How do I get fried chicken smell out of not-very-washable clothing items?
November 16, 2007 7:46 AM   Subscribe

How do I get fried chicken smell out of fabrics? I would just wash them, but two of them (a jacket and a shawl) aren't very washable.

We made fried chicken last night, and now everything we were wearing smells like fried chicken -- her jacket, my sweatshirt, and my shawl. This is making me really unhappy.

I Googled and searched AskMe and I am not getting anywhere. Baking soda? Vanilla extract? Coffee beans? Time? I'm not keen on Febreeze, but if someone tells me that's the only thing that works, I guess I'll do it.
posted by fiercecupcake to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dry cleaning.
posted by koeselitz at 7:47 AM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: I am very afraid to dry clean the shawl.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:51 AM on November 16, 2007

Dry cleaning.
posted by 517 at 7:52 AM on November 16, 2007

Best answer: If you can, hang the items outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Ozone will help eliminate the bad smells.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2007

posted by GuyZero at 8:08 AM on November 16, 2007

Best answer: Febreze does work really well. Just don't huff it like the people in the commercials (wtf btw). Fried chicken is a particularly tough odor that is often lingering because tiny beads of fry oil are actually hanging out on said garment. This is why it doesn’t air out as well as other odors. I also dislike febreze, but it works and it cheaper than dry cleaning. You also might try gentle hand washing, that can help release the smelly chicken oil.

Although you would smell delicious :)
posted by French Fry at 8:24 AM on November 16, 2007

What I do after a night of korean BBQ is to take a shower and hang my clothes inside my shower (but don't get them wet). The steam usually does a decent job of getting rid of smells. You may want to febreze your items first.

Also, Dryel seems to work well. Its essentially putting your items in a bag which go in the dryer set to blow air.
posted by mphuie at 9:01 AM on November 16, 2007

Maybe you could you stick them in a rubbermaid with some activated charcoal. This will absorb smell, but it won't do anything about the oily particles clinging to your clothing. If you are absolutely against washing/spraying the shawl in anyway, this and sunshine may be the way to go.

If the shawl is hand knitted, hence your reticence to wash it, try handwashing in a gentle cleanser as explained by this article. This suggested product sounds promising, if the shawl is knit from wool.

A last tip that won't work for your clothes; I spray my kitchen with Ozium every time I make wings to get rid of the greasy smell that otherwise lingers for days. Wings are just fried chicken with hot buttery sauce, so it might help your house smell better if that hasn't already faded.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:03 AM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. The shawl is hand-knitted out of many different yarns and has some beads and other embellishments on it, and is very large. I don't trust a dry cleaner with it, but I may end up handwashing it.

Right now I've got it and the jacket hanging on the balcony in the sun. I'm going to get some Febreeze and try that in a few hours, when I get home. I might try the shower suggestion, too.

The jacket'll probably just have to go to the cleaners.

Thank you for all your suggestions; I hadn't thought of these! I'll mark best answers when I get the smell out :]
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:13 AM on November 16, 2007

I do pub trivia every week in a very smoky bar (it's technically a "club" so it bypasses the smoking ban in my state). Afterwards I hang my coat outside on my porch. It takes a few days, but the smell goes away completely. If you do try leaving the shawl outside, make sure to be patient -- give it a week before doing anything rash like dry-cleaning.
posted by chowflap at 9:28 AM on November 16, 2007

I did stage tech work with the St. Petersburg Ballet many moons ago and the costume manager told me the absolute best way to keep the funk at bay was to take the cheapest nastiest vodka you could find, put it in a spray bottle and just mist the item with it. You don't want to get it dripping wet, but damp enough so that you can tell it's been misted. Let it dry and see if it's done the trick. If not, do it again.

She absolutely swore by this trick. It must work since there's no way they could afford to dry clean all those costumes on a regular basis. And believe me, those ballerinas were not raising their hands because they were Sure. :)
posted by dancinglamb at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2007

I haven't tried this, but some people swear by closing up clothes in a small room with a bunch of incense burning. I got the impression that this is more of a coverup than a cure.
posted by yohko at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2007

Au natural - hang-em outside in the wind and the sun - you would be surprised what UV rays can help with.
posted by jkaczor at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2007

Sun, breeze, one week.
posted by flabdablet at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: Following up: I Febreezed the scarf that day (great verb), since I didn't have much time and wanted it that weekend. The Febreeze did a great job of killing the fried chicken smell -- for awhile -- and replacing it with Febreeze smell, which is not horrible but not great either.

I waited for the Febreeze to fade, and it did just this weekend -- about two weeks later, I guess. And when it did? The fried chicken smell was back, albeit very faint.

So I've just washed it very carefully with Dr. Bronners in the bathtub, and it's drying in the living room. I think that will take care of it!

I don't know about the jacket yet. Last I smelled, it was a not-great combination of mostly Febreeze with a little chicken. Mmmmmm. Gotta work on that one.
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:21 PM on December 3, 2007

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