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getting the stink out - removing perfume smells from cloth

 
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I think I remembernan episode of Mythbusterswhere they used cheap vodka to getsmells out of clothes. Might be worth a try?
 
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r ranson wrote: Thinking more about these chemicals.  It's interesting how it fuses with the fibres.  Dyes do that.  Would the bond be like a dye?  Would a dye or stain remover have any effect?
They cannot be absolutely permanent, or no one would buy more of the product.  From a marketing point of view, I suspect this isn't going to last.  But... while it does, how about reproducing the conditions it is supposed to release stink?  Movement, heat, moisture... all the things that happen when being worn.  Humans are usually a bit acidic so the next time, I'll try a stronger vinegar.  



This is on the net and very interesting.  When you dye a fabric, it is a chemical bond so to get rid of the dye, you need to break the bond so another chemical reaction is required  On the other hand, fabric softeners attach to the fabric using an electrostatic charge or else by literally gluing itself to the fibre.

The attachments show how dyes work (http://www.4college.co.uk/a/Cd/fabric.php) and  below is the info on fabric softeners.    The smells are often in nano-particulate bombs designed to give up the smell gradually and because the particle has glued itself to the fabric, there ain't no way that sucker is going to go without a struggle!!

Purpose of Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners are added to your laundry in order to reduce the negative charge disseminated into your laundry by the detergent. Fabric softeners give the laundry a positive charge to eliminate static on your clothes, and in addition they coat your clothing fibers with a thin film to make them fluffier, softer and better smelling.

There are many different brands of fabric softeners. Most of them have the same chemical components and function the same way. However, many of the "greener" products on the market may cost more because they are using all-natural ingredients.

Effects of Fabric Softeners

There is some evidence to suggest that the overuse of fabric softeners can lead to cancer and environmental damage. The chemicals used in fabric softener dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener cling to the fibers of your clothes and your skin, making them readily available for you to breathe in. These same binding chemicals are believed to have the same effects on the lungs and many recent studies suggest that it may lead to the development of various cancers. In addition, the particles eliminated through the dryer vent carry out into the local environment and can lead to similar issues with your surroundings.

Many detergent and fabric softener companies are now creating products that are made from all-natural materials and have little to no impact on the local environment. https://oureverydaylife.com/how-do-fabric-softeners-work-12222248.html

Fascinating!!
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You are all my people! This is my bane... I buy so few clothes mostly to slow that consumption cycle but also because of the chemical smells that will come home with me, both from new places and from local and online thrift! I have hung some garments on the line for days to weeks without enough change in the headache-inducing reek, and in a few cases given them back to thrift.  So I'm grateful for these other suggestions (and the solidarity.)
 
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I, too, can't abide the Stink of these new soaps. Unfortunately, they now also have laundry soap, that leaves no stink, but has new chemicals in it, to make that happen!  Those give me more of a headache than the stinky types of laundry soap.  Perfume and cologne are nasty too!  So hard to get out of your clothes. I saw others mention Febreze, that is a chemical nightmare for me.  Bleach causes me to stop breathing. In fact, most chemicals are on my list of "No, Not in my home!" I used to use Hydrogen Peroxide, it will get a lot of the odors out, but it causes your clothes to start shredding way too soon. Usually at the most inappropriate times and in very awkward places!  LOL Peroxide is a great cleaner, just Way too tough on cloth.

I usually just wash with Borax and Baking Soda, rinse well, then rinse with vinegar, rinse with plain water, and hang on the line. But those are clothes I have already de-odorized!

I also get most of my clothes from thrift stores.  For the really tough odors, I set them out in the sun for a day or two, if that reduces the odor, I know I have a chance at getting them clean. Then I wash them in hot water with Borax, Washing Soda or Baking Soda, and Dr Bronners baby soap. Then rinse well in hot water. I make sure I have all of the soda out, so it wont react with the vinegar. Then I rinse again in hot water and Lots of vinegar, then rinse again in plain hot water, and hang on them on the line for the Sun to do its wonders. I will flip clothes over ever day. But I have found that if it takes more than 3 days in the sun, then all my washing and rinsing has been in vain.  When I say Hot water, I am living off grid, and I do all my cooking outside on my camp stove.  I will literally boil the clothes with the soap mix, to try and break down the chemicals. Wringing them out can be a challenge, but I did just get a Lake City Hand Wringer, so I am hoping that will help with the whole process!  

I know one lady would boil her thrift store clothes in a pressure cooker.  She said the pressure would cause the chemicals to ooze out.  She would keep boiling them until all of the Ooze was gone!  Sometimes it took 20 times!  One lady told me she buys every thing new, and it only takes 26 washes, in hot water and soap, in her washing machine, to get the stink out!  Oh My! Talk about dedicated!  

It is good to see so many others who are avoiding chemicals!  Maybe it will become a trend!
 
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Try “Kids N’ pets” stain & odor  remover. Safe for puppies, kittens and babies.

I purchase it through Amazon.com. It actually takes the chemical components of odirs apart so that a dog’s excellent nose can no longer detect an old urine spit.

I have used this on clothing which got “skunked” (liberally sprayed by a startled skunk). Worked wonderfully well.

We buy this product by the gallon jug, as Hubbie and the dogs simply will NOT learn to appriach skunks with more care-lol.

Non-toxic, biodegradable and cruelty free says the label. It’s billed as a carpet cleaner, but puppies and kittens should be able to walk on a carpet treated with it, then lick their paws and not be negatively affected.

I haven’t tried it on laundry soap stink or clothing dried with those hideous, smelly, carcinogenic  
dryer sheets…thought I was the inly one who hated “dryer stink” and feel much better to discover that many loathe the revolting smells and toxicity also.
 
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hmm... skunk.
There's an old wives tale that tomato juice will get out any stink.

But then my clothes would be red...

I don't feel up for trying that.
 
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I have a granddaughter who comes to visit with such perfumed clothing that I don’t know how anyone can live with the stench. But anyway, I have soaked with vinegar, washed and soaked again, and washed again to no avail. I agree, it works for many smells but depending upon what’s in the fabric we may need to use other avenues. For this reason, I’m finding this thread super useful.
 
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Cheri Ryan wrote:Try “Kids N’ pets” stain & odor  remover. Safe for puppies, kittens and babies.



Can you check the label to see if it contains "fragrance/parfum" in it?  I have had so many of those kinds of cleaners,  which do break down pet urine proteins, have their own (what the market calls) "masking fragrance" or "brand scent" to cover up the smell of a particular ingredient.

I have often uses enzymes but when I moved states away from Montana to Oregon I couldn't find a store as excellent as my old janitorial & vac store that carries enzymes without added synthetic fragrances  in them. It dows me no good to strip stink with something that has stink in it.
 
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I have a chronic health issue; and certain smells make it worse. So I  have found my way of cleaning fabrics with the chemical smells/perfumes/etc. that works for me.
 
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This is definitely a pet peeve of mine. These fragrances are toxic and I get a serious headache within minutes of exposure. I am thinking of asking the nice ladies in the thrift store if they could use a less toxic detergent. If they knew how many thousands of chemicals were in these perfumes....yech!

Sometimes I have had to re-donate an item because the smell would not leave even after laundering followed by  weeks of hanging in our intense NM sun.

But often I can successfully get the smell out by soaking in an EM1 solution followed by  washing with  washing soda and laundry soap and some EM and vinegar added to rinse water.
EM has been really effective at eliminating cigarette  , gasoline and other strong smells and I figure that if it can deal with messes like oil spills and radiation in soil, maybe it has a chance with these potent persistent perfumes.
Using this method, I can usually hang in the sunshine for a couple of days and not smell any residue.
 
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What is EM?
 
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Carla Burke wrote:What is EM?

I believe it's stands for "Effective Microorganisms".
 
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Yes, "Effective Microorganisms 1": A solution of several bacteria and yeasts developed by a Japanese man which are used in the garden but also have been shown effective in getting rid of ammonia smells in the barn, other odours, cleaning up sewage sludge and oil spills, keeping algae from growing in ponds and livestock water tanks, treating diseased plants, and other multitudinous applications.
 
Paul Fookes
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Here is how to make an EM solution:  https://bokashi-composting.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-make-em1-stock-solution.html
The original effective microorganism (EM1) solution contains microorganisms which are inactive (dormant) and thus have to be activated before used.
 
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W00t!! Thank you, Paul!
Now, I can't help wondering - is EM1 an enzymatic solution? If so, there are many possible similar solutions that might also work.
 
Kim Huse
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All I get when I click on the link  for the EM1 is a web page that was started and never finished.
 
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Thanks for the great discussion because I tend to think we are the only ones so sensitive to this and we often have thrifted clothes smelling so strong of fabric softener!  I do use vinegar and sometimes peroxide.  Also I am using pure liquid castile soap that seems to clean well. Borax is also in my laundry stash, lol. I'll use just about anything that eliminates the stink of artificial  scents!
It also occured to me that maybe  an especially difficult  scent could be removed by placing the item in a plastic bag with a piece of charcoal, then sealing the bag and leaving for a few days? I make handmade soap ,cream, body butter and lip balms with  only natural  essential oils or leave then unscented, and my daughter was just saying to me how she can never go back to buying creams and soaps from the store. We just can't  deal with artificial fragrances! It's nice to read all of the great suggestions in this thread!
 
Carla Burke
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This brand of EM1 is organic. That tells me it's something we ought to be able to somehow recreate: https://www.teraganix.com/products/em-1-microbial-inoculant?variant=32335482060881
 
Carla Burke
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Has anyone tried enzymes? I'm thinking of making some of this, to try: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Enzyme-Cleaner

(my search for a means to create my own EM1 from scratch came to a dead end)
 
Janice Cohoon
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Hi I've used a store bought enzyme solution that worked really well for pet urine!
 
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Janice Cohoon wrote:Hi I've used a store bought enzyme solution that worked really well for pet urine!



Agreed - but, we're really looking to get the gick-stink out - which actually seems more stubborn than urine. Frankly, I used to think cat urine was the most difficult thing to remove, often requiring fire, lol. This stuff seems even worse, too me.
 
Jay Angler
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Carla Burke wrote:Has anyone tried enzymes? I'm thinking of making some of this, to try: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Enzyme-Cleaner

(my search for a means to create my own EM1 from scratch came to a dead end)

I haven't tried it, but it seems to me that the link is suggesting only a single "yeast", and they don't even specify what type of yeast - bread yeast, brewer's yeast, wine yeast etc... I suspect that EM1 contains multiple different yeasts and/or bacteria. True "enzymes" are things that cells make, not the cells themselves. For example, cells secrete enzymes into our digestive tracts to disassemble large compounds into smaller bits, such as Lactose being split into glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase.

I don't know enough to suggest whether the "microbes" in EM1 are excreting enzymes to clean the smell by breaking the compound into smaller parts, of if the microbes are actually "eating" the offending compound and then taking it away with them in the rinse water. We're talking waaayyy over my 1st year University chemistry class from 35 years ago!

To some degree, we don't have to know exactly *how* it works, just whether it does or not.
 
Kim Huse
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The yeast they are referring to is bread yeast; the sugar and water are to activate the bread yeast.
 
Carla Burke
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Jay Angler wrote:To some degree, we don't have to know exactly *how* it works, just whether it does or not.



Yup! John and I both make a lot of fermented foods, and I've made enzymes for cleaning, before. Saturday, I accidentally knocked over the jar of John's homemade kimchi we'd just finished, spilling the little bit of juicethat had been in it. The liquids in these fermented foods tend to be (very mildly) caustic. This makes sense, considering apple cider vinegar is fermented. The thing is, when I wiped it up, I kinda laughed, because it occurred to me that the stuff would probably be a very effective cleaning product. Then, thinking about this conversation about the EM1 popped into my head, last night, and the fact that I've actually made cleaning enzymes before, that I've used in my laundry and other household stubborn cleaning projects. Maybe it doesn't have to be specifically EM1 - just... enzymes. I used to buy an Amway laundry product called trizyme (it had 3 different enzymes), that was an incredible workhorse.

As far as the yeast, I believe pretty much any active yeast will work, be it bread, wine, beer, or wild. As I mentioned, we do a fair amount and variety of fermenting, so it's a type of chemistry we're familiar with. It may take some time, but I think I'm going to try making some enzymes.
 
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I use ethanol (grain alcohol like Mohawk or Everclear) when needed for my laundry. It dissolves certain stains such as ink pen. I've never had luck using it to get rid of perfume,  though.
 
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I have tried everything.  Borax,  vinegar,  alcohol,  baking soda, salt, hydrogen peroxide, various soaps and detergents. (Soap is chemically-different than detergent)  The only thing that has worked is non-scented fabric softener, and only to a certain extent.
 
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Sunny Baba wrote:Yes, "Effective Microorganisms 1": A solution of several bacteria and yeasts developed by a Japanese man which are used in the garden but also have been shown effective in getting rid of ammonia smells in the barn, other odours, cleaning up sewage sludge and oil spills, keeping algae from growing in ponds and livestock water tanks, treating diseased plants, and other multitudinous applications.


You may or may not have heard of the terrible floods we had in Central Europe in the last 10 days (The Guardian). In Germany alone over 170 died, houses that stood for centuries have been crushed, infrastructure might take months or even years to be built up again, in short words the biggest natural disaster we had in the past 100 years.
Anyway, just now I read that three main manufacturers of EM in Germany are donating canisters full of EM to combat not only the stink but also mold and rotting and to prevent oxidation. Very interesting. EM have been popular here for over 10 years but it is the first time I have seen it mentioned in this official context. The newspaper text mentions it was already used in the last local flood in 2013.
Euskirchen newspaper
 
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Anita Martin wrote: You may or may not have heard of the terrible floods we had in Central Europe in the last 10 days (The Guardian). In Germany alone over 170 died, houses that stood for centuries have been crushed, infrastructure might take months or even years to be built up again, in short words the biggest natural disaster we had in the past 100 years.



At our house, we've been thinking about all of you in Germany.  So sorry this has happened to your country.  

Carla Burke wrote: Saturday, I accidentally knocked over the jar of John's homemade kimchi we'd just finished, spilling the little bit of juice that had been in it. The liquids in these fermented foods tend to be (very mildly) caustic. This makes sense, considering apple cider vinegar is fermented. The thing is, when I wiped it up, I kinda laughed, because it occurred to me that the stuff would probably be a very effective cleaning product.



One of those sorts of accidental discoveries also happened to me. We used to have a small pantry off our kitchen which had a floor of terracotta tiles sealed with boiled linseed oil.  There was a sack of potatoes on the floor of the pantry and when I moved the bag, I discovered that a couple of potatoes had gone rotten at the bottom and potato juice had leaked through the bag onto the floor.  The Juice had stripped the tile underneath right back to the terracotta and bleached it almost white.  Amazing.  I bet potato juice would be a fabulous enzymatic cleaner.  
 
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I've just passed a shirt on to a charity shop. I got it used from ebay last week. It got a vinegar rinse and a couple of days on the washing line but still no change in the perfume. Swing and a miss.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Has anyone tried *really* hot or boiling water? Or actually boiling the clothes in a big pot on the stove? It might still need something like a little dish soap to keep the toxin suspended in the water long enough to get the cloth out and rinsed?



So I tried this (prior to reading this feed) with some baby blankets recently that I got from the thrift store but boiled them in my instant pot using the sauté feature because I don’t have any pots for a stove anymore. Now, I have a new problem. I can’t get that disgusting stink out of my stainless steel pot. I tried 7th generation dish soap, vinegar, hot water, etc. I thought I didn’t smell it anymore (but since C19 I don’t have my full range of smell & taste back.) I made organic pasta in it today and I had to throw the whole thing out… it tasted like it had  Tide in it. (Not that I’ve tasted Tide! But the fragrance of it was in my food.)

Is there another feed on how to get soap tastes out of stainless steel?

This is what I’ve found so far:

https://www.thekitchn.com/help-how-do-i-get-soap-smell-o-118840

https://www.reddit.com/r/Coffee/comments/61kwpw/help_cant_get_soap_taste_out_of_my_stainless_yeti/

I haven’t tried pressure cooking the clothing from the thrift store… even boiling it in the InstantPot made me a bit nervous.

(I’m glad to see I’m not the only one bothered by the soap/fragrance smells at the thrift store. Many ‘normies’ minimize people’s allergic reactions to such things.)

So much toxic guck everywhere!
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Tide-infused-pasta-.JPG
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Carla Burke
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Oh, ick, Alana! I'm so sorry - that had to be disgusting. I'd try steel wool, baking soda, and elbow grease. The silver lining is that it might stick to the metal, but it can't embed in it.

Edited to add: John just corrected me, about this. He said it might embed into any micro-scratches in the metal. But, he also agrees with the steel wool.
 
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Alana, I'm so sorry. That really stinks. Is it possible the silicone seal is holding onto it too? For some reason, that seems like it would be more permeable to me, but I could be wrong. Not sure what would be the best way to deodorize that. I think you can get replacement ones at a reasonable price, if necessary. Hope you find a way to get the Instant Pot usable again!
 
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My favorite method is one mentioned by the OP (original poster):

overnight soak in water with enough baking soda to make the hand feel slippery. (this is also pretty good for set-in food stains)
outside in indirect sunlight for a day or 3



H2O2 - hydrogen peroxide was also mentioned though I have never tried that.
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:Is it possible the silicone seal is holding onto it too?



Hi Heather,

Thankfully, I didn’t use the top with the silicone seal and I do have a 2nd instant pot stainless steel insert that I can use while sorting all this out. I do have extra silicone rings as well. I read it’s best to use one for savory and one for sweet (which I’ve only made one attempt at sweets thus far and it turned out so bad texture wise that I haven’t tried again… I guess that’s not true… I may have made tapioca pudding and it turned out okay but ‘baked’ goods… I haven’t wanted to waste good ingredients on something that won’t turn out well. And I do have an oven now, yay!)
 
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Thanks Carla (and John), Heather & Anne! I will keep trying.
 
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