitty litter that I could find and it was more than I spent on the doll!  Not only that, we don’t own a cat, what was I supposed to do with the other 6+ kgs of kitty litter???


Instead I opted for the Arm & Hammer carpet odour eliminator, as it was less than half the price, and I knew I could put it to good use after this project.


Once I was home I sprinkled the odour eliminator on Katie, and sealed her in a plastic bag for about two weeks.  After the two weeks were up, I took her out, dusted the powder off her, and gave her a sniff.  The smell was certainly lessened, but still present.

Since our Katie doll doesn’t have eyes that open and close, we didn’t cover them.  If you are trying this method on  a doll with eyes that open and close, be sure to cover the eyes.  You don’t want any dust to get inside and block the mechanism!

Now comes the best part!


I did a bit more research and read about this method online.  I mixed 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup water, dampened a white cloth in this mixture and wiped it lightly over Katie’s body.  Of course if you are trying this on a doll with eyes that open and close be sure to avoid the eyes.


Next I placed her in front a fan to dry.


Unfortunately I could still smell the smoke on her, so unto the next step.  I mixed 1/4 cup alcohol with 1/4 cup water, damped the same white cloth in this mixture and wiped it lightly over Katie’s body.  Again be sure to be careful, around your doll’s eyes if they open and close.


Once I again I placed Katie in front of a fan to dry.

The smell of the cigarette smoke was completely gone from her vinyl, but I could still smell it on her torso.


So I wrapped her head in a towel to protect it, and placed her inside a mesh laudry bag (a pillowcase would work well too) and washed her on the gentle cycle in my washing machine with a few blankets.  I also dried her on delicate as well.  I wanted to make sure that she was completely dry so I placed her in front of the fan once again.

Had she been a doll with eyes that open and close, I definitely would not have done this.  If you are trying this with a doll whose eyes open and close, you need to remove her head before placing her in the wash.  Also if you are able, remove the arms and legs too, so you are just washing the torso, and the stuffing.  If you are just washing a torso, be sure to use a mesh laundry bag, as you don’t want stuffing all over your washer and dryer.

Once she was all dry, I could hardly believe my nose, the smell was gone!!!  I had done it!


But Katie had a little surprise of her own… under that cute pink coat, she had cute blue arms!  Please learn from my mistakes, always, always thoroughly inspect your doll prior to purchasing!


This is where you will find Katie today, (sorry Ed) I can’t back away from a challenge.


12 thoughts on “How to Remove Cigarette Odour from your Dolls

    • I bet you right, I just didn’t have the option of fresh air with the below freezing temperatures outside. If I ever have a doll that needs treatment during the warmer months, I will give it a try!😊. Thanks for stopping by!


    • I believe it would have it I had had more patience, after the first week there was a marked improvement. I just didn’t want to keep her in a bag any longer, patience is not my virtue 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I had an issue with Kanani when I got her, she smelled very musty, like she had been stored in a damp place for an extended period of time. I tried a number of things, and while I could get the smell out of her hair and torso, the vinyl had absorbed the smell and didn’t want to let go. I did several things, but she still smelled. Eventually over time the smell went away, but it took quite a while. So in a worst case scenario, just airing them out sometimes will work, but it takes a bit of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: How to Remove Shine Marks from Your Dolls | Canadian Doll Notebook

  3. I currently have a Sasha baby that I got off ebay and, no where did it mention that this came from a smoker. EWWW
    I now have to find Oxi odor remover whice I used on my son in laws bike clothing. what mircial this stuff is.

    The next time you have a ciarette doll.
    Remove the head if possible as not to damage the open/ close eyes and, use the Oxi odor remover in a bucket of water and, soak the doll body limbs and,all in this for over night this should remove her stink.
    As for the blue markings try 10% benzol peroxide AKA pimple cream.
    Do not get this on faberic but, after three to for applications this will remove ink, sharpie and, dye bleeding into the dolls body.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: March Tip of the Month: Smells & Stains Part Two – Dolls, Dolls, Dolls

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