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Thread: 'Been in storage too long'. How do you get the smell out?

  1. #26

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    Use dry milk in the wash water. About 1/2-1 cup in 1/2 washer load. You can even turn the washer off and let the fabric soak for awhile. Then use vinegar in the rinse water, not fabric softener. The only smell I haven't been able to get out is moth balls from a quilt my grand mother made.

  2. #27
    Senior Member cassie69emt's Avatar
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    You just need to put a cup or something to hold the baking soda in , in with the fabric, let it set for a while after that you can hang the fabric out on a clothesline and the smell should be gone, Yes this works for stuff that smells like smoke too.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsb38327
    I have inherited, over time, contents from 3 loved ones sewing rooms. Some of the things had been in storage too long and have 'the smell'. I use a vinegar soak but it takes many washings and sometimes the items are a loss and have to be tossed. The smell is that of our great, great, (?great?) grandparents house and furniture after it has been closed for years with no fresh air.
    Anyone have tips and tricks?
    Ocyclean took mildew out of a forgotten quilt. It may be worth a try.

  4. #29
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    Before trying all the soaking, etc. which I am sure works also.....I take the donated fabric and put it out in my well hosue which is cold and dry. Leave it a few weeks and walla....no smell. Then you can do normal washing. Cigarette smoke, pet smells, etc. I found this out because my sister smokes and gave me some great purses and when I got home I could smell the smoke..put them outside just because and discovered it worked. no smell. Hope this little suggestion works.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Quote Originally Posted by CAROLJ
    This really works, get activated charcoal. (Not the stuff you BBQ with.) You can get it at pet stores in the fish section. Put the stuff it in a closed container for a day or two and it takes our most orders. Set it outside on the grass overnight, if it doesn't get to damp, and everything will be gone. Ir will even take out cigar smoke.
    I agree with the activated charcoal. Amazon sells it. It will work on those things that can't be washed, such as the patterns, etc.
    I have some activated charcoal for our aquarium. Can't wait to try it.

  6. #31
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nursie76
    What about Fabreeze for the fabaric. Isn't there some that you put in the washer?
    Febreze makes a "Laundry Odor Eliminator' that I use for the kids stinky sports stuff. It works on those - maybe it will work for your quilts!

  7. #32
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    I don't have any fresh (ha!) ideas to add, but let us know what you do and how it works! :D

  8. #33
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    In case you want to copy/paste this for reference this is where we are so far. Great post (I think). If one solution doesn't work for the item we have others to try. Thank you all so much. When we have other solutions I will add them to this cumulative list.
    Posted by: Solution
    grammyp
    For fabric I have had luck with baking soda rinse, sunshine and fresh air. Lots of fresh air. For paper products, sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for a few days.
    EllaBud
    Cloudy ammonia is ammonia with detergent in it, so it'll suds up. I wouldn't add more than 1/4 cup to the washer.
    Honey
    Try using a goodly amount of cloudy ammonia with your laundry soap. I have used it for years. It really helps. It also takes that gunky feeling out of kitchen towels. It also takes the sour smell out of cloths and towels that have sat wet for to long.Try about a cup in a regular sized load. Yes, cloudy ammonia is different, it works better. No special brand. It doesn't hurt colors at all and you will not have the ammonia smell in your fabric. I don't know how it works, just know that it does. If it will take the sour smell out of dish cloths and that rotten foot smell from a sweating 14 year olds socks, it should do the trick for you. By the way, I use it in every load of laundry I do. It just helps the detergent do a better job. It also helps get all of the soap out of whatever you are washing.
    Waterstide
    I use ammonia that has lemon scent in it..at the dollar store. Cloudy ammonia has a little soap added in. This was done because originally ammonia was cloudy. When they figured out how to make it clear, people were already used to it looking cloudy, so they started adding soap to give it the same look.
    Deborah Rae
    I use this spray called 0-2 that really takes the musty odor out of fabric and it also takes out cigarette smoke odor to. If you have a cat, spray the liter box after you clean it out and then put the litter in....no more smell! I have gotten it at the Dollar store, Walmart and the local hardware store.
    Amma
    We have companies here that specialize in disaster cleanups in homes. I have gone to them to get cleaners that they use, and I have never been disappointed
    Moonpi
    grammyp
    Jois
    watterstide
    Fresh air and sunshine.
    Charlee
    Cassie69emt
    Baking Soda: add to the wash cycle.
    Baking Soda: Place baking soda in an open container and the smelly items in a closed container. Let set for a day or two. Remove the lid and place the items outside overnight when there is no dew.
    shequilts
    Borax. Don't forget about good old Borax. It's a non bleaching laundry detergent enhancer. It removes odor from clothing.
    jcarilyn
    I would wash on gentle cycle, with some regular detergent and some vinegar. I've used vinegar when things sit in the washing machine too long, it really works and no, your fabric won't smell like salad dressing! Good luck!
    Oatw13
    I second the baking soda and vinegar.You can soak them in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the water. You can also add 1/4 cup up to 1 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle with your detergent and use the vinegar in the rinse cycle or in place of fabric softener. If you use a lot of baking soda, you may want to do a second rinse. Oh, you also want to use the hottest water temperature that is safe for the fabrics.Line dry outdoors if you can.I just used this method on some musty clothes and it worked fine.
    Jois
    Fabrics saved by the last generation in my family used cedar and mothballs - a frighteningly strong combo. Hung on coat hangers with clothes pins under the deck (in the shade) got rid of the odor in less than a day.
    CAROLJ
    Prism99
    watterstide
    This really works, get activated charcoal. (Not the stuff you BBQ with.) You can get it at pet stores in the fish section. Put the stuff in a closed container for a day or two and it takes out most orders. Set it outside on the grass overnight, if it doesn't get to damp, and everything will be gone. It will even take out cigar smoke.
    pieces Use dry milk in the wash water. About 1/2-1 cup in 1/2 washer load. You can even turn the washer off and let the fabric soak for a while. Then use vinegar in the rinse water, not fabric softener. The only smell I haven't been able to get out is moth balls from a quilt my grand mother made.
    lindy
    Ocyclean took mildew out of a forgotten quilt. It may be worth a try.
    debbieumphress
    Before trying all the soaking, etc. which I am sure works also.....I take the donated fabric and put it out in my well hosue which is cold and dry. Leave it a few weeks and walla....no smell. Then you can do normal washing. Cigarette smoke, pet smells, etc. I found this out because my sister smokes and gave me some great purses and when I got home I could smell the smoke..put them outside just because and discovered it worked. no smell. Hope this little suggestion works.
    Thank again, keep them coming/Dorothy

  9. #34
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I had a large scrap bin behind my cutting table and forgot about it until I started cleaning. The fabric had that old smell and it's only about a year old. The scraps were really mashed in the bin, almost compacted. I wasn't about to wash all those scraps. They became a sewing room cleaning fatality.

  10. #35

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    On a knitting list it was suggested to use the cheapest brand of vodka from the grocery store. Mix 1/2 vodka and 1/2 water to get the mildew smell out.

    I tried it on a 100 year old wool afghan which had been stored in a trunk in my patio room. I could see the mildew on the wool. Nothing to lose -- so I hung it on the line in my backyard and spritzed with vodka/water mixture and let it dry.

    Also sprayed mixture into the trunk and left it open and in the sun to dry.

    Both fine now, no smell, no mildew.

    Pat

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    On a knitting list it was suggested to use the cheapest brand of vodka from the grocery store. Mix 1/2 vodka and 1/2 water to get the mildew smell out.

    I tried it on a 100 year old wool afghan which had been stored in a trunk in my patio room. I could see the mildew on the wool. Nothing to lose -- so I hung it on the line in my backyard and spritzed with vodka/water mixture and let it dry.

    Also sprayed mixture into the trunk and left it open and in the sun to dry.

    Both fine now, no smell, no mildew.

    Pat
    The Mythbusters tested vodka to remove tobacco smoke and it worked rather well. :)

  12. #37
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    Yes try borax. If it gets out cat urine it should get out funky odors.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    the best thing I've found (for cat urine and for the musty towels) is the odoban I buy at Sam's Club. You just wash like normal, add to the final rinse cycle and all the funky odors are gone. Works great.

  14. #39
    Senior Member flikkem's Avatar
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    Sometimes fabric softener sheets help absorb bad smells. I keep them in empty pieces of luggage for that reason.

  15. #40
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    Great post and great idea to keep all the replies together.

  16. #41
    Senior Member minnow895's Avatar
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    go to dollar genral they have a product called awsome it has taken a lot of smell out of stuff for me when we moved a lot of stuff went into the garage which leaked this last winter it also removed the mold out mof the clothing i was able to save most everthing be carfull with amonia mixed with some laundry soape it can creat mustard gas which can mke you verry ill or even kill you
    good luck

  17. #42
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    you could try lavender water in the rinse. Penny

  18. #43
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shequilts
    Don't forget about good old Borax. It's a non bleaching laundry detergent enhancer. It removes odor from clothing.
    I had forgotten all about Borax. I used that on my children's diapers (yep, I used cloth birdseye diapers). Be sure to rinse well.

  19. #44
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Wow some great hints. I may have to try on the 14 boxes of fabric I will be getting from an acquaintance by the EOM. His mom and everyone else in family are/were chain smokers. Thanks folks.

  20. #45
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    there is a product called Orvis Paste. buy at a farm supply store.bow hunters use it to get all body smells off their clothes. I use it to wash quilts. takes very little, makes
    things so soft. they also use it to wash the lambs for show.
    Oxiclean works wonders on old linens, etc. maybe it would also
    help with this.--when you wash cotton yardage, cut a 3/4",45 degree angle off each corner. no raveling !
    smitty

  21. #46
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    In case you want to print or copy/paste this for reference this is where we are so far.
    Great post. If one solution doesn't work for the item we have others to try.
    Thank you all so much. When we have other solutions I will add them to this cumulative list.

    Posted by: Solution
    grammyp:
    For fabric I have had luck with baking soda rinse, sunshine and fresh air. Lots of fresh air. For paper products, sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for a few days.

    Charlee:
    Cassie69emt:
    Baking Soda: add to the wash cycle.
    Baking Soda: Place baking soda in an open container and the smelly items in a closed container. Let set for a day or two. Remove the lid and place the items outside overnight when there is no dew.

    Oatw13:
    I second the baking soda and vinegar.You can soak them in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the water. You can also add 1/4 cup up to 1 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle with your detergent and use the vinegar in the rinse cycle or in place of fabric softener. If you use a lot of baking soda, you may want to do a second rinse. Oh, you also want to use the hottest water temperature that is safe for the fabrics.Line dry outdoors if you can.I just used this method on some musty clothes and it worked fine.

    jcarilyn :
    I would wash on gentle cycle, with some regular detergent and some vinegar. I've used vinegar when things sit in the washing machine too long, it really works and no, your fabric won't smell like salad dressing! Good luck!

    Moonpi:
    grammyp:
    Jois:
    watterstide:
    Fresh air and sunshine.

    EllaBud:
    Cloudy ammonia is ammonia with detergent in it, so it'll suds up. I wouldn't add more than 1/4 cup to the washer.

    Honey:
    Try using a goodly amount of cloudy ammonia with your laundry soap. I have used it for years. It really helps. It also takes that gunky feeling out of kitchen towels. It also takes the sour smell out of cloths and towels that have sat wet for to long.Try about a cup in a regular sized load. Yes, cloudy ammonia is different, it works better. No special brand. It doesn't hurt colors at all and you will not have the ammonia smell in your fabric. I don't know how it works, just know that it does. If it will take the sour smell out of dish cloths and that rotten foot smell from a sweating 14 year olds socks, it should do the trick for you. By the way, I use it in every load of laundry I do. It just helps the detergent do a better job. It also helps get all of the soap out of whatever you are washing.

    Waterstide:
    I use ammonia that has lemon scent in it..at the dollar store. Cloudy ammonia has a little soap added in. This was done because originally ammonia was cloudy. When they figured out how to make it clear, people were already used to it looking cloudy, so they started adding soap to give it the same look.

    Deborah Rae:
    I use this spray called 0-2 that really takes the musty odor out of fabric and it also takes out cigarette smoke odor to. If you have a cat, spray the liter box after you clean it out and then put the litter in....no more smell! I have gotten it at the Dollar store, Walmart and the local hardware store.

    Amma:
    We have companies here that specialize in disaster cleanups in homes. I have gone to them to get cleaners that they use, and I have never been disappointed.

    shequilts:
    damaquilts:
    Borax. Don't forget about good old Borax. It's a non bleaching laundry detergent enhancer. It removes odor from clothing.
    Yes try borax. If it gets out cat urine it should get out funky odors.

    Rachel:
    The best thing I've found (for cat urine and for the musty towels) is the odoban I buy at Sam's Club. You just wash like normal, add to the final rinse cycle and all the funky odors are gone. Works great.

    flikkem:
    Sometimes fabric softener sheets help absorb bad smells. I keep them in empty pieces of luggage for that reason.

    minnow895:
    Go to Dollar General they have a product called awesome it has taken a lot of smell out of stuff for me when we moved a lot of stuff went into the garage which leaked this last winter it also removed the mold out of the clothing I was able to save most everything. Be carefull with ammonia mixed with some laundry soap it can create mustard gas which can make you very ill or even kill you.
    good luck

    penny doty:
    lavender water in the rinse.

    Jois:
    Fabrics saved by the last generation in my family used cedar and mothballs - a frighteningly strong combo. Hung on coat hangers with clothes pins under the deck (in the shade) got rid of the odor in less than a day.

    CAROLJ:
    Prism99:
    watterstide:
    This really works, get activated charcoal. (Not the stuff you BBQ with.) You can get it at pet stores in the fish section. Put the stuff in a closed container for a day or two and it takes out most orders. Set it outside on the grass overnight, if it doesn't get to damp, and everything will be gone. It will even take out cigar smoke.

    pieces:
    Use dry milk in the wash water. About 1/2-1 cup in 1/2 washer load. You can even turn the washer off and let the fabric soak for a while. Then use vinegar in the rinse water, not fabric softener. The only smell I haven't been able to get out is moth balls from a quilt my grand mother made.

    lindy:
    Ocyclean took mildew out of a forgotten quilt. It may be worth a try.

    debbieumphress:
    Before trying all the soaking, etc. which I am sure works also.....I take the donated fabric and put it out in my well house which is cold and dry. Leave it a few weeks and walla....no smell. Then you can do normal washing. Cigarette smoke, pet smells, etc. I found this out because my sister smokes and gave me some great purses and when I got home I could smell the smoke..put them outside just because and discovered it worked. no smell. Hope this little suggestion works.

    Nursie76:
    What about Fabreeze for the fabric. Isn’t there some you put in the washer?

    Quiltmom04:
    Febreze makes a "Laundry Odor Eliminator' that I use for the kids stinky sports stuff. It works on those - maybe it will work for your quilts!

    Rebecca VLQ:
    Has no ‘fresh ideas’. LOL.

    [email protected]:
    On a knitting list it was suggested to use the cheapest brand of vodka from the grocery store. Mix 1/2 vodka and 1/2 water to get the mildew smell out.
    I tried it on a 100 year old wool afghan which had been stored in a trunk in my patio room. I could see the mildew on the wool. Nothing to lose -- so I hung it on the line in my backyard and spritzed with vodka/water mixture and let it dry.
    Also sprayed mixture into the trunk and left it open and in the sun to dry.
    Both fine now, no smell, no mildew.

    Seanette:
    The Mythbusters tested vodka to remove tobacco smoke and it worked rather well.
    smitty:
    There is a product called Orvis Paste. buy at a farm supply store.bow hunters use it to get all body smells off their clothes. I use it to wash quilts. takes very little, makes
    things so soft. they also use it to wash the lambs for show.
    Oxiclean works wonders on old linens, etc. maybe it would also
    help with this.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitty
    there is a product called Orvis Paste. buy at a farm supply store.bow hunters use it to get all body smells off their clothes. I use it to wash quilts. takes very little, makes
    things so soft. they also use it to wash the lambs for show.
    Oxiclean works wonders on old linens, etc. maybe it would also
    help with this.--when you wash cotton yardage, cut a 3/4",45 degree angle off each corner. no raveling !
    smitty
    "when you wash cotton yardage, cut a 3/4",45 degree angle off each corner. no raveling !"
    smitty, this would be an excellent post.

  23. #48
    Super Member Baloonatic's Avatar
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    Just last week I had the same problem. I used hot water and heavily sprayed some Febreze onto the fabric while it was sitting in my front load washer. I also added 1/2 cup baking powder to the wash cycle. Everything came out odor-free!

  24. #49
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    hang them outside on the cloths line.

  25. #50
    Super Member Teresa 54's Avatar
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    I had this problem and didn't have the time or energy to wash everything. I invested in a room air cleaner, it was costly $350.00 but it was and still is worth every penny. It costs about $3.00 a month to run. It also keeps the room clear of pollens that come in on our clothing. Easier to sleep in the next bedroom. I figured what I saved in water, electric, vinigar and soaps etc. it was worth it.

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