This old quilt: Help! Nicotine Stains!!!

I got this question from Ali P in the comments of the first installment of This Old Quilt:

I am in need of advice from you and Mr.Peabody: I have been laundering 2 of my grandmother’s quilts. One is looking mighty fine and does not smell like cigarette anymore (my mom and Dad are big smokers). The other is terribly stained by nicotine. I have tried washing soda soaks, long sessions in the front loading washer, laundry bar soap applied to the stains and then soaking again, and today’s stinky and futile treatment with Lestoil. Next attempts will be with peroxide applied to the stains.

HELP!! Do you guys know of a way to get out nicotine stains???

Well that’s quite the pickle. I personally don’t have huge stain removing experience, especially with nicotine being a non-smoker. Consulting with Mr. Peabody we came up with suggesting visiting a dry cleaner with the quilt in question, or leave the stains as they are. I wouldn’t want to use harsh bleaches or peroxides on a quilt as it will deteriorate the fabrics and damage the long term life of your quilt.

A little google-fu has turned up this ehow suggestion:

Thing you’ll need

  • Sponge
  • Wet spot cleaning solution
  • White vinegar
  • Cotton pad or cloth
  • Laundry detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Castile soap

Making Dry and Wet Spot Cleaning Solutions

  1. Make a dry spot cleaning solution to remove nicotine stains by mixing one part coconut oil and eight parts liquid dry-cleaning solution.
  2. Mix one part glycerin, one part white dishwashing detergent and eight parts water to create a wet spot cleaning solution.
  3. Store your dry and wet spot cleaning solutions in tightly capped bottles to prevent evaporation.

Removing the Stains

  1. Remove nicotine stains from rayon, acrylic, nylon, polyester or spandex clothing by dampening the stained area with a sponge, applying gentle strokes beginning at the center of the stain and working outward. Apply a few drops of wet spot cleaner and a few drops of vinegar directly on top of the stain. Cover the stain with a cotton pad or cloth and allow the pad to set, picking up the stain. Keep the stain most until it disappears, then flush the area with water and wash as normal.
  2. Clean nicotine stains on “dry-clean only” clothing by using a dry spot cleaning solution. Dampen the stained area with a sponge and dry spot cleaner, applying the same gentle outward motion. Allow the solution to set for five minutes. After five minutes, dab the area gently with a cotton pad or cloth, repeating until the stain is removed. Hang the clothing to dry thoroughly.
  3. Combine 1 qt. of warm water and 1/2 tsp. of liquid laundry detergent to remove nicotine stains from cotton or linen clothing. Soak the clothing in the mixture for 15 minutes before ringing out the excess water. Sponge the stained area with rubbing alcohol until the stain is removed, and launder as normal.
  4. Mix one part liquid castile soap and four parts warm water to remove nicotine stains from leather or suede. Stir the soap and water mixture briskly until it forms a heavy foam. Apply the foam only to a sponge, and gently rub the stained area, beginning at the center and working outward. When the stain has been lifted, hang the clothing to dry thoroughly.

I think with a lot of patience, these instructions could work without compromising the integrity of the quilt’s fabric. Though the rubbing alcohol makes me a little wary, I think I’d use it with a very light touch as a last resort.

I hope that helps!

One thought on “This old quilt: Help! Nicotine Stains!!!”

  1. Thanks,lady! After all the things I have tried I think I am just about finished and will let the remaining stains stay. I showed Mr.Peabody the stains yesterday and illustrated how dark they had been previously compared to now. He figured I might just have to accept them.
    I am so excited you answered my query!!! Thanks again.

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