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Thread: getting musty smell out of fabric

  1. #1
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    :?: I need your help> Some one gave a group of girl scouts I have been helping to learn to quilt, many 9 batch quilt block that were hand sewn several years ago. :?: :?: My question is how can we get the very bad musty smell out of the fabric? The fabric does not appear to be weak. Just smells really bad. :( The hand work is beautiful but do not want to use it with this bad smell. :roll:

  2. #2
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Assuming they are small, I would soak overnight in a sinkful of soapy water, rinse well, and line dry. The sun will kill any lingering smells.

  3. #3
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    if it can be wet, I'd spritz with vinegar, and let it sit. I have heard that newspaper wadded up and put with something will remove odor. maybe combining the 2 will work. :-)

  4. #4
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    If i have a bad smell on a fabric, i find sunlight liquid dish soap, the lemon kind, takes smells out really good, it's the lemon smell that does it, then i would rinse it really good too, and hang to dry

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    I agree with redrummy, I would spray them with vinegar, then either rinse them or wait until the quilt is finished and wash it then. Vinegar is great at taking out odors. I usually add a cup or so when I'm washing my kitchen towels to keep the sour smell out of them.

  6. #6
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    :D Thank you all for your reply I will use vinegar and wash with sunlight dishsoap and hang out in the sunshine to dry. :-o I did not want to work on the fabric when it smelt so bad. I can not thank you all enough.
    CAK44

  7. #7
    Member lorils's Avatar
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    The only thing bad about using vinegar is if it has any kind of stain on it the vinegar will set it in for good.

  8. #8
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I would sew before washing.....sun and fresh air first............sprinkle with baking soda and use the fabreeze.......then sew and then wash
    :D If you have a covered porch that would be good for it :D

    I found this on internet it says mold causes the smell so......................

    Kill the mold by soaking the clothes overnight in a solution such as ONE of the following:
    One cup ammonia to one gallon warm water; or
    One cup of white vinegar to one gallon warm water; or
    One cup of baking soda to one gallon warm water
    Soak overnight.
    Wash normally with regular detergent and hang to dry on a sunny day.




  9. #9
    joy
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    Why not wash in the washing machine with the soap powder you use for clothes.... rinse well and put on clothes line to dry.....

  10. #10
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    I am a Project Linus coordinator and one of the things we are told is that we can NOT use fabrics that smell moldy or musty. There are mold spores in the fabric and these will not be removed by washing, etc. If anyone uses the quilt that has pulmonary or allergies, it may create problems for them.
    I did find that some of the fabric I got when I started my chapter had that same type smell. I washed it and put it away and I notice that a year later when it came out of the zipper bag it did smell again. I should have just disposed of it in the first place but I had to try.
    Cathy in MI

  11. #11
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    Thank you for your replies. My friend is Project Linus coridinator for NE Indiana, small world. The quilts we are making are going to be donated to a ministry at our local Church and would not want anyone to get harmed because of mold in the fabric
    I just hate to see all the hand work this lady did go with out being used. There are probably around a hundred of these 9 squares all hand sewn and very nicely done.
    I have taken some and soaked them in laundry soda and Cold Water Tide
    also some in vinegar, rinsed them out good, Hung them out in the sunshine to air out, at the present time they smell good, I am afraid the smell will return. If we decide to use them in quilts we need to be very careful who they are given to.

    Thank you all for your replies
    CAK44

  12. #12
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    I think they would frey out and they are small. Thanks CAK44

  13. #13
    joy
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    Why not boil them.... that should kill any nasties...

  14. #14
    Super Member mimisharon's Avatar
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    If you are afraid of the smell returning or spores being in the squares, then let the girls bring in fat quarters to use for the Linus quilts and let them have an equal number of squares from the lady to use in wall hanging, table runner, or some such thing for them selves. They might enjoy the 'trading" and pieciing of squares for the babies.

    I have two quilt tops from cotton that were quite smelly from the lady my grandmother bought them from, but I hung them on the line after washing in lemon juice and they've never had the smell come back. I use them, though, and I dried them in a hot dryer after allowing them to dry in the sun with the lemon juice solution. (yes, forgot to say I washed them in warm soapy water, too, didn't I) sorry late hours are getting to me.

    Good luck and do let us know what you decide to do with the girls. I'm so into the idea of teaching them to quilt, to do the "square" piecing, I wish I lived closer I'd let them come two at a time to the house to help them.

    Sharon

  15. #15
    Junior Member binkister's Avatar
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    what if you can't hang them out to dry outside,because of the weater now in the winter. I have some smelly fabric my niece just brought over that was in my mother's sewing basket that was given to her and they put it in the shed! Now i would like to wash it and sew it for them, it is those cut=out things-moose-xmas angel etc. but it has a musty smell, and it is raining here. do i soak in lemon juice and for how long and hang to dry inside , then wash in the washer and dry?
    thanks myra

  16. #16
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    I use vinegar. It gets the smells out for me. Wash in sink if pieces, washer if large, dry as you choose, vinegar smell will fade.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kwilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrummy
    I use vinegar. It gets the smells out for me. Wash in sink if pieces, washer if large, dry as you choose, vinegar smell will fade.
    I go with a bit of ammonia in the wash water and contain small pieces in mesh bags so they don't fray all over the place. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joy
    Why not boil them.... that should kill any nasties...
    Not always.. one of the issues with mold or any spore forming organism is the only sure way to get ALL of them is PRESSURE! You need pressure to break the spore. That's why surgical tools are put into an autoclave... pressure! There is A huge difference between sanitized and sterile.

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