More Un-Glam Advice for Glam Queens: How to Neutralize Cigarette Smoke Odors in Belly Dance Costumes

Some of you may be familiar with that new costume aroma. You open a parcel from some exotic faraway locale, pull out your new custom-designed costume, and inhale the intoxicating scent of sequins, status….and stale cigarette smoke? Yuck.

As a non-smoker with a very sensitive nose, you bet I was miffed when this happened to me the other day. Quick! I thought. What would Bhuz do? What would Twitter do?

Happily, my good belly-friend from the Twin Cities Anjela saved the day with some awesome odor neutralizing tips from her seamstress friend Laurie Olson Williams. Because these tips work like a charm – and you never know when you might need them, here they are!

  • Hang it up outside and air it out. Even in the cold, this should work wonders! For all of you Connecticut people, just apply common sense and beware of the dreaded “wintry mix.”
  • Hang up the costume and burn your favorite scented incense underneath it. This was one of my favorite tips, as smoke has its own cleansing properties and this will leave behind a lovely fragrance on your costume. I love Auroshikha incense in African Violet, available at the health food or New Age store.
  • Spray a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part vodka onto the underside of the fabric.  (So spray on the inside of the bra, and turn the skirt inside out and spray the “wrong” side of the fabric.)  Just make sure to do a spot test on an armband or other inconspicuous part of the costume, because there is a possible risk of discoloration with this method. You never know what might discolor sequins with a holographic finish! (Connoisseur’s Note: Cheap vodka will work just fine, but if you’re under some stress due to the smell of your costume, you may want to splurge on some Grey Goose or Ketel One and make yourself a chichi martini of choice.)
  • Store your costume with any of the following odor neutralizers and pretty-scented things: a sock filled with kitty litter, a sachet of dried lavender and baking soda, a dryer sheet. If you use the dryer sheet, make sure it doesn’t come into contact with the fabric.
  • If all else fails, be prepared to give that bad boy a bath!

And you know what they say about an ounce of prevention. If you find yourself performing in smoky nightclubs or in hookah lounges, you might want to spring for a reliable “workhorse” costume and save your Bella bling for cleaner venues!

Edited to Add: For even more tips, plus advice on cleaning and storing your costumes to keep them fresh, please check out this great article from Removing Odors from Smelly Belly Dance Costumes.

Anyone else care to share some good tips for defunktifying your belly dance costumes?


Comments · 2

  1. I have one of my costumes a bath after I bought it, and it was a godsend. (It was a good deal but came with – EW – blood stains), and it came out *perfectly”. I think the trick is to be aware of the affects of gravity. i.e., if it’s wet, don’t let all that wet, weighted-down fabric hang vertically.

  2. Bathing a costume sounds much scarier than it really is! I always hate when you buy a new costume and it’s grungy – either from smoke or a stain. One of the reasons I stopped buying Emans is because she uses ball-point pen to mark off where the design motifs go. Tacky!

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