Sunday, October 4, 2009

How To Safely Remove Unwanted Odors in Vintage Clothes

For removing slight odors such as stale smoke, moth balls, and just overall smell from years of storage, I recommend Borax. It been around since 1891 and because of that I feel it's good to use on vintage clothes, since it more than likely was used on the clothes years ago. I also like it because it's natural. I tried it out for the first time a few days ago on a few new items of vintage clothes that had light odors and light stains. I must say, I was greatly impressed. I followed the directions on the back of the box for deodorizing baby clothes and it worked wonderfully. I always do a follow up of a swish in water that has a little bit of Gain softener in it to give the items the fresh laundry smell and to make them soft.

A word of caution: I have read online and my mom has warned against using Borax with other cleaners (such as Shout or OxiClean) other than the laundry detergent because it can have a chemical reaction. The few times I have used it, the directions on the back proved to work the best.

This next tip is my new absolute favorite discovery. A few days ago I found this really great late 40's dress at Mother Fletchers for a steal; the only problem was it reeked of B.O. I had read online on a few different question and answer forums that vinegar would remove the smell. I was a bit skeptical but decided that this dress was the prefect candidate for the experiment.

I first tried the Borax because I wanted to test it up against a tough B.O. It did work to slightly remove the smell, but it still was very overpowering. I made sure that I rinsed the dress well because of the acid-base mix between the Borax and the vinegar.

After rinsing, I made sure the dress was damp, not sopping wet. I read that a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar worked well in a spray bottle. I mixed up the water in vinegar and sprayed it all over the dress, focusing on the spots were the B.O. was the worst. I let that set in for a few hours, hanging in a cool, dry place. Then, without rinsing, I placed the dress into a tub of water with Gain laundry detergent in it. (I prefer the original scent) I let this soak for the rest of the day and over night.

The following afternoon I rinsed out the dress and rolled the water out of it with a towel and hung to dry. When I went to smell the dress today after it was all dry, I was was amazed that the smell was completely gone. There was also no fading to the dress either.

I was sooooo happy that this worked because I had purchased a dress of eBay and it arrived with a B.O. smell. I was so disappointed because I always make sure and ask before I buy any clothing items online. (The seller said it didn't have any odors). So now that I know this works, the next time I find a great dress I won't shy away from it just because it smells!



★Carol★ said...

Thank you for this great information, because I've been unpleasantly surprised a couple of times when I got something home and noticed the B.O. smell! I got rid of a beautiful vintage sweater about a year ago for just this reason. Oh, if only I'd known!
Thanks again!

Wanda said...

Thanks for the tips! I bought a bunch of musty clothes this past summer. Washed them, but the smell was still faintly there. I'll have to try these solutions. Now to figure out what to do with the dry clean only items. Don't want to take them to the cleaners if I'm just going to sell them.

Protector of Vintage said...

Thanks for the wonderful advice.

Do you own any vintage Lou Taylor Handbags or know much about them? I've done a little bit of research, but am trying to get a handle on their worth. Thanks!

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) said...

Great tips, I generally handwash my vintage clothes in Woolite but I'll have to give Borax a try. Any tips on getting stains out? I'm afraid of trying oxiclean but have heard good things about it.

The Little Miss said...

ahhh such a fun blog!!!! Thanks about how to teach us to take odors out of vintage clothes...good tips!


Anonymous said...

Great tips. Does anyone know how to remove the funky smell from a vintage persian wool coat (a short swing coat) with a satin lining?

Tammy's in Love said...

I have a two layer 50's dress, it's a taffeta under-dress and voile dotted swiss top dress, yup, two separate pieces. I hung the taffeta to dry but it's really wrinkled; should I have dry cleaned it?

swing queen said...

I bought a vintage 1940's swiss army coat (like the one they would wear in the trenches in WWII) for my boyfriend for x-mas but I didn't notice the smell until I got it home. I looked all over the web for tips but this seems like the most gentle solution. The coat is whool but I'm hoping it will still work the same.
Thanks alot!

Liza said...

Don't despair, patience is all you need when getting rid of the musty smell. I've used all techniques for a thick wool coat such as soaking with baking soda, another time was vinegar, wash it in delicate cycle and hang to dry. With no avail, I hang it under the sun, iron it inside out. Finally, I used pure rubbing alcohol (kills the mildew) instead of vodka. Since my wool coat is very thick, I had to spray it several times. It could have probably worked if I just drenched it. Anyway, almost a month now hanging by itself, the vintage smell is gone. It's worth it for a big project. I admit, I was obsessed but who wants to smell like an "old person"?

Lola Colman said...

Add small amounts of vinegar to your laundry. Vinegar brightens colors when used in conjunction with safe laundry detergents. If you don’t already have vinegar, you can pick it up at your local grocery store.

Hayes Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

jade said...

The fumes associated with solder and rosin-based flux have potentially harmful side effects (including asthma-like symptoms and sensitization effects) [3] for the operator and others in close proximity summit

romy heinrike said...

Hi Friend,
Not all doll repairs require the expertise of a "doll doctor"! Here are a few quick-and-easy repairs that you can do yourself.
Thanks..To know Details- Geruch beseitigen

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