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Thread: Remove Fabric Softener Smells From T-shirts

  1. #1
    Senior Member All Thumbs's Avatar
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    Having made several t-shirt quilts, I have always had good luck and have never had a problem with t-shirts being heavily scented. (Note: I have industrial allergies and perfumes and the like really bother me.) My latest group of t-shirts arrived about a week ago and I have washed them at least 3 times utilizing baking soda, borax, vinegar, sunlight and just leaving them out in the cold. Nothing is helping.

    Tonight I started cutting them apart and fusing the backs. As you know that calls for the iron to press fusing. Obviously, the heat made the smells worse.

    My only recourse will have to be getting a face mask and sewing and quilting as fast as I can. :( Something I will not enjoy because quilting is my hobby and something I take pride in designing a unique quilt.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Senior Member sgardner's Avatar
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    Have you tried soaking in hot water and OxyClean?

    Or something like the Orange Cleaners that work for oil stains? Seems to me the strong smell is meant to stay in the clothing, and would be oil-based, but I could be wrong.

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would try using a laundry additive made for removing grease/oil. sgardner is right, laundry softeners do have a bit of oil to them :D:D:D

  4. #4
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I think I would wash with good grease remover like Simple Green. And then I'd rinse at least twice with two cups of vinegar in each rinse.

  5. #5
    Senior Member All Thumbs's Avatar
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    Oh, I did not know that softeners contained oil. That would make sense then to use a grease remover. Thank you so very much. I learn something on this Board daily and I imagine everyone else appreciates everyone's comments too. Thanks again. Happy stitching from All Thumbs

  6. #6
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All Thumbs
    Oh, I did not know that softeners contained oil.
    I think that is why you are not supposed to use it for any fabric where you plan to add iron-on materials because it may not stick properly. Says so right on the steam-a-seam package.

  7. #7
    Super Member oatw13's Avatar
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    You could also try using soap instead of detergent in the laundry and HOT water.

    You can use soap like Fels-Naptha, Zote, or even Ivory. You just want a bar of soap with no fragrances or skin softeners added. Grate the soap as fine as possible and use instead of laundry detergent. Also, add borax and/ or washing soda and baking soda to the wash with the soap.

    Good luck. It can be challenging to get smells out of laundry!

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