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Thread: Gett'en out that " nasty old" smell

  1. #1
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    I recently found 90 plus finished blocks in a covered plastic bin and the fabric to complete the remaining 40 blocks too. I was just thrilled when I found this treasure because the hand drawn plans were also in the bin. Now the challenge is, how do I get that old musty, mildew odor out of the fabric so I can work on them? The blocks are muslin and reproduction prints that are all light pastels. There are no signs of mildew, just that "old nasty" smell.

    These blocks have very special meaning to me and my family so I would like to treat them with honor and respect but, whoo-hoo, they smell too musty to work with. Does any one have any suggestions? I sure would appreciate your help. I thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member mcdaniel023's Avatar
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    Fabreeze and fresh air.

  3. #3
    Super Member PegD's Avatar
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    Did you try just taking them out of the box and letting them air? Or maybe a dryer sheet in the box? I hope you can get the smell out to work on them. Pictures when you are done. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    Wash gently, and use vinegar in the rinse. Vinegar acts as a fabric softener too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member katiescraftshop's Avatar
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    I would hang them outside for a few hours and hopefully that will be enough so you can work on them.

    The vinegar is a wonderful idea, removes many odors. But.... do you want to wash them before you assemble them???

  6. #6
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    Mariposa is right use vinegar. I use it in the wash cycle, too. You could even add a bit of baking soda. I do that when I buy new fabric. You don't have to agitate the fabric. Just soak, spin, rinse and spin. If you are concerned about the cut blocks, you might want to put them in a large laundry bag and wash them. Good luck. :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If the fabric in the blocks wasn't prewashed you could cause some big headaches for yourself. I would put a bar or three of unwrapped deodorant soap (Dial or Safeguard) in the bin with them for a week or two.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Charcoal absorbs bad odors. I would purchase a couple pair of the charcoal OdorEaters brand of shoe insoles and close them off together in a clean bin or closed garbage bag for a couple of weeks.

    In my opinion, it is very risky to try to wash blocks (or an unquilted top) without first basting them to a foundation fabric. You can end up with a distorted mess, even if you hand wash.

    You really need something that absorbs odor, not something that masks odor. My featherweight machine's case had a terrible musty smell in it. Tried a dryer sheet, tried soap -- everything seemed to just add a different odor. Fresh air and sunshine did not help enough either. The charcoal OdorEaters insoles finally did the job.

  9. #9
    Senior Member incoming2me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    My featherweight machine's case had a terrible musty smell in it. Tried a dryer sheet, tried soap -- everything seemed to just add a different odor. Fresh air and sunshine did not help enough either. The charcoal OdorEaters insoles finally did the job.
    Ahhhhh! Thank you!
    Like you, I've tried seemingly everything to rid my FW case's funky smell..
    I will definitely try this!

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMUTeach
    I recently found 90 plus finished blocks in a covered plastic bin and the fabric to complete the remaining 40 blocks too. I was just thrilled when I found this treasure because the hand drawn plans were also in the bin. Now the challenge is, how do I get that old musty, mildew odor out of the fabric so I can work on them? The blocks are muslin and reproduction prints that are all light pastels. There are no signs of mildew, just that "old nasty" smell.

    These blocks have very special meaning to me and my family so I would like to treat them with honor and respect but, whoo-hoo, they smell too musty to work with. Does any one have any suggestions? I sure would appreciate your help. I thank you in advance.
    I had a quilt top given to me, and it was in an athletic bag. It just smelled stale, not really musty. I laid it on my bed and sprayed it with febreeze and let it air out for a couple days. It smells fine now. As someone else said, Febreeze and fresh air.

  11. #11
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Febreeze works great for me. Can't tell you how many funky6 smells have been banished by the stuff.

  12. #12
    Super Member bjnicholson's Avatar
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    Baking soda and fresh air always works for me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bubblegum0077's Avatar
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    I would also use the charcoal odor eaters and a plastic bag. If there are a lot maybe you can divide them into two bags with charcoal. I would not wash them, but once you have assembled your quilt and it is competed, the gentle wash cycle and vinegar in the rinse cycle is sound advice. Good luck and please post as you go along. We'd love to see your work.

  14. #14
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    My 88 yr. old aunt just sent me some hand embroidered pillow cases & crocheted doilies that her mom/my grandmother made. I stacked the doilies with a few fabric softener sheets between some layers. I seems to be working as the pile is sitting on my kitchen table & I don't get the smell that I had when 1st opening the box.

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    Put them in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag then put in a container with fresh coffee grounds. Will take the unpleasent smells away

  16. #16
    Senior Member didi's Avatar
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    I bought some fabric at an estate sale that was musky smelling. Lady at quilting shop, said to wash on delc. cycle with cup of vinger and small amount of fabric softener, no soap. The fabric smell like new.

  17. #17
    Super Member piepatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMUTeach
    I recently found 90 plus finished blocks in a covered plastic bin and the fabric to complete the remaining 40 blocks too. I was just thrilled when I found this treasure because the hand drawn plans were also in the bin. Now the challenge is, how do I get that old musty, mildew odor out of the fabric so I can work on them? The blocks are muslin and reproduction prints that are all light pastels. There are no signs of mildew, just that "old nasty" smell.

    These blocks have very special meaning to me and my family so I would like to treat them with honor and respect but, whoo-hoo, they smell too musty to work with. Does any one have any suggestions? I sure would appreciate your help. I thank you in advance.
    I once had to deal with a similar problem, and I spread them out on my patio table and left them for a few days and the smell was gone. The weather was warm and it is a covered patio, so the blocks were not in the sun, and I brought them in every night, and put them out each day. If I were you, I would not wash those blocks, but once the quilt is finished, if you think it needs laundering, then give it a gentle wash.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JabezRose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by incoming2me
    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    My featherweight machine's case had a terrible musty smell in it. Tried a dryer sheet, tried soap -- everything seemed to just add a different odor. Fresh air and sunshine did not help enough either. The charcoal OdorEaters insoles finally did the job.
    Ahhhhh! Thank you!
    Like you, I've tried seemingly everything to rid my FW case's funky smell..
    I will definitely try this!
    I scrubbed the FW case with some ODOBAN from Sam's club because it had mold in it, then filled it with clay, not clumping cat litter for a few days, changed that out a couple times. No I can stand to use that case. Another one is going through the same treatment now but the charcoal shoe thingies sounds a bit easier.

  19. #19
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    Put them in an airtight container, crumble p a few sheets of newspaper, no color, just black and white printed. The ink will absorb the smell. Works good for burnt Popcorn smell in the microwave too....leave in there fo a few days.

  20. #20
    community benefactor stitchofclass2's Avatar
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    Try putting an OPEN container of baking soda in with the pieces for 24 hours. Let us know how it goes.

    Also, (this is a little more difficult) I was told to put a piece of newspaper in a refrigerator with a tube of toothpaste spread on the paper (cheapest you can find) that has been turned off and the door closed to get the bad odor out. This works like a charm. The toothpast absorbs the odor.

  21. #21
    Super Member Iamquilter's Avatar
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    I was given some pieces of fabric that reeked of some smell, couldn't figure out what it was. I washed all the fabric and the smell was still there, so I put them back in the box with a fabric softener sheet and left it for awhile and the smell went away. Have since used that fabric and no smell.

  22. #22
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    Borax will take out the smell, it take's it out of damp towels, I use to find hidden in the kid's room.

  23. #23
    Super Member DA Mayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Charcoal absorbs bad odors. I would purchase a couple pair of the charcoal OdorEaters brand of shoe insoles and close them off together in a clean bin or closed garbage bag for a couple of weeks.

    In my opinion, it is very risky to try to wash blocks (or an unquilted top) without first basting them to a foundation fabric. You can end up with a distorted mess, even if you hand wash.

    You really need something that absorbs odor, not something that masks odor. My featherweight machine's case had a terrible musty smell in it. Tried a dryer sheet, tried soap -- everything seemed to just add a different odor. Fresh air and sunshine did not help enough either. The charcoal OdorEaters insoles finally did the job.
    we use charcoal briquets for everything, even when our electrity to our fridge went out and we had rotten food smell, we put a pan of briquets in the fridge, closed the doors and it took care of the smell. Good luck and what a find for you.

  24. #24
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    Good to kno about the charcoal,I always used cat litter but the briquets would be so much easier!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nanaof4's Avatar
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    Please read this before using fabric softners of any kind. My husband has an allergy to them and I found this on the Internet when I did research about softners. I hate to sound negative but just had to put this out there. Here's the link to the article

    https://shop.sixwise.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=92]https://shop.sixwise.com/index.asp?P...n=Custom&ID=92[/url]

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