How to get fabric softener smell out of clothes? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got my maternity clothes back from my sister and after sitting in storage for six months and having been washed three times, they still WREAK of her disgustingly strong smelling fabric softener.

The smell completely nauseates me, to the point that I cannot wear them, even after washing them three times. How am I going to get the smell out?

Is there something I can soak them in? Baking soda?
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#2 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 01:54 PM
 
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Can you hang them out? A good sunny day might help a great deal.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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add vinegar to the next wash, and hang to dry outside in the sun.
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#4 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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I had a shirt from a thrift store (all the clothes from there smell like fabric softener) that I wore while playing outside with ds for several hours. The fresh air and sun really helped in a way just washing doesn't.

But I wonder if adding vinegar or baking soda to the wash would help. I had a really musty feather blanket that I washed several times without the smell going away. Then I dumped a lot of baking soda into the wash and that finally got rid of the smell.

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#5 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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ugh! I CAN'T stand clothes that are saturated with fabric softener. It literally makes me ill, too.

I had a comforter given to DS that took several hot washes with charlies soap, vinegar and eventually baking soda to get rid of the smell and rinse the nasty fabric softener out. I almost gave up and got rid of it! but I kept washing it and eventually it stopped reeking. Clothing should be easier since it's thinner fabric and the fibers hopefully won't hold it in as long.

Good luck!

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#6 of 18 Old 03-25-2009, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bleh. Just thinkinga bout having to smell it to wash the clothes again makes me ill.

I will try a BS soak and a vinegar rinse and see what that does for me. I don't have a line to dry outside and I live in a wind tunel so I worry they would fly right away if I just put them on the fence... but man! I can't believe how long that crap stays in fabric!

The thing that gets me is that everyone in my sis' fam has sensitive skin and/or eczema. I called and told her about the wonders of free and clear laundry soap and dryer balls!
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#7 of 18 Old 03-27-2009, 09:53 AM
 
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Sun & air & time.
My MIL goes over the top with that stuff and anytime we forget clothing at her house she washes it and returns the item smelling like "a fresh ocean breeze" LOL not. Once she gave us back a suitcase she borrowed. Unknown to us she had put dryer sheets into it. A couple months later we went to use it and I about fell over from the smell when I opened it. I should have realized she would do that. She alone keeps the home scent industry alive. She has been known to even put plug ins in the fridge.
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#8 of 18 Old 03-29-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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If you don't want to rewash, toss them in the dryer with a wash cloth or two with vingear (dip in to saturate, ring out so damp). Put them through a medium-short cycle and it should take care of it.
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#9 of 18 Old 03-29-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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I often have this problem.... most of our clothes are from thrift store or hand me downs.
I finally found that vinegar in wash and rinse cycle will get the smell out.
Good luck, it nauseates me too!!
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#10 of 18 Old 03-29-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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another vote here for vinegar! we are total thrift store shoppers too. some items have smelt so strong, i dump a gallon of vinegar in a 5 gallon bucket with h20 and then soak the items overnight, or longer.

lucyem - is your mil my aunt? she does everything you describe, *plus* she has potpourri crockpots in literally every room in her house. she also sprays febreeze on EVERYTHING. including her dog. it is truly disgusting and nauseating. and she's always wondering why she gets so many headaches. proctor gamble would go out of business i'm sure if she ever went all-natural.
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#11 of 18 Old 03-30-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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Calgon. If that doesn't work, nothing will. Sun, rain, oxy, vinegar, washing soda, borax, dry milk, baking soda, simple green. Calgon usually works and its scent washes out easily. If Calgon doesn't work, I give up and donate.

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#12 of 18 Old 04-09-2012, 03:35 PM
 
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I use a community washing machine, and even though it's a small blding w/only a few tennants, someone recently started using copious amounts of this wicked, evil stuff (seriously, why is it even legal?).  I scrubbed out the container that the fs  goes in  with H202 till there was no visible trace, but the smell still lingered on the plastic, and my clothes STILL wreak!  I will try the vinegar and baking soda...Please pray for me:)  Oh, PS.  I've hung the clothes out on the line in the sun and WIND storm, and still...

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#13 of 18 Old 04-10-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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oh it is so horrible isn't it? it is the hardest thing about shopping on e-bay and in thrift stores, which i love to do. besides the fact that it makes me physically ill, the chemicals are very toxic. 

 

we wash a few times with vinegar and baking soda and then hang out on the line in the sun and hopefully some rain.....for a few days...really hard to get the stink out.....


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#14 of 18 Old 05-13-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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For really tough cases of fabric softener smell, I put the offending item in a plastic 5 gallon bucket, and dump a gallon of white vinegar on it and let it soak for 1-3 days. Wash and dry. Sometimes the item of clothing may fade a bit, but if it stinks, we wouldn't wear it anyway so I don't care if something fades a bit.
 


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#15 of 18 Old 05-13-2012, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2allyson View Post

I use a community washing machine, and even though it's a small blding w/only a few tennants, someone recently started using copious amounts of this wicked, evil stuff (seriously, why is it even legal?).  I scrubbed out the container that the fs  goes in  with H202 till there was no visible trace, but the smell still lingered on the plastic, and my clothes STILL wreak!  I will try the vinegar and baking soda...Please pray for me:)  Oh, PS.  I've hung the clothes out on the line in the sun and WIND storm, and still...


Uggg.  I would rather handwash diapers than use a communal washing machine for this exact reason. 

 

I second the soak-it-with-vinegar-for-24-hours method.  It might still take a couple of tries, but I find that it takes a lot less water and effort to get the smell out if I patiently let things soak.

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#16 of 18 Old 06-24-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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Thanks for the answers and options! I was about to try a vinegar wash and thought I'd look for confirmation before doing wasting another wash. I'm new to thrift store shopping and have been buying clothing and bed sheets from one location over the last month or so and virtually everything reeks of fabric softener.

 

The thrift store smells of it and other odors just enough that I can't detect the smell on clothing while there. I even asked a volunteer recently if they store items with dryer sheets and they said no. What I find surprising and alarming is how many people on this thread also have the fabric softener problem with thrift store purchases. I guess that an awful lot of people are enamored with fake-smelling, toxic, carcinogenic chemicals? I'm sensitive/allergic to the airborne fabric softener toxins and have to run around closing windows when some neighbors do laundry.

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#17 of 18 Old 04-24-2014, 04:32 PM
 
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If they used fabric softener sheets, do know that WAX is holding the smell in the clothes.  So, when you rare treating your clothes for chemical scent over-kill, use hot, hot water, and redo them many times with whatever it is you  hope might save the piece of clothing.  

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#18 of 18 Old 07-08-2014, 02:17 AM
 
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Wash it with warm water and with a fragrance detergent. Warm water clean it completely and detergent will give a nice fragrance. I you don't find it good for you, then put your clothes with fluorine tablets for some times. It will definitely help you.
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