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Thread: Musty smell...

  1. #1
    grammynan's Avatar
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    I was given several boxes of fabric that was obviously stored in a basement. All of it has that musty-basement smell.

    Do you think just airing it out will get rid of the smell? Or should I begin the long process of washing it all? Should I use anything special in the washing cycle? Should I use cold or warm water?

    Any other suggestions and ideas would be appreciated!

    Nancy

  2. #2
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    If there are no obvious signs of mildew, I would just try to find a place to hang up the various pieces of fabric where they can air out for a time. Once upon a time we all had clotheslines outside in our backyards that were perfect for such!

    Your other option is to wash it all. I would do it in warm water and a small amount of your regular laundry soap along with some baking soda added to help deodorize.

  3. #3
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    If you do wash the fabric, put some baking soda and white vinegar in each load---they will smell so nice. Sometimes a musty odor is mildew in the making. I'd wash them.

  4. #4
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    If you do wash the fabric, put some baking soda and white vinegar in each load---they will smell so nice. Sometimes a musty odor is mildew in the making. I'd wash them.
    I agree, definitely wash with the baking soda and vinegar. You would want the material clean anyway. :)

  5. #5
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom-6
    If there are no obvious signs of mildew, I would just try to find a place to hang up the various pieces of fabric where they can air out for a time. Once upon a time we all had clotheslines outside in our backyards that were perfect for such!

    Your other option is to wash it all. I would do it in warm water and a small amount of your regular laundry soap along with some baking soda added to help deodorize.
    good idea

  6. #6
    Junior Member tweety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    If you do wash the fabric, put some baking soda and white vinegar in each load---they will smell so nice. Sometimes a musty odor is mildew in the making. I'd wash them.
    I was also going to say white vinegar. I was told to do this with the dog bedding to get the doggie smells out. If it will work on that it should work for mildew too.
    Linda

  7. #7
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety
    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    If you do wash the fabric, put some baking soda and white vinegar in each load---they will smell so nice. Sometimes a musty odor is mildew in the making. I'd wash them.
    I was also going to say white vinegar. I was told to do this with the dog bedding to get the doggie smells out. If it will work on that it should work for mildew too.
    Linda
    I used the baking soda and vinegar a couple of weeks ago when I bought 134 yds of fabric from a household that had 3 heavy smokers in it. The fabric wreaked of cigarette smoke. After washing and drying it smelled wonderful but I had to use a LOT of B-soda and vinegar. Over a cup with each load.

  8. #8
    Super Member sunflower126's Avatar
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    I hate to tell you this, but years ago I had to store fabric in my basement and it also got that musty smell. I did rewash it but only in detergent. Every once in awhile I will pull out a piece and I know that it is from the old stuff stored in the basement. Hopefully with vinegar and or baking soda it will smell great. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    Baking soda, white vinegar and warm water.

  10. #10
    Super Member Margie's Avatar
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    I agree.

    Margie

  11. #11
    Super Member quiltinggirl's Avatar
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    I would use some Febreze on it if you don't want to wash it. I think it would do the trick of getting rid of the smell. Good luck!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    so ladies, how much baking soda and how much vinegar per load do you recommend?

  13. #13
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would use a 1/2 cup of vinegar and baking soda per load... and see if that works, if not try using a cup each. I buy vinegar by the gallon for this use and baking soda in bulk too.

  14. #14
    grammynan's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great info!! I knew you ladies would have the answer!! Isn't this board great?!!! :thumbup:

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I got some older fabric from my MIL and washed it. Wish I had paid attention because the blues ran like the ocean. 9 washes later (when the quilt was done), and the water was still blue. My recommendation: Wash the stash and check along the way.

  16. #16
    Junior Member rita222's Avatar
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    Why not try putting some in the dryer with several bounce drier sheets and see if that doesn't help first before having to wash it all.

  17. #17
    grammynan's Avatar
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    Rita222,

    The dryer thing sounds like a good idea. It's worth a try!

    Thanks for the input.

    Nancy

  18. #18
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    Something old that people seem to forget about is Borax. We had a cat pee on some clothes in a box. Since they were ruined anyway I figured I would try some things to clean them . Borax worked the best. I use it now all the time and we use less fabric softener sheets, I cut mine in half. I also use it for the puppy pads when I foster. They come out smelling great.

  19. #19
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    I got some older fabric from my MIL and washed it. Wish I had paid attention because the blues ran like the ocean. 9 washes later (when the quilt was done), and the water was still blue. My recommendation: Wash the stash and check along the way.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Try something called Color Catcher. You should find it in the washing section
    of your grocery store. I had to go to a bigger town to find it, mine didn't seem
    to know what it was.

  20. #20
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramona Byrd
    Try something called Color Catcher. You should find it in the washing section
    of your grocery store. I had to go to a bigger town to find it, mine didn't seem
    to know what it was.
    Thanks, but this fabric was old and died with Indigo. I don't think a color catcher would have done the trick. I have since gotten real careful with "donated" goods.

  21. #21
    Super Member belmer's Avatar
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    Try useing some linen spray and hang the fabric outdoors ,or put the fabric in the dryer on med heat.

  22. #22
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    I also buy vineger by the gallon, great for chocolate cake !!( recipe is a family favorite ) LOL but not a joke.

  23. #23
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    So, let me see if I am understanding right, you use the vinagar and baking soda in the wash at the same time? I use vinagar in the rinse when I use bleach. I have some musty smelling fabric I need to do something with.

  24. #24
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    I am a Project Linus coordinator and we were told by a Dr. that we should not use fabric that smells musty or moldy even if we wash it. Washing will not remove all the mold spores so anyone that is going to be affected by molds ( allergies, asthma, copd) should not be using a quilt made with this fabric.

  25. #25
    Senior Member mrsjdt's Avatar
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    DITTO on baking soda nd vinegar...and, "just in case" the musty smell really doesn't leave after hanging outside (just doesn't smell to you) I'd err on the safe side and wash it!

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