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How to Remove Chemical Odor from Clothes

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Cynthia Emmets

My Laundry Question

I bought a jeans skirt that has a terrible odor of chemicals, I think from the dye in the fabric. I love the way this skirt looks on me but I can't wear it with that awful smell. It stings my throat and burns my eyes too. Can you help?

Share a Little Background Info

It is a Jag jeans skirt purchased through Amazon.com. I bought it once before and returned it because of the smell, thinking it might have just been that particular skirt. I had that one dry cleaned before I returned it and that didn't help either.

Lessons Learned

  • I've washed it in lemon juice, in vinegar, in laundry detergent, even scented detergent. I've sprayed it all over in lemon juice, hung it outside to air it out. Nothing. The skirt still smells awful.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Made in the Philippines. 69% cotton, 29% polyester, 2% spandex

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

Chemicals used in textile production is not regulated in many countries. Formaldehyde is often used and is a very difficult odor to remove. My best suggestion is to use baking soda....lots of baking soda! Fill a plastic container large enough to hold the skirt with warm water and add 2 cups of baking soda. Stir to dissolve. Add the skirt, cover the container and let it soak for 24 hours. Rinse the skirt and allow to air dry. Repeat as necessary.

You can also store the skirt in the container with an open box of baking soda to help absorb odors.

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