How to remove fabric softener smell from clothes? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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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?

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#2 of 9 Old 11-30-2010, 03:44 PM
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Sounds right. I put a lot of vinegar in when things stink, especially of artificial fragrances.

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#3 of 9 Old 12-06-2010, 07:10 AM
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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.

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#4 of 9 Old 12-06-2010, 07:45 AM
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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).

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#5 of 9 Old 12-06-2010, 07:49 AM
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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.

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#6 of 9 Old 12-06-2010, 03:13 PM
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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.  

Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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#7 of 9 Old 12-06-2010, 11:04 PM
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Wash in hot as well.

Doula mama to dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08) and expecting (Apr '17)
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#8 of 9 Old 12-19-2010, 06:27 PM
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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.

Stephanie married to Jerry  partners.gif  mama to  modifiedartist.gif (10) and superhero.gif(7) and 3rdtri.gif
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#9 of 9 Old 12-20-2010, 11:37 AM
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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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