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BTD Forums  /  Nonnie Clubhouse  /  That horrible smell of scented laundry detergent!!
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 6:20pm
I can't be the only nonnie who gets headaches from "clean" laundry full of toxic fragrances!

My son just came home from camp with 2 suitcases and a laundry bag full of stuff to wash. The dirty stuff got clean just fine. But I can't seem to get the smell out of the "clean" towels!

I've washed them twice and dried them once. The smell is still strong enough to  give me a headache if I were to use one to dry my hair. How do I get this reek OUT of my towels so I can use them again?

I've put those towels aside while I take care of the rest of his laundry.
Posted by: passionprincess, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 6:24pm; Reply: 1
baking soda and white vinegar?
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 6:27pm; Reply: 2
I used baking soda in the first washing; non chlorine bleach in the second.

I'm not even sure I have white vinegar in the house. Would apple cider vinegar work?
Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:24pm; Reply: 3
I think apple cider vinegar would work.
I have the same problem when Emma has visited my brothers  :X
Often I leave her clothes out in the wind for days after that.

It s really uncommon for middleclass families to use scented washingpowder here in DK :-/
so I wonder why my sister in law is so stupid to risk allergies etc.
Posted by: Chloe, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:33pm; Reply: 4
Can you possibly put a clothes rack outdoors in the sun and let the stuff air out?  The sun works wonders when fabric reeks.
Posted by: O in Virginia, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:33pm; Reply: 5
It's those synthetic laundry musks.  They hang around forever, which is what they were created to do.  I'd hang the clothes outside for a day or two, if possible.  Then wash them again.  Eventually, the scent will go away.  I don't mind laundry scents, but there are some scents that do give me a headache and make me feel nauseated, particularly scented candles and the aisles of craft stores that sell candles and candle making materials.  It really bothers me.  You have my sympathy.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:45pm; Reply: 6
Well, they're currently in the washing machine with vinegar instead of laundry detergent. It occurred to me that maybe they used too much detergent when washing the clothes,and using yet more detergent (though unscented) might have kept this nasty stuff from rinsing out properly.

If they still stink, I'll leave the towels outside for a while. After getting rained on and slightly mildewy, they'll wash out fine!
Posted by: Patty H, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:45pm; Reply: 7
I'd go with the white vinegar over the apple cider vinegar.  It is extremely inexpensive and makes a great all-round house cleaner for fabrics, rugs, hardwood floors, etc.  I use it all the time.

After washing in vinegar, then I would hang it outside, as the vinegar has a strong smell on its own, but it is an ezymatic cleaner so it should get rid of the odor.  I also use it on the rare occasion when one of my pets has an accident and it can totally eliminate the odor of dog urine because it kills the bacteria associated with the smell.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:48pm; Reply: 8
I don't normally keep white vinegar in the house because of my extreme wheat allergy, and not knowing exactly what the vinegar is fermented from or just how thoroughly it's distilled. If I could clarify that it was fermented from something else, such as corn or potato, I'd have no problem using it topically or in cleaning. Since I had a gallon jug of ACV under the bathroom sink, I used a cup of that in the wash.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 8:06pm; Reply: 9
The ACV worked!  The towels smell like towels now, not the laundry aisle of the grocery store.
Posted by: rangtang, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 8:38am; Reply: 10
I f any body wantsa good recipe to make their own i have one  a la wendyl nissens book the home companion it is so  easy to make i love it!
1/4 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda crystals
1/2 bar soap ( i uses a nice vegetable oil based coconut  one but use whatever you like, wendyl says sunlight soap works well but not sure if you non new zealanders have that one.
  method; grate soap(1/2 the bar) into I Litre of water you bring up to temeperature
add the borax and washing soda and stir till all dissolved. add to a bucket with 5 litres of warm water in and stir to mix, allow to cool slightly and decant ( old plastic milk bottles etc  work well). shake before use as it sets to a gluggy texture and use 1/2 a cup. this stuff is so economical
you can add whatever essential oils you like such as eucalyptus, manuka ( nz te tree)  tea tree  etc.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 6:13pm; Reply: 11
Half a cup for what size washing machine? And does that work in a high-efficiency machine?

I used to make my own laundry detergent, about 8 years ago or so, but I stopped because it wasn't convenient to use (I didn't have storage space in my laundry room for a large batch, and small batches meant making it too often), it didn't always "thicken up" evenly, so it was hard to use and much got wasted. I calculated out what I was spending on materials, and determined that I wasn't saving any money over using conventional detergents, especially when factoring in that the commercial stuff was effective in smaller quantities than the homemade.

It was also around that time that I discovered I could wash cloth diapers in just baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and not need to add any soap or detergent at all. I would sprinkle baking soda on the diapers in teh pail to keep down the odors, then dump the contents into the washing machine and wash on hot, no need to add soap or anything else.
Posted by: Joy, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 7:57pm; Reply: 12
I just finished a wash and used a plastic container filled with white vinegar with the detergent.

The clothes were about as fluffy (no vinegar smell at all) as they can get.

Joy
Posted by: Chloe, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 8:25pm; Reply: 13
I forgot to mention this but Arm and Hammer Washing soda takes bad smells out of clothes.

http://www.armandhammer.com/fabric-care/laundry-boosters/Products/arm-and-hammer-super-washing-soda-detergent-booster.aspx
Posted by: NewHampshireGirl, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9:14pm; Reply: 14
My sisters and I recently had email discussions about detergent being used in our front loading washing machines.  None of us like the fragrances of most of the detergents and we're all upset with our front loaders because they take so long.  I decided to do some online research to see what others like to use and finally settled on Ultra Plus liquid detergent from Sears.  No dyes added and no fragrance.  The washes have come out beautifully clean and finally I again have clothes with that clean smell of fresh laundry.  My mother had a Bendix front loader in the 1950s and it was wonderful.  It didn't take as long as mine does and the sheets and pillowslips lasted forever.  I think the technology of these machines does not measure up to the old Bendix.  I've always liked the fact the front loaders use much less water.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9:17pm; Reply: 15
My local supermarket alternates which  brand is on sale,  but there's almost always one brand available for $2 or less per bottle. I've found that I can tolerate any of them, as long as I get the "free and clear" version (with no added perfumes or dyes.) I've also found that they all work just fine in my machine.
Posted by: rangtang, Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9:44pm; Reply: 16
make your own that way you know exactly what is it and whats not  ;D that way they will be phosphate free as well! which means alot nicer to our waterways and aquatic life .. plus  this recipe makes 6 litres and that makes 48 washes for no more than $1.50   ( 1$ US)  you just have to go to a bulk store for the borax and washing soda crystals.
Posted by: Serenity, Friday, August 26, 2011, 12:47pm; Reply: 17
Eco stores sell soap nuts, all natural and no smell, compost when used up and the grey water can safely water trees.  I am an A+ so vinegar is an avoid and it certainly irritates me - used it to clean the shower glass and was sick the rest of the day.  
I have to hold my breath when I go anywhere near the detergent or even shampoo aisle at the shops esp in hayfever season - anything will set off non stop sneezing and cracker of a headache.  :'(
Oh and don't even bother going to big department stores near the fragrances - my worst nightmare - sore throat and burning eyes....  and people spray this on their skin willingly, oh dear.
Posted by: Chloe, Friday, August 26, 2011, 2:36pm; Reply: 18
Quoted from Serenity
Eco stores sell soap nuts, all natural and no smell, compost when used up and the grey water can safely water trees.  I am an A+ so vinegar is an avoid and it certainly irritates me - used it to clean the shower glass and was sick the rest of the day.  
I have to hold my breath when I go anywhere near the detergent or even shampoo aisle at the shops esp in hayfever season - anything will set off non stop sneezing and cracker of a headache.  :'(
Oh and don't even bother going to big department stores near the fragrances - my worst nightmare - sore throat and burning eyes....  and people spray this on their skin willingly, oh dear.


Just my two cents but I have tried soap nuts and it was if I washed my clothes in plain water.  Clothes didn't get clean at all...and whatever smell was already in the clothes, stayed. I used
an entire bag of soap nuts which took me quite a few months.  But I see your point....Soap
nuts, if you're sensitive to laundry detergent won't give off an offensive odor.  I just wouldn't call it an effective laundering product.

Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Friday, August 26, 2011, 4:08pm; Reply: 19
Quoted from Chloe


Just my two cents but I have tried soap nuts and it was if I washed my clothes in plain water.  Clothes didn't get clean at all...and whatever smell was already in the clothes, stayed. I used
an entire bag of soap nuts which took me quite a few months.  But I see your point....Soap
nuts, if you're sensitive to laundry detergent won't give off an offensive odor.  I just wouldn't call it an effective laundering product.



I agree  :D
Posted by: cindyt, Friday, August 26, 2011, 7:01pm; Reply: 20
Quoted from Chloe
I forgot to mention this but Arm and Hammer Washing soda takes bad smells out of clothes.

http://www.armandhammer.com/fabric-care/laundry-boosters/Products/arm-and-hammer-super-washing-soda-detergent-booster.aspx



According to A & H you should not use this in an HE washer, like a front loader.  I used to use it and checked with them when I got my HE machine.
Posted by: Symbi, Saturday, August 27, 2011, 2:07am; Reply: 21
Wonder if they might have used fabric softener.   :P Yuck!  Read somewhere that fabric softener can include mercury.  Definitely not worth it for soft towels!

LOL it's no surprise that we are complaining about smells here in the nonnie clubhouse - sensitive souls we are!  Not belittling the topic and all the toxins that come with bad smells.
Posted by: Chloe, Saturday, August 27, 2011, 2:13am; Reply: 22
Quoted from cindyt



According to A & H you should not use this in an HE washer, like a front loader.  I used to use it and checked with them when I got my HE machine.


Good to know. I  have a HE front load washer, but I actually use Arm and Hammer Washing soda to wash my tile floors. I just know it's good to remove odors. My dog has often puked on the
kitchen floor and it got into the grout...Washing soda and water removed odor and stain...And it's awesome to clean stainless steel. I've used it to remove mildew stains on outdoor furniture...so it's very versatile.. My favorite laundry detergent is Mrs. Meyers...and I don't need or use Arm and Hammer soda with it.

Posted by: RedLilac, Saturday, August 27, 2011, 2:45pm; Reply: 23
I’m so glad you can find a choice of “free & clear” nowadays.  In the old days if you wanted something without fragrance you used baking soda.
Posted by: Symbi, Monday, August 29, 2011, 2:55am; Reply: 24
Just found out yesterday that when I get really sensitive to smell it's during migraine.  Extra sensitivity to sound, light and smell can occur with migraine.  Worth checking if you get them too, working out triggers and avoiding them.  Perfume on others or clothes is one thing that's hard to avoid tho.   :P
Posted by: Possum, Monday, August 29, 2011, 3:18am; Reply: 25
Sometimes the sensitivity to smell etc can be enough to bring on a migraine??!! :-/
Posted by: zenphoenix, Monday, August 29, 2011, 11:26pm; Reply: 26
Quoted from Possum
Sometimes the sensitivity to smell etc can be enough to bring on a migraine??!! :-/


for me, oh yes!
the smell of cooking bacon will bring on a migraine in less than 10 minutes.

certain perfumes, and scented laundry soaps/softners can also, but not as fast as bacon. I usually have time to head it off at the pass with scented products, i do not with bacon.

It the weather is turbulent or if there is a storm coming, many scents will push me over the edge to a migraine... including the smell of honey, yogurt, lilacs, cantaloupe and strawberries.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, August 29, 2011, 11:50pm; Reply: 27
Quoted from Symbi
Wonder if they might have used fabric softener.   :P Yuck!  Read somewhere that fabric softener can include mercury.  Definitely not worth it for soft towels!
Even in my fabric-softener using days, I wouldn't use it on towels. It made them less absorbant!

zenphoenix- just be thankful nobody's created a bacon-scented laundry product yet!   ;D
Posted by: Possum, Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 12:41am; Reply: 28
I dropped my husband at airport this morning so took the time to op shop in an area I never usually go to... First op shop was fine but second the air freshener spray almost hit me in the head as I walked in ::) lasted 5 minutes then I left...Then the last one was 2 doors down from a "Subway" shop & I could smell their hot bread right through the shop >:(
Posted by: Possum, Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 1:38am; Reply: 29
I gotta add...since getting back home, I cannot stop the feeling/craving for Subway savoury bread...or get the smell out of my airways ::) ??)
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 4:01pm; Reply: 30
Maybe try a neti pot or another "container" for a nasal rinse? Would that get the smell out of your airways?
Posted by: Symbi, Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 10:51pm; Reply: 31
That's no good Possum!  Pesky bakeries!  Maybe try some peppermint oil or some peppermint tea or something strong but enjoyable to wipe the smell slate clean.
Posted by: Ribbit, Thursday, September 1, 2011, 2:49am; Reply: 32
I confess I haven't read everything here.  I just read the first one and the last couple.  (Sorry, Ruth, I'm in a hurry.)

How about washing them with borax, rinsing them with white vinegar, then hanging them in the sun to dry?  Maybe putting a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil in there too?
Posted by: David, Thursday, September 1, 2011, 8:01am; Reply: 33
I have been reading a book "What The Nose Knows - The Science of Scent In Everyday Life. It says many studies document clearly that the state of our mood, the internal and external dialogue we have about scent's are the most influential variable to the psychosomatic, physical, mental and emotional effects that we experience either good or bad, weak or strong to most obvious, suggested and even most subliminally sensed smells we detect. The Brain overrides what the nose smells!
Posted by: David, Thursday, September 1, 2011, 8:13am; Reply: 34
Also, mall stores and merchandisers are moving big-time into artificially scenting environments and products because they have discovered that even "subtly" scenting their environment and products do have a measurable impact on purchases.
Posted by: NewHampshireGirl, Thursday, September 1, 2011, 4:59pm; Reply: 35
Truly interesting, David.  Scents dig deep in our memories.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, September 1, 2011, 5:56pm; Reply: 36
Quoted from Ribbit
I confess I haven't read everything here.  I just read the first one and the last couple.  (Sorry, Ruth, I'm in a hurry.)

How about washing them with borax, rinsing them with white vinegar, then hanging them in the sun to dry?  Maybe putting a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil in there too?


No problem Leanne, but I did finally get rid of the smell by washing the clothes with a cup of  vinegar in the wash, no extra  detergent added.

From now on, whenever I get "new" clothes from the thrift store, I'll wash them by themselve with vinegar rather than tossing into the hamper with clothes that are actually dirty.
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