Tuesday, 4 October, 2022

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In second-hand stores you can often find good quality clothes and even fashion gems. However, after buying second-hand items, they have a characteristic unpleasant smell. In this article we will suggest how to effectively get rid of it.

The cause of the unpleasant smell

Second-hand items owe their smell to a special chemical decontamination process, which they undergo before being delivered to the store. The composition of the chemicals used often includes methyl bromide and formaldehyde, which are poisons – they effectively eliminate insects and harmful bacteria, fungi and mites. They are usually harmless to humans, but can cause inflammation and allergic reactions.

The decontamination process disinfects clothing, so the presence of an unpleasant odor indicates that things have undergone proper treatment. Materials do not contain dangerous microorganisms – instead, there are toxic substances in them. Therefore, it is necessary to wash and air them outdoors before using second-hand items.

Removing bad odor with ammonia

To remove bad odors you can always use ammonia water. Ammonia solution is sold in home improvement stores and grocery stores. It’s an agent often used by dry cleaners mainly to remove unpleasant odors. At home, ammonia is just as effective. How to use it?

First, dissolve it in water – about 2-5 ml of solution for every liter of water. In such a mixture soak the purchased clothes and leave from several minutes to several hours. The soaking time depends on the quality of the fabric, for example, with thin, delicate fabrics, 10-15 minutes is enough, and with things made of dense materials, even 6 hours. If the solution does not completely remove the odor, increase its concentration – 8-10 ml for every liter of water – and soak the clothes again. After soaking, the items should be thoroughly wrung out and hung out to dry in the open air for a day. After this procedure, you must wash the clothes. Washing, drying and ironing should completely remove odors, neutralize harmful substances and make things wearable.

Ammonia does not affect the color of the fabric, does not contribute to its deformation, does not stretch or shrink it, so you can use it on all fabrics, even very delicate ones. If you need to remove the odor from leather or suede items that cannot be washed, just carefully wash them with a cloth soaked in ammonia.

Washing after soaking

After treating in ammonia and removing the characteristic odor, the garment should be washed in hot water. The washing temperature, of course, depends on the type of fabric, but it is desirable that it be no lower than 60℃. At the same time, it is advisable to wash children’s things twice to completely clean the fabric of toxins. For better results, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the wash. Classic odor neutralizers are also effective, such as scented soap or washing powder, coffee, fabric deodorizer.

After washing, clothes should be thoroughly rinsed, dried and ironed with a hot iron, preferably on both sides. Steam treatment is very important, because it allows you to finally remove odors. On the other hand, washing without spinning and drying in the open air allow you to refresh the fabric as much as possible.

main photo: unsplash.com/Sarah Brown

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