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How to remove fabric softener smell from clothes?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I let someone borrow my maternity clothes (big mistake) and she used a heavily scented fabric softener on them.  I don't use fabric softener.  I have a very sensitive sense of smell normally and it is way heightened during pregnancy.  I'm about ready to get into my maternity clothes again and I can't stand this smell.  I've tried a little bit of vinegar in the wash but it didn't seem to help too much.  I'm thinking of trying more vinegar and maybe even some baking soda. 


Any other ideas?

post #2 of 9

Sounds right. I put a lot of vinegar in when things stink, especially of artificial fragrances.

post #3 of 9

Fabric softener smells stick so well to clothing because the softeners are fat-based.  You will need to 'strip' all of the clothes that have the fabric softener smell.  Think of stripping cloth diapers... same concept.  I am so sorry this happened to you.  I, too, cannot tolerate the smell of fabric softeners.

post #4 of 9

If you go with the stripping concept, you might try a bit of Dawn dish detergent in the load.


Follow up with lots of vinegar in the rinse(s).

post #5 of 9

I had this problem when I got my mat clothes back from my sister and still have this problem with the baby clothes we've passed back and forth.  Short from boiling every last piece of clothing, I think just repeating washings and airing them out was the best I could do.  Vinegar did not seem to help at all, IME.  It was awful at first, as the smell of the clothes made me soooooooo nauseated when I was pregnant! Yuck!  The smell on DD's clothes doesn't bother me as bad, and usually by the time she's worn something a time or two, it's gone.

post #6 of 9

A family member knitted us all a scarf for the holidays and put them in a bag with a dryer sheet to keep the moths away.  Well, no moths...but only because the scarves stink!  The perfume is so strong it gives me a sick stomach.  


Thanks for the Dawn dish soap idea.  I have had good luck getting old stains out with dish soap, maybe I'll have similar luck on the scarves.  Otherwise they are going in the trash, maybe to Goodwill if I can get them out of the house quickly.  

post #7 of 9

Wash in hot as well.

post #8 of 9

I put the clothes from my mother-in-law (who uses about 3 times the recommended amount of fabric softener) outside for a while, probably a week, not sure if it is practical for you, but that seems to be the only thing that will cut it.  I also wash on hottest I can and lots of soap and vinegar rinse when I do wash.

post #9 of 9

My MIL likes to overdo the dryer sheets, fabric softener, candles etc.  Once we got back a suitcase she had stuck 10 dryer sheets in.  By the time I realized what she did we had to just toss the suitcase.  Then there was the time my SIL pulled a plug in out of her mom's fridge LOL  I generally will wash the clothing a couple of times at least.  Once all together and then I will wash one piece at a time with a full load of towels.  The towels seem to do the trick.  I only use towels to be used by DH or guests who do not mind a little fabric softener smell that might carry over.

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