Rid clothes of odors without big price tag
Thrift-shop finds sometimes come with a certain smell -- here's how to air it out.
Hang your stinky clothes in a confined space, like a small closet, with some lemon rinds on a plate. (Tribune file photo / January 17, 2005)
A The best way to remove these kinds of odors is a process called "ozone generation," says Duane Schumann, production manager for Treasured Garment Restoration in Stillwater, Ohio.
Breathable oxygen exists as a molecule with two oxygen atoms; an ozone generator adds a third oxygen atom to the molecule, which basically suffocates any living organisms that create odors, he said.
This service runs about $15 to $30 per garment, but Schumann shared cheaper alternatives you can try at home:
Hang your clothes in a confined area, such as a closet, with the rinds of a few lemons on a plate. The rinds will work as a sponge to absorb the odor. The process takes up to a week, depending on the severity of the smell. You might have to replace the rinds with fresh ones halfway through.
Air out your garments in direct sunlight on a sunny day. The ultraviolet light will kill the bacteria, but beware — sun also can cause bright colors to fade.
Take advantage of the natural ozone created on a stormy day. Hang your clothes outside where they won't get wet. "Whenever there's electrical discharge from lightning, that's the best time to deodorize anything," Schumann said.
Use air and fabric deodorizers such as Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator.
Wash clothes in regular detergent and rinse once. Add a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.