I found some great vintage fabric at a garage sale recently, and the price was so good I grabbed a huge bagful without paying nearly enough attention to the odor of the fabric...
I finally got around to dealing with it all yesterday and realized what an issue the odor really is. I've washed it all several times with regular laundry soap, and have also tried washing and rinsing with white vinegar. Neither of which seems to have made any real difference.
Does anyone have other ideas of how I might be able to save this fabric? Thanks!
I would try soaking it in Borax, then setting the washer to wash several times in a row before rinsing.
What kind of odor? Old and musty or cigarette smoke or something more? You might try hanging it outside. If you're worried about bleaching maybe hang it in the shade or only let it be in the sun for a limited time.
It's not cigarette smoke. I'm not sure if it's moth balls? It's a smell I've smelled before on old fabric that's been stored for a long time. Strong and unpleasant. And persistent!
Thanks for the suggestions!
I would suggest washing with baking soda! You may need to wash more than once, but baking soda does wonders with odors.
If it's a musty smell, I've had good luck packing fabric in a plastic bag with baking soda covering every part of it. I'd lay out the fabric, shake baking soda all over it, roll it up, pour more baking soda in a plastic bag, put the fabric in there, seal it closed, shake it up, and leave it for a week or so. Then wash.
I just got a box of vintage fabric handed to me last week - I washed it and hung it out in the sun for three straight days before it finally cleared out. However, it was definitely the result of moisture, it was a distinct musty basement smell that sun does a very good job of getting rid of. I like the baking soda idea though, I'm tucking that away for later if a box finds a way to me again!