removing fabric softener odor in used clothing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 03-30-2007, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hit the jackpot at Goodwill recently but the whole lot of clothes STINKS of fabric softener. I've washed twice already, the second time with baking soda and vinegar, and they still stink. It's like I never even washed them! How do I get the smell out? Advice? TIA
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#2 of 30 Old 03-30-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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Calgon boxed water softener
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#3 of 30 Old 03-31-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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Oh I hate that! I've had that happen too - it is so strange it can go through the wash a couple of times and still have the smell -yuck!

Anyway, it seems to come out eventually and I think vinegar in the rinse might help some. If you figure out some magic, please post it!

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#4 of 30 Old 03-31-2007, 09:54 AM
 
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Goodwill stench is in a class of its own. I'm about to try Calgon after the following have failed:
oxyclean, washing soda, borax, baking soda, vinegar, dry milk, salt, sunlight, time, hot water, cold water, nekkid ritual chanting

I'll let you know how it works once I figure out where to buy it.

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#5 of 30 Old 03-31-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocelyndale View Post
nekkid ritual chanting


why bother with clothes, when there is nekkid ritual chanting???
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#6 of 30 Old 04-01-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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That's my *only* gripe about our favorite consignment shop. The killer is when folks wash/dry organic cotton clothing with that stuff :

Anyway, I've found adding vinegar, plus an extra "rinse/spin" cycle helps!
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#7 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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I have some clothes I got for my son from an aquaintance, and the smell has *never* come out entirely -- even after a good year of weekly washing, although I admit I didn't try anything extraordinary. In my case, it's not an offensive smell, but I have been amazed at how persistent it is! The only thing that bugs me about it is that they don't smell like "our" clothes, kwim?

Good luck getting the smell out. I'm curious to see if the calgon works, since we do buy lots of consignment shop/Goodwill clothing.

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#8 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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Oh, oh, oh, I know this one! Put a cup of ammonia in the wash water. Stinks like crazy (never mix with bleach!), but ammonia cuts oil/grease/wax, and the fabric softener smell sticks because fabric softener puts a waxy substance into the fibers of the fabric. Ammonia cuts through it. Ammonia will break up any greasy stain: breastmilk, mayo, engine grease, the dark stains on the sheets from sweaty sleep, etc. I used straight ammonia and a wire brush to clean a huge grease stain on our front porch. I dropped a glass bottle of vinaigrette dressing when I was bringing in groceries and ammonia cut right through it.

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#9 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ammonia??? I have to LOL, my mother is with ammonia like the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding was with Windex, and I have long since purged it from my home.

Do you think it might affect the color of clothing? These are mostly Gymboree, brightly colored, some with sequins or appliques, and I'd hate to ruin them.
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#10 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by myniyer View Post
Ammonia??? I have to LOL, my mother is with ammonia like the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding was with Windex, and I have long since purged it from my home.

Do you think it might affect the color of clothing? These are mostly Gymboree, brightly colored, some with sequins or appliques, and I'd hate to ruin them.

That's funny. I couldn't stand to use it on anything other than laundry because of the smell. I once stripped an ancient tile floor using ammonia and I felt like I was gonna die from the fumes!

Ammonia doesn't affect the colors at all. I've used it on all colors, all fabrics, and never had a problem.

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#11 of 30 Old 04-04-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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Anyway, I've found adding vinegar, plus an extra "rinse/spin" cycle helps!
Yea us too. Thats how I get our stubborn smells out..

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#12 of 30 Old 04-05-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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I've recently found that after the second wash the smell is almost gone. I use the fels naptha homemade laundry type soap and line dry. I think the line drying really helps. Of course, this is a recent discovery and it has been so dry here it's possible that a layer of pollen is covering up any smell the clothes ever had.....it's horrible here. I can't wait for rain!

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#13 of 30 Old 04-05-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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I may be boo'd but one of the hardest things for me to except with green clean is I can't get that fs smell like I remember and love from my childhood. : It's funny you all think it stinks. Oh well, to each, his own.
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#14 of 30 Old 04-06-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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I may be boo'd but one of the hardest things for me to except with green clean is I can't get that fs smell like I remember and love from my childhood.
I used to love my Downey smell. I was a real softener snob. But, now...after years of not using it, I can't stand the smell. And, thinking about how it coats the fabric (and therefore, skin) disgusts me, as well. Have you ever cleaned softener out of the agitator cup? *barf*

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#15 of 30 Old 04-06-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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my mom does my laundry and except for teh towels she uses a dryer sheet! I got my blanket and sheet back and they STINK so bad I will have to try your suggestions...ick...

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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#16 of 30 Old 04-10-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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I usually just run a pre-wash with washing soda and then an extra rinse at the end -- 90% of the time, this does the trick.

Outside drying also helps.
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#17 of 30 Old 04-10-2007, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocelyndale View Post
Goodwill stench is in a class of its own. I'm about to try Calgon after the following have failed:
oxyclean, washing soda, borax, baking soda, vinegar, dry milk, salt, sunlight, time, hot water, cold water, nekkid ritual chanting

I'll let you know how it works once I figure out where to buy it.
I don't live too far from you, and I can get in Giant (the grocery store) It's on the end of the laundry aisle near the bottom in a Cascade-like box, with a pourer spout. I have hard water and was looking for it for months for CD stink....it didn't help for that BTW, but it did get my towels super fluffy and soft after putting it in the wash with them. Apparently it does remove buildup from clothes, but it doesn't kill bacteria, which I'm pretty sure was our CDing problem.

Try giant, or try the calgon website and do the store locater thing.

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#18 of 30 Old 04-10-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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I find that the smell usually comes out in a few washes.
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#19 of 30 Old 04-10-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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So I used Calgon. I think it stinks worse than the fabric softener smell. Now I get to see if the Calgon smell will come out in a few washes. The Calgon didn't say that it was fragranced--I'm rather miffed. :

(Note: the fabric softener/goodwill smell has not come out in a dozen soaks/washes and various drying/sunning methods)

Life sucks for the chemically sensitive, but this is just ridiculous. I may have to step up the nekkid ritual chanting. Good thing this babe is being born at the start of the ridiculously hot season.

Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.

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#20 of 30 Old 07-11-2007, 02:39 PM
 
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wanted to return to this thread and say VINEGAR!!!

I got a box of baby clothes from a good friend (well, plastic bin w/ lid) and the smell of STALE fabric softnener was making me gag. i washed twice, no dice. then i remembered my vinegar! i put at least a quart of vinegar in the wash and it smelled so much better. repeat w/ another quart and the smell is gone.
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#21 of 30 Old 07-11-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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You may also want to try Sportswash. They sell it in the camping/hunting section at Walmart. It's whole purpose is to neutralize odors on hunting clothes. If you search the diapering forum you'll come up with lots of info on it too.

Holly
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#22 of 30 Old 07-11-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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i have sportswash but it isn't what i used to wash. next time!
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#23 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 02:08 AM
 
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Good old fashion wind and sunshine have done it for me. My MIL always buys clothes for DS and then prewashes them with horrific smelling fabric softener so I do this pretty frequently.
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#24 of 30 Old 07-12-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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Charlies soap.
it gets EVERYTHING out of the fibers.
i usually do two warm or hot washes (depending on what i am getting the stink out of) plus an extra rinse and then a line dry for those stinky clothes. i wont put them in the dryer until they dont stink like other peoples nasty detergent and fabric softener.

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#25 of 30 Old 07-18-2007, 12:01 PM
 
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Ditto. It works great!

The only thing is to get a good quality white vinegar that doesn't leave a residue. It is a natural softener. I use it on all my loads during the last rinse, 1/4 cup or less per load suffices. For adult clothing, I also add a couple of drops of an essential oil like peppermint or lavender.

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Anyway, I've found adding vinegar, plus an extra "rinse/spin" cycle helps!
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#26 of 30 Old 07-18-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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I have to add to the vinegar solution...

It works much better if you soak the clothes over night in a solution of vinegar and water in your bath tub. Agitate it occasionally and then wash with a natural laundry soap like Biokleen or Shaklee. I add essential oils (just a couple drops) to the rinse cycle. This also works for new clothes smell!!!!

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#27 of 30 Old 07-18-2007, 01:00 PM
 
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Haven't read too far ahead yet.

Our towels stank so bad after a while that I didn't know what to do! Then I remembered that a good sunning always gets the stink out of the cloth diapers. So every so often I will skip the dryer and sun the towels. I can't for the life of me get them soft that way, so it's only for disinfecting/airing purposes. I know that this is a totally different stink, but maybe a good sunning and airing could do the trick?

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#28 of 30 Old 07-25-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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When my DH was doing the laundry, it would invariably stink when moisture would make contact with it and towels were really nasty. The only difference was that he was doing one less rinse and using more soap than I was. After retraining DH , the laundry smells great.

You could try an extra rinse; sunny days are not always in season


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Haven't read too far ahead yet.

Our towels stank so bad after a while that I didn't know what to do! Then I remembered that a good sunning always gets the stink out of the cloth diapers. So every so often I will skip the dryer and sun the towels. I can't for the life of me get them soft that way, so it's only for disinfecting/airing purposes. I know that this is a totally different stink, but maybe a good sunning and airing could do the trick?
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#29 of 30 Old 08-17-2007, 12:41 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#30 of 30 Old 08-17-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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USE BORAX it is cheap and works great. Callgon is so expensive and I think it smells. I would use a cup of Borax solo with warm h20 if you have a top loader. I f you have a front loader use half. The rinse with teh max amount of vinegar you can put in your fabric soft dispenser. If that doe snot work then strip them as you would diaper with a few drops of Dawn.

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