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Cleaning old cloth napkins/dish cloths

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have some old cloth napkins (polyester/blend) that were my grandmother's and dish cloths (all cotton) that we use every day. I've noticed that my front-loader doesn't get them fresh-smelling, and if you sniff while they're still warm from the dryer, the napkins especially smell like old grease. It's very faint, and unnoticeable when we're using them at the table, but I don't like that they smell at all.


I've tried stripping them a la my cloth diaper routine (cold wash/rinse in vinegar, hot wash with detergent and borax or oxygen bleach, cold rinse with vinegar) but it doesn't work. We are going away for a few days and I'm considering throwing them all in the tub with some oxygen bleach to see if a long soak will help. (I'm not hopeful, but I don't know what else to do.)


Any ideas? Bonus points if you can get the stains out, too! ;-)

post #2 of 7

I'd wash them in a bucket with hot hot water and lots of dish soap.  Let soak a while then use a new (dollar store) plunger to agitate.


Could take a few rinses, but should at least get the grease out, and maybe the stains too.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I think I tried Dawn too, at some point, but maybe they do need a soak in hotter water than we get in the washer...

post #4 of 7

I tend to chuck mine in the washing up bowl with a small squirt of dish washing liquid and pour a kettle of boiling water over them. The leave them a couple of hours or even oven night before throwing them in with the next load of washing. It seems to help when they are looking a bit grungy.



post #5 of 7

I like BacOut for stink problems!

post #6 of 7

I love BacOut too. I use a squirt in my cloth diaper pail with some water and voila! No odor. You just have to be careful because it is an enzyme cleaner and I noticed it likes to dissolve the mess as well as the waterproof lining on my FuzziBunz diapers...

post #7 of 7

Hang them in the sun to dry.  It's amazing how clean and fresh smelling they'll be.  We only use cloth napkins and the sun always gets out the stains (think spaghetti sauce) that don't want to come out in the wash.

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