How to Remove Fragrance Loaded Laundry Detergent from Clothes by

How Do You Remove Toxic Fragrance Chemicals from Clothes?

Q & A: Do you know if there’s anything a person can do to get the toxic fragrance chemicals out of clothing without having to wash them over and over?


A long time friend just asked us a really great question and we need your help offering her solutions that really work.  So activate your Non-toxic Ninja superpowers and help us out, will you?

Do you know if there's anything a person can do to get the toxic fragrance chemicals out of clothing sooner?  If Grandma washes something she brings over for the kids, I end up having to wash it 10 times and still the scent lingers.  What can I use to get rid of the allergy-inducing smell quicker?

We've always tried various combinations of vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. But we'd love to know what magic formula have you found to get the job done without having to put the clothes through 10 wash cycles.

Here Are the Helpful Tips We've Heard from You

Kathy T. Says:

If the smell still lingers after that many washings and a vinegar rinse, it sounds like Grandma may be using dryer sheets or fabric softener, which are fat/wax-based, and fuse with the fibers of the clothes. She'll need to strip the oily/waxy residues. I know it isn't the most wholesome choice, but running the clothes in a hot cycle with 1 tbs (1tsp for HE) of dish soap, followed by a hot cycle with 1/2 cup vinegar, should do the trick. This is the method cloth diapering parents use to remove things like rash cream build-up. Hope it helps!

Betsy of Eco Novice Says:

We have this problem frequently with hand-me-down clothes. I buy a lot of kids clothes in thrift stores as well, and try to avoid the most heavily fragranced ones. But I have two SILs that use the whole arsenal of products on the clothes we get as hand-me-downs. I wash with RLR, which is what cloth diaper users use to strip their diapers of detergent. Then I might wash another time with just hot water until no suds (just like stripping diapers). Finally, I line dry FOREVER. Until I can't smell or barely smell the fragrance. Some fragrance I never really can remove completely : ( especially synthetics like a fleece jacket, so then I just have to make a judgment call about whether my kids will use it or not. I mention this process in a couple of posts HERE and HERE.

Are your clothes leaching toxic fragrance chemicals?

  1. Good question! My mother-in-law uses fabric softener that is so strong that even her trash can and extension cords smell like it! She washed a load of clothes for me almost a year ago and some of them still smell.

    1. I believe it, Cindy! My son’s friend accidentally left his sweat pants at our house. I washed them today and put them in my son’s room, not realizing they weren’t his. He picked them up, smelled them, and immediately said, “Oh these are Jack’s.” It’s just crazy how powerful those fragrance chemicals are! ~Alicia

  2. Oh, I had a similar experience with a baby sleeping bag I bought on eBay. It *stank* of chemical ‘perfume’. I had to wash it at least half a dozen times and soaked it overnight twice as well, before we could even think about using it.

      1. Me, too! My husband just had cancer surgery, and the visiting nurse who came on Monday left a fabric softener smell so strong that we are still airing out the house five days later. I would think they would teach nurses who are going into sick peoples houses not to wear heavy fragrances, including fabric softeners!

        1. I agree. There are so many toxic chemicals that they use in anything with a fragrance,except for therapeutic essential oils .Health care professionals should know better, since there is so many potential adverse health effects from fragrance products but they don’t . I am a RN and I had to leave my job with a county health department after developing multiple chemical sensitivities due to my supervisor’s and secretary’s perfume use and all the perfumed products she brought in for everyone at work. After that I became very sensitive to even small amounts of synthetic fragrance.

          1. i am also a nurse and have chemical sensitivities I have been trying ever thing to get chemical smells out of my clothing but have not got any thing yet would like to what doctor helps u with urs

        2. being a nurse I can tell u that when we went to school we could not wear any thing that had perfume they would check us and would be made to take it off I have been told by nurses that have had perfume on that they was told they could wear it if it wasn’t strong but my strong and their strong wan not the same I had my mom in hospital one time and when I got there to see her said u want be able to stay here and see me the nurse has strong perfume on sure enough she was right she came in to change a dressing on mom I told her no u will not change it get some one who has no perfume on and please do not come back in here while I am here she said her perfume was not strong if mom said it I new it was bad she could not smell good any way she did went out sent another nurse in I knew from my past and she ask me questions that I was happy to tell her all about the nurse with the perfume was told I am sure what I said it is ok I would told her if she had ask even more then I did u know I wash my clothing for a month or two before I can wear it soak in vinegar wash in plant detergent and hand wash hard to open fibers it takes for ever hang out side can not hang in side smell to strong

          1. Janice, please try a product called EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer for getting fragrances and perfumes out of clothing. I have been using this product for a year now to rid clothing of the nasty fragrance chemicals in my clothing. This product dismantles the fragrance rather than covering it up with another scent. The fragrance molecules are actually removed from the fabrics. You can only buy EnviroKlenz online at this time…just search for it and the web site will show up. Not sure if I am allowed to give the URL on this blog. The company also makes other products for removing fragrances from furniture, carpet, surfaces, pets, etc. I like their hand soap for getting the nasty fragrances off my hands. Take a look!

          2. that comment was written by a barely-literate moron. there’s no way that you should be a nurse.
            i’m sorry to be insulting. but an unqualified nurse could cost people their lives.

      2. It isn’t crazy! I get hives from people’s laundry soap, along with headaches and a sore throat. I was given a big bag of clothes two weeks ago. I haven’t brought them into the house yet. Outside I have put them in five gallon buckets, first with a soap I’m not allergic to then with vinegar and baking soda. Dumping and replacing the water treatment twice over a period of 2 weeks. Today I hung them out to drip dry and they are still to strong to put in my washing machine. If I put them in my machine then put my other clothes in my machine I won’t be able to wear my othe clothes either. I may not be able to keep the clothes. I don’t know what I can do. That’s why I googled the question that go me to your comment.

    1. Did you use dish soap, vinegar, or anything else besides laundry detergent? I’m working with a sleeping bag, as well, and I’m scared trying these other methods will ruin the fabric.

    2. Same-ish; purchased a lovely cardigan on eBay- it arrived filled with a toxic dry sheet smell. Still stanky after a vinegar soak and a wash/rinse with vinegar. The sweater is presently in pot soaking in vinegar. I’ll leave it overnight and see what happens.

  3. Would this work with that “new denim” smell? That drives me crazy… dark denim seems to always have this awful smell.

  4. We have this problem frequently with hand-me-down clothes. I buy a lot of kids clothes in thrift stores as well, and try to avoid the most heavily fragranced ones. But I have two SILs that use the whole arsenal of products on the clothes we get as hand-me-downs. I wash with RLR, which is what cloth diaper users use to strip their diapers of detergent. Then I might wash another time with just hot water until no suds (just like stripping diapers). Finally, I line dry FOREVER. Until I can’t smell or barely smell the fragrance. Some fragrance I never really can remove completely : ( Esp. synthetics like a fleece jacket, so then I just have to make a judgment call about whether my kids will use it or not. I mention this process in a couple of posts:

    The RLR plus the line drying really helps a ton.

      1. Thanks, Betsy! I’ll try your process sometimes. But unless there’s full public disclosure of ingredients ( I can’t find any for RLR), we don’t know if we’re substituting one set of chemicals for another. Fragrance can be any of hundreds of chemicals. And just because we can’t smell fragrance, doesn’t mean fragrance chemicals aren’t there.

  5. I bought an antique couch that I didn’t realize that smelled of perfume. No matter what I did to clean it the smell never came out. I had to re-upholster. Same thing happened with a bolt of fabric I bought at a yard sale. I couldn’t get the smell out no matter what I did. I even tried using an ozonator. In the end, I had to give the fabric away.

  6. I will soak in vinegar and baking soda for 24 hours. Then wash in hot water with vinegar several times. Leaving outside to dry helps too! Another option is real old fashioned lye soap. Do one wash with that too!

  7. Amazing how those toxic chemical fragrances last, especially when you stop using them and are desensitized! After washing, I hang them to dry in the sun, that seems to help.

  8. Thanks for all of these ideas, this is especially needed since I just had to do a load at the laundromat, I used the dryer and when I took my clothes out I realized my clothes smelled like dryer sheets! I’ve rewashed them now twice and they still smell. Horrible, horrible stuff. There oughta be a law!

  9. Thank you for asking this question! All of the comments have been great! Toxic chemicals and fragrances on our clothing and other products are a big concern. I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, so these are things I have to constantly avoid, or else I get symptoms flaring up. Glad to see you all realize how toxic these things are! The more people who start to realize it, the more pressure there would on manufactures to begin making changes to their ingredients. Maybe one of these days these harmful chemicals will be outlawed.

    1. I, too, suffer from MCS. Right now, it is 3 AM. I have been up all night, trying to air out my bedroom, as my laundry room is located in the half bath by my bed. I used tide pods today for the first time, trying to get rid of the smell of the all free and clear. Neither of those products was free or clear! How can I rid my washing machine of the smell? There are no clothes in it and it reeks of the tide. Now my nose and throat are burning, and I cannot sleep!

      1. Sorry to hear this. I totally understand. Tide is one of the worst offenders! I recommend looking at the Environmental Working Groups database when shopping for cleaners. They grade products. Look for products with an “A”. I’m not sure what will take the smell away. Maybe try wiping the inside of your washer down (a few times) with vinegar.

        1. Based on what another commenter said above about castile soap, try Dr. Bronner’s SalSuds soap. I wish I had some now (I don’t have any right now), but I’m going to try their Almond Oil soap – maybe it will work.

      2. Both Tide and All are petroleum based products. Each make a free of perfume and dye version. Bear in mind the chemical formulas are otherwise the same. Use a plant based detergent like Seventh generation. There are many. Don’t be fooled by “greenwashing” or petroleum based marketed as green. If I were you right now I would take antihistamines. Avoid that airspace. Look on EWG for a washing machine cleaner with a good rating. I can’t tell you what you can do with your laundry. The reaction I have is severe. I tossed mine. Trying to save the garments that hung nearby. We’re all “contact high”! When I do laundry I repeat with vinegar to remove soap residual. Good luck!

  10. Well I feel silly that it took me this long to think of this, but I just put the very smelly pants that I washed 4 times (various methods, vinegar, baking soda, hadn’t yet tried Dawn – I don’t like that smell either – or RLR) in a hot water and castile soap only soak. Washed them out, rinsed them, hung them to dry and the smell seems to be gone. I am going to try this with more smelly Grandma washed clothes and hope my luck continues, thank goodness for castile!

    1. Thank you for that tip Belinda!! It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even be around my grown daughter without getting a migraine because of the dryer sheets she uses. She is allowing me to wash her clothes to get the smell out and then I’m buying her a pack of wool balls from Bed Bath and Beyond. They work great for reducing static cling. I love mine!

  11. I had someone ask me this on Twitter a while back. It seems to be a common problem, and one we are becoming more aware of as we remove toxic chemicals from our lives that desensitize our noses. Most of the time 1 or two washes with vinegar and washing soda will work in the hottest water the clothes can take. However, if that doesn’t work, the comment from Kathy above is likely correct, it’s due to fabric softeners & dryer sheets. However, you may be able to remove the coating by soaking in vinegar or boiling them (just as you do to strip cloth diapers) rather than using Dawn.

      1. Even if i can’t smell it, if my pants encounter fabric softener, I get a burning sensation around my waistline along with uncontrolled dizziness—indicators that it’s still in the fabric. I’ve let them soak overnight in a hot 5-gallon water bucket with a cup of vinegar, and have managed to get it out.

        1. I doubt, based on what I have read regarding the structure of the new chemicals formed when heated, that the chemicals are removed. It’s a matter of refusing to use these products or purchase used clothing on which they’ve been used. People who use spray deodorizers on furniture, too, if experiencing odd symptoms, may well wish to stop using those. I use vinegar for many things, and have tried the soaking method. It doesn’t work.

          1. With thicker materials you kinda have to manhandle them inside the vinegar. You know, stretch them, squeeze them, thrust them up and down like a plunger (create some vacuum suction), whatever you have to do to open up the various pores in the fabric.

            Also, if your washing machine is unclean due to built-up soap residues and mold, you may be confusing one problem with another entirely.

            1. Right – but not confusing one problem with another. The dryer sheets will also foul your dryer heater core.

              1. I have never read any concerns over the heating element. If anything, the chemicals should burn off with use.

                  1. Well I’m not bothered by the dryer after removing the softener from the clothes in the bucket of vinegar. Do you by chance use vinegar in your rinse cycles?

                    1. I do not use vinegar in rinse cycles. I use inexpensive, allegedly fragrance free liquid detergent. I add baking soda to the wash. That’s it.

  12. Some specialised laundromats have pressurised Ozone chambers which gas all mal-odours. DO NOT take garments with elastics or spandex the Ozone will oxidise the rubber.

    Wash them a few times at home, air dry, then take a few in, one garment at time would be expensive. Also, specify that the garment not be dry cleaned afterwards many laundromats do it automatically, and it’s often included in the price.

  13. Hi Ladies! I am very comforted to know that I’m not the only one that believes fragranced laundry products and perfumes should be banned from stores. It’s truly toxic and makes life tough for those of us who suffer from asthma/allergies. What can we do to draw attention to this national problem? Maybe the major networks would run a campaign? It feels like thousands of people would love to see it removed from our daily lives, yet the elephant continues to sit in the room. It would seem that a process to educate the public on a major scale is called for? Thank you guys for being here and shining a light on the issue 🙂

    1. please do write every time. I get grief from the major manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble because one of their reps literally said that if people are buying the fragrances they are going to keep selling them. However there is the possibility if they knew the fragrances were a problem they could either “re-tool” and come up with fragrances that don’t make people ill (in the long ago past there were such things) instead of the “unstoppable” stuff made today and the way that happens is write emails or call any and every company or store when you find yourself feeling ill in the store or from their products. The American Lung Association is behind you on the asthma issue yet when I bring that up to my local “activists” even the Environmental Health Coalition that fragrances should not be used in public schools due to the incidence of asthma they shrug their perfumed shoulders and keep wanting to rant about industry…I write to somebody every day. A big one is health care, we ought not to be exposed to fragrances at Doctors offices or hospitals and emplyees and other patients should be asked to refrain from wearing them. Carbon and other odor neutralizers can take care of bodily fluid smells so their no reason to have to wear perfume. I went to a ob/gyn office that reeked of perfume, apparently they never heard of morning sickness! We pay for our health care, we are legally required to purchase health care plans so we ought to have access!

      1. My dermatologist leaves a recorded reminder for appointments, requiring that patients wear no fragrances or perfumes. It doesn’t mean people will think about their laundry detergent, hand cream, ect., but it’s a start. I walked into a Dr. office where they have scented candles burning, told them I would not stay, nor would I pay their fee, and sent them information sp they know what they are doing to their patients.

        1. my dermatologist did the same thing when I got there the office i sign in at was full of perfume and the nurse that was to do my test had perfume on I told the doctor that I was told not to wear any thing and u have perfumed objects in the office that had to sign in and ur nurse has perfume on he said he new they had been told about this that he was only a part worker I told him she could not come in the room with me and I told the lady who signed me in about he perfumed office never went back there the next one I went to was worse then that one the doctor did not even care and had a young women following him a round taking his notes for him her perfume was so strong that I could not breath when ask that she leave the room the doctor and kept doing what they where doing like I did not even say any thing had to stand at the door away from them to even breath then needed to go to the bath room and it had a chemical sprayer in it they where caring for people with allergies giving out info how to care for allergies and they where doing nothing to take care of u in the office at all it was bad the worst I have been to yet

  14. Ok here’s one for you, you buy a used appliance like a pc/tv monitor, plug it in and it starts to outgass a fragrance, hard to believe but this happens all the time when we buy used appliances like from Goodwill, we figure the previous owners sprayed themselves near the appliance and it somehow entered through the vents, since it pours of them, the latest smells like euphoria, get a perfume jag from this one and your brain takes to the hills, that’s how they used to say it back in the 50’s. Had to take it out of the house and put in the garage, any ideas how to get fragrance out of an appliance, clothes is hard enough, sheesh!

    1. I find that rubbing alcohol to clean parts helps, though I started to buy new stuff not knowing whether bed bugs or something worse was coming along for the ride with used stuff. The new stuff off gases for awhile but I keep bags of zeolite around, always have a window open no matter what the temp and use hepa filters with carbon pre filters. I just wrote to the Goodwill and I recommend you do and explain your problem. They can’t remedy what people bring in but the more they hear from persons who can’t work for them or buy their stuff due to fragrance sensitivities the more likely they will start asking people to clean stuff with fragrance free before they donate it…after all they are supposedly helping certain parts of the disabled community and chemical sensitivity is now being recognized particularly for persons who are getting migraines or asthma from the fragrances.

    2. IT’s the thrift stores that put that smell in. I found it inside a coffee cup I bought once from Salvation Army, Why spray a coffee cup? duh how stupid. Had to get rid of it.

  15. Forgot that my Ocuvite 50 pill was left in my flannel jacket pocket – I washed & dryed it. It had melted in the pocket and my husband got all of the hard crusted residue that was left behind out BUT NOW HAS LEFT A NASTY SMELL BEHIND!!!! Have washed it several times. This is my favorite keep warm jacket – the smell is horrific!!! Is there anything I can use other than regular detergent to try & get this TOXIC SMELL OUT!!! Thanking you in advance !!! Needing your help!!

    1. The smell is not “toxic.” People here are dealing with serious chemical toxicity. Heh. Contact the Ocuvite 50 manufacturer and demand they clean the jacket.

    2. If it is something that you are ingesting, it shouldn’t be toxic like the synthetic fragrances that contain phaylates and hundreds of other toxins. If it is, indeed toxic, you should not ingest them.

  16. Dawn dish soap CONTAINS toxic fragrance chemicals. So you are just adding more perfume to your clothes, this is not good advice.

  17. Do these washing tricks work to rid our clothing of the other toxic chemicals in our clothing?

    I’ve just been reading about how synthetic fibers, like polyester, acrylic, rayon, nylon, etc…and the chemicals used to make even natural fiber clothing, like 100% cotton, are toxic, mess up our endocrine system, and cause disease and cancer.

    We are a single income family with 5 our 9 children still at home. We can’t possibly afford to ravamp all of our wardrobes to completely organic clothing. I’ve read that there have been studies showing that at least some of the pesticides can be removed via washing but what I read didn’t explain how this was accomplished. I would appreciate any help you could give me in learning how to neutralize as much of the chemical backlash to my family as possible.

    ~ Laura

  18. Thank you for the information. Our neighbor found that her dog had stolen our child’s stuffed animal, so she washed it for us. Now, I’m afraid I’ll never get that smell out of his favorite bunny. I’m going to try every one of these ideas until something works.

      1. Well, sort of. I washed the little guy about 8-10 times in the washing machine with combinations of my regular unscented 7th generation detergent and sometimes dr bronners liquid soap. I did soak it in vinegar as well, but I did not find that to be helpful. I am positive she used a liquid fabric softener. It took a long time of him saying,this smells like C’s mon” before he stopped noticing the smell. Even now, if I wash it again, and the kids grunge gets washed off, you can faintly smell it. It just took lots and lots of water and soap.

        1. I got rid of most of the smell by running through the wash cycles 3x with a soak in between (without letting it go to rinse) with 2 cups of vinegar, 3/4s of a pound of baking soda, 2 squirts of organic dish soap (to cut the oil they use that makes that gunk stick to the fabric), the normal amount of Seventh Generation laundry soap, and a big squirt of Dr Bronner’s almond oil castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds soap would have been better, but I was out).

          That actually worked pretty well – only a little residual smell. Then I ordered some RLR laundry treatment and that worked best off all. Still some residual smell, but tolerable – so I ordered more of it. I got mine on eBay

          1. I wouldn’t use the vinegar with your clothes in the washer at all, you might be inadvertently putting the washer’s soap scum back into your clothes. If your clothes need vinegar, do it outside the washer in a bucket.

          2. where do u get doctor bronner sal suds I used seventh generation laundry detergent for yrs but the last two bottles I could not use the smell of chemicals was strong in it

            1. Dr. Bronner’s Sal suds are available at most natural food stores, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitacost, or Amazon on line. It’s a wonderful product!

  19. Drat. Like everyone else I was hoping for some magic chemistry trick. Ha ha ha!

    I bought a steel cup with a silicone-and-plastic lid, new, at a store that stocked them near the candles, though I didn’t realize until I got it home that the lid would always smell like the candles, gak. Goodbye, lid. I have tried everything I can think of and nothing will get that stink out.

    The same problem comes up all the time with secondhand clothes. If it didn’t save so much money, I would give up on thrift shops. I’ve also washed the stinky laundry soap clothes in everything I can think of many many times, and the only thing that works reliably on every fabric is to hang it outside for. ever. Sun is great if you have it, but it’ll work either way. It just takes a long time. I feel sorry for the outdoors, that it has to absorb the stink. :./

    I did notice a difference when I got a spin dryer to extract more of the water from the clothes than the washing machine does, especially synthetics like fleece that take the longest to de-stink. I hang them outside for a few days first, to spare the washing machine. Then a wash with unfragranced detergent, run it through the spin dryer, and then hang it outside until I can’t smell it anymore. There have been a few synthetics that I can’t ever get the stink out, and those I just had to throw away.

  20. I came here looking for a solution to removing detergent or fabric softener smells in some shirts I bought on eBay. I washed them in organic, scent-free laundry soap in hot water; then soaked them in that soap; then washed them again and they don’t reek any less now than they did AND now the 2 pairs of new jeans I washed with them because they had a little laundry smell now reek as bad as the shirts. Whatever you do, don’t wash them with anything else until you manage to get the stink out.

    1. I’m working on 4 loads of clothes that my husband washed while he was on the road. I’ve soaked them with OdorZout, put them in bags tied up with a Bad Air Sponge, then washed with my fragrance free detergent, baking soda, and Borax; they still smell. Now I covered them with alcohol, I figured it would break down the binders in the scent; those detergent smells are designed to last through multiple washings. It would have been much easier for me had he brought home dirty clothes. I could have washed them once.

          1. Yes. It took out the detergent smell that was so strong I put the clothes in another room. I couldn’t stand to be around them. One wash in RLR took 95% of the smell out. If any lingered, I used RLR one more time and that resolved the issue.

            And I had already soaked them in vinegar, dish detergent, baking soda, Dr. Bronners – everything I could think of trying to get that horrendous smell out. Now I keep RLR over the washer. I was able to buy it in varying quantities on eBay for a good price.

            1. No I mean laundromats, where you take your cloths to wash them. I can’t use any kind of dryer sheet or softener.

    2. You have just desensitize yourself to the smell after a few hours or days you will smell it again. The smell never comes out. People give me clothes that they say has never been in a thrift store, YeA bet me, I can smell it, My sister has had to change clothes because she had something on that she bought in a thrift store and said she had washed it so many times that it didn’t smell, but well it did. WE kinda had a few words over it, but if it makes me sick I don’t want to be around it. What are all your symptoms? I get headaches muscle, tendons ligaments ache feel like the flu, I get rashes and my throat closes up with a rash. I get Ice pick headaches. It feels like someone is driving an icepick into my head. I get so exhausted that I cant move because my muscles are so deprived of fresh air. I can’t use anything on my skin because it seeps into my body and cause me to be so sore I can’t move. I hate that my world is poisoning me and I can’t do anything about it. I can’t have people over and I have to be careful where I go.

      1. I don’t get symptoms because I can’t stand the smell so I put them in another room. The RLR Laundry Treatment (a powder that people use to get the ammonia smell out of diapers) worked for me. But there are some clothes where the smell is actually part of the fabric. There is no cure for that.

        Part of the reason I have no symptoms is because I have artificially low exposure. By choice I live in an old building where everything is old. No new furniture or clothing. Nothing that isn’t organic from the food I eat to shampoo, Dr Bronner soap, laundry soap, etc.

        Everything new off-gasses for a while. Many people who think they have mold issues end up getting sicker because thy replace everything with newer products that increase their exposure.

        There are some things you can do. Live in remote areas with less towers and wi-fi. Get rid of wireless everything, especially DECT phones and wi-fi. Use wired computers and wired telephones. Don’t use air fresheners of any kind. Don’t use dryer sheets. Only use organic everything.

        Even that won’t solve everything. For that we would probably have to live underground.

        1. you are so lucky if moving it into a different room works for you, I have to remove all things from my house it permeates the whole air space after a while. I have noticed that the shopping bags I am getting are now being treated with a chemical that burns my throat and my skin, I notice it in my cheeks they get read and very tender. I try not to bring anything into my house but with the fact that the stores are now changing things they buy then it now comes into my home without my knowing it. The smell that is part of the fabric is the formaldehyde that they are treating material with from overseas. I am now trying to keep my buying to all USA made things. Hoping this will help. Thanks for the suggestion of RLR I don’t know what that is but will look for it in the laundry detergent isle.

      2. No, it came out. I would never expose myself to clothes if I could not remove the smell. Seriously, try the RLR Laundry Treatment. Nothing else I tried worked – and I tried a LOT of things. But this did work.

      3. u sound like u have some problems like I have I have found that I can put dr adorable castor oil on my skin to help with the dry feeling and cant take a bath with any thing but vinegar that is if I get into a smell I need to take off stay home most of the time and have got on to my son and his girls time after time because of there perfume smells I have got down to washing my clothing that I have had for a long time with no smell in them with just vinegar I have to eat all organic foods and the same foods over and over to keep from having reactions i keep a personal purifier on me all the time when I am out and take a cloth that I can use like a mask if I need it that is til I can get away from the smell that has taken my breath away I do get rashes at times and have been having problem with sore throat so I get away from the chemical fast that has caused the problem when I feel my skin burning I get home fast and take a bath to stop the burn are I will feel like I cant breath and will fell like I am gong to pass out after 20 yrs it is not any better for me if u know any where that can help with this please let me know my husband works with me he will go to the store any time I need him to and I try to get out about one time a wk to see my grand kids I keep them clothing here to wear when they come over so they can stay put the big ones just have to let them know when they come no perfume but there clothing is bad some times one of my grand daughters has the problem I have so she understands I have been trying to stay away from any thing that smells have air purifiers in ever room in my house and thank god two doors between me and the washer so when I walk in take off my clothes was them a few times and no smell comes in the house was ever thing 2 or 3 times and with vinegar it works for them but the new ones not so much soak wash hang out for a few months before I can wear them do not put them in the washer til no order got a lot of buckets

  21. The chemicals remain in the fabric, on skin, and are absorbed by the body. The only thing to do is throw out the clothing.

    1. My husband did laundry while he was at a relatives, I’m trying to get the fragrance out, and just told him I might have to throw the clothes away. Seriously, I have them in bags outside with a Bad Air Sponge in them.

  22. We just received an update about Branch Basics today, Ashley, and it’s not good news. Unfortunately, their products are neither natural or plant-based. Here’s an excerpt from an email we received from Dr. Mitchell, Pesticide Sheriff:

    “Based upon information and belief, from at least mid 2013 to today, Marilee, Allison, Kelly, and Chip sells “Branch Basics” online making a litany of intentional false fraudulent misrepresentations. What was discovered is that:
    -Branch Basics is not a soap, in fact there is no soap of any kind in it;
    -Branch Basics is neither organic nor natural (plant-based is a ruse);
    -There are no enzymes in Branch Basics;
    -There are no actual organic substances in Branch Basics;
    -Branch Basics is a 100% synthetic detergent and oil spill cleanup agent containing:
    · Cocamidopropyl betaine (synthetic surfactant)
    · Disodium EDTA (chelating agent),
    · Alkyl ether C12-15 Pareth-12 (synthetic surfactant / emulsifier),
    · Coco-glucoside (synthetic surfactant / foaming agent / cleanser),
    · Petroleum product Propylene glycol laurate (emollient / surfactant)
    · Petroleum product Propanediol 1,2 (synthetic surfactant / emulsifier / chelating agent).”

    And it goes on…It appears that Branch Basics has suspended sales on their website as well since all of their products are listed as out of stock at this time. ~Laura

  23. I’m so glad I found all of you. My own grown children and my siblings families are all sensitive in varying degrees, if not just disgusted at the thirst to pollute everything with scents. I know which days all of my neighbors do laundry just by walking my dog. My favorite thrift store has a machine that sprays scent at intervals. The longer the clothes are there the more they smell. I have them unplug it whenever I shop, which is once a month after my haircut. If it’s sprayed recently, I don’t even shop. I bought a trash can two years ago for a project and use it for recycling, now. It reeked but I had used it enough before I discovered it was responsible for stinking my garage up. I contacted the manufacturer about it. It is made from recycled laundry detergent bottles! People seem oblivious to the situation and now I read why. someone I care deeply about lived in an apartment where the laundry was in the kitchen and the boyfriend smoked. The smells bonded together and found its way into the food. Her nose was deadened to it then and baked goods on the holidays were inedible. Thankfully, all things are changed for her and her ability to smell these things has returned and she has joined our population and is even more fierce than I about matters. Now, how do we convince the masses that they have been polluted into ignorance and insensitivity of chemical odors and the needs of those who aren’t? Meanwhile, you can now buy extra scent to augment your laundry scent so that you reek every time you move for months!

    1. It isn’t a special sensitivity. These laundry products are toxins. As to spreading the word, this is a multi-billion dollar industry. Government agencies need to ban their use, but it will take quite a fight to get that done. Additional studies other than the one always referenced need to prove the problems, even as the chemicals are known, the effects are known and proven in Material Safety Data Sheets. Word of mouth is about the best option now. But local ordinances can be fought for.

  24. I am so grateful to hear you all discussing this topic of synthetic fragrance which has been an issue for so long for me ,, and often I feel like I am the only one dealing with it to the degree I am. ( We can’t have people over to visit, because they ‘perfume up ‘ the house and then it is hard to live here!

    I just came back from the second hand store ( which I rarely go to anymore because they all smell awful with perfumes) and purchased some items I thought were ok. When I got home, only one or two were ok. So I have them outside in the sunshine to air out today and will see which are salvageable. ( which may be zero, and it was 5.00 bag day sale so not a huge loss) . I am leaving them out there to see which ones to even bother washing! Laundry detergent/fabric softners are impossible to take out. ( I have left a denim skirt outside on the line for a YEAR and it still smelled.. though it had faded colour. )
    However, I now smell like those icky perfumes just by trying stuff on.. so off I go to the shower.

    The problem is not only in second hand stores, also first hand stores, with the scents people wear walking by, or the bags, or the staff, it is risky in all cases. Plus you have the sizing that is in the fabric and the chemicals that they put on the clothes when they go across the ocean so they don’t get bugs in them. ARRGGG.. What do we do? How can I get any clothes ???

    Please list where you shop for clothes.

    I am down to one pair of pants and one t shirt that is not worn out. It is really taking it’s toll.. 🙁

    1. The toxic chemicals in scented laundry products are such neurotoxins that I bought three items this week that I thought were clear of them, but it was only when I got them home that I could smell them. This is not due to chemical sensitivity. I have to throw out the items. I won’t pass them on to anyone. They will need to be burnt as part of the trash process, releasing, no doubt, those chemicals into the atmosphere. Wishing that the clothing hadn’t been infiltrated with this stuff does not make it so. I know better.

    2. Please check out my post (right above yours) for helpful information on how to rid your clothing of all the nasty synthetic fragrances and chemicals.

    3. I have the same problems as you have. I have had it for at lest 20 years and after my first noticing it it has progressively gotten worse of the years. I used to shop in the thrift stores but it has been over 6 years now because they started spraying cloths with something that lingers forever, I have never found anything that gets the smell out. Dryer sheets detergent smells perfumes everything, I give so much that I buy away. This last week I found that the toilet paper I have used forever now is being packaged in a plastic wrap that chemically poisonous. I am going to try the EnviroKlenz that the lady above mentioned and see if it works. I may have to go buy something because I don’t have anything in the house but I want to see if it works like she says. That would be a miracle. I only hope that it isn’t going to make things worse, I have found that, I bought a product last year that I was told would take out all scents and it was worse than anything I had ever tried, I had to throw away one of my chairs because it never helped and never came out of the fabric on the chair. good luck I am reading all I can about this problem and hoping for some kind of answer.

  25. For those struggling to remove the nasty laundry product synthetic fragrances from their clothes, I can offer a solution. My exhaustive search for the one product that would do the job has finally ended. The products I found will remove most laundry detergent fragrances 100%. I have MCS myself and needed a solution to a growing problem. I did not want to have to throw away my clothes and I did not want to buy new ones since new ones now have many obnoxious difficult to remove chemical odors as well.

    The product is called EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer. The company also has several other products for removing difficult odors. You won’t need anything else.

    1. I will try this thanks I sure hope it works. But are you noticing that they are now using a chemically treated plastic to wrap products in? I bought Angelsoft toilet paper and had to give it away because the smell in the wrap seeped into the rolls. Yesterday I bought Brew Rite coffee filters and they were wrapped in a plastic that had the scent in it so had to throw them away. Now it is not just the Dollar stores that have that freakish scent but other products also. MY world just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

  26. I buy most of my clothes at the cancer center and they wreak of perfume and dryer sheets. It takes about 30 washes with vinegar and 7th generation and air drying before I can wear them without getting a grand headache and weakness in muscles. Due to illness, I keep losing weight rapidly.

    I spent a lot of money on alterations and then gave up and I have no choice but to buy 2nd hand clothing. I think it is sad that Discovery cancer outlets use toxic chemicals and the workers in the store also are drenched in perfume and the whole thing makes me very sick.

    1. Are you sure you don’t have MCS it sounds like you might have a slight case of it, no matter good luck finding a solution for washing your clothes and let us know if the EnviroKlenz actually works.With the formaldehyde that is being added to all our new cloths and other chemicals I am always looking for answers.

  27. So glad to know I’m not alone! I feel so neurotic every time I complain about this type of thing. I don’t have MCS but the smell of anything synthetic is very nauseating to me and gives me headaches.

    My in-laws just left after visiting for a few days and now my sheets (and my entire house) reek of their laundry detergent or fabric softener or whatever laundry product they use that smells (to me…it’s smells like rotting meat sprayed with Febreze!). But I also frequent thrift stores and that stuff is equally overpowering — and too much for vinegar, baking soda and a week in the sun. I’m curious to try the EnviroKlenz, especially since we’ll be visiting them for the holidays and everything we take will smell when we leave!

    1. I have a great deal of sympathy for you, Ecostuff. The same thing happened to me. My nephew and his kids, whom I had not seen in several years, came to our then scent-free home for a two day visit. The minute they came through the front door I knew the sanctity of my home was about to change. Within seconds I was overwhelmed with the laundry fragrances that emanated from these individuals. All of my MCS symptoms began…the worst being chronic nausea that lasted the entire visit. After they were gone I was left with a house that no longer felt like mine nor was my safe place anymore. Everything smelled of strong laundry product scents, especially the sheets and towels, and every chair they sat in which were mostly cloth covered stuffed chairs. At that time I had no idea how long these fragrances could last nor did I fully understand how difficult it was going to be to get rid of them.

      It has been a little more than a year now and I am still cleaning up that fragrance they left for me. I am so happy to have found the EnviroKlenz products, in this case, the Everyday Odor Eliminator. I used it to clean my stuffed furniture and carpet. I used it to eliminate the odor on washable surfaces throughout my house. It is amazing how the new stronger fragrances can spread and permeate everything! And, they last a very long time!

      I have discovered that these fragrances can permeate most plastics. That is why you can smell them so strongly in the laundry products isle in the grocery store. The fragrance molecules can pass through those soft plastic containers they are sold in and pass into the air where they are picked up by the air distrubution system in the store and dispersed throughout the store and land on the food items nearby and often on food far away at the other end of the store. I spend a good hour putting away my groceries now since I have to move many items to my own containers to avoid fragrancing my refrigerator and I have to air out produce in the basement for a while before I can use it. Apples that are covered in fragrance molecules really do not taste like apples should taste!

      Tyvek plastic seems to be the best at holding back the fragrance, so I use it to cover the car seats and I make plastic bags with it to put in the suitcase to put fragrance tainted clothes into I have worn so the entire inside of the suitcase does not become forever fragranced with laundry product scents.

      I am so grateful to have found the EnviroKlenz products. Life has gotten easier for me since I now know I can rid my clothes of those nasty scents! I hear you Ecostuff…”smells like rotting meat sprayed with Febreze!”

      1. Thank you, Connie! You just won the dubious honor of greatest superpower in olfactory and taste categories. I feel your pain. Thank you for the Tyvek plastic and EnviroKlenze recommendations! What do you use for non-washable surfaces? We cannot get the chemical smell out of our new luggage (sitting in garage with retail tags on) and my daughter just let her college roommate borrow MY suitcase that was off-gassed. That young lady is not fragrance-free! I have zero confidence I will ever have the use of that case again. I can no longer travel in my husband’s vehicle that is 2 years old-still smells like leather tanning chemicals. If you can help please email me at

  28. Sue, the EnviroKlenz product is designed to be used in the washing machine, top-loading or front-loading or you can use it to hand wash items in a utility sink. On the back of the bottle it suggests starting with 1/4 cup of the product for a small load and 1/2 cup for a medium to larger load. You want to have enough of the product in the water to contact all the clothes in the washer during agitation. It may take a few trials to establish how much you will need to use to accomplish the task. So, if the amount you try the first time does not completely remove the scent, do not despair. There probably was not enough of the product to reach all the clothing fibers. Wash the load again using more of the product. If you started with 1/4 cup, then use 1/2 cup and see if your load comes out scent free. When you get the right amount of the product on board then your load should come out scent-free.

    Use warm water and use a scent-free detergent or one of the environmentally safe detergents that has no scent along with the EnviroKlenz. The EnviroKlenz will work better with the detergent in the mix and will also rinse out more easily if the detergent is present. Be sure to always shake the bottle vigorously with each use to keep the ingredient particles suspended. The back of the bottle will tell you when to add the EnviroKlenz during filling of the machine.

    I personally like to hand wash my scented clothes, since I don’t have very many at any one time. I will typically use about 1/2 cup of EnviroKlenz to about 5 gallons of warm water in my utility sink along with a small amount of unscented detergent. If the items are only lightly scented I may only need 1/4 cup. (Using more of the product than needed will result in extra rinses to remove it.) I only wash a few items at a time and hand agitate them for 5 to 10 minutes. I rinse a couple times and then check each item for any remaining scent. If needed I repeat the process to eliminate all the scent. Synthetic items like polyester, nylon, and rayon may take more of the product and longer agitation to fully remove the scent. It seems cotton items loose their scent more easily.

    The EnviroKlenz does work. It may take some time to learn how much to use. But, ultimately, the scent will be gone. Please do not hesitate to ask for help if you are having any problems using this product.

  29. Eddie, have you been checked for mineral imbalance? One of the main symptoms of low minerals is body, especially foot odor. I recommend that you find a functional medicine chiropractor / Applied Kinesiology practitioner to discern what you need to change or add to your diet. I know of quite a few people who have been able to change their body chemistry and get rid of the embarrassing odors.

  30. Jeanne, I am SO SORRY. I am a passenger in the same boat and have tried the silicone nasal filters, the 3M voc masks (mine arrived with awful odor and I actually returned them to Amazon). Thanks for the recommendation for “I Can Breath” masks. I have experienced some benefit from enzyme supplements and take Allerase from Enzymatica. Hope you are investigating food sensitivities and gut permeability.

    1. I do not see a correlation between food or gut permeability and a dislike or reaction to the toxins allowed in our laundry products.

      1. That is precisely why I brought up the subject! Many who suffer from MCS do not yet recognize the correlation. Functional medicine is pointing us to a root cause for acute sensitivities. I can assure you that no one who follows these posts is suffering from “a dislike.” It is extremely challenging to educate family, friends, healthcare providers (incl most medical doctors) that our symptoms are not caused by “an aversion” to fragrances. Today I watched episode one of a free Broken Brain docu-series by Dr. Hyman in which speaker Annie Hopper, founder of Dynamic Neural Retraining System described the progression of a chemical illness that began with sensitivity to fragrances and then resulted in seizures triggered by neighbors’ laundry as she walked in her neighborhood. This link expires today, but I urge others to search out more information on this topic. t

        1. I think your assumptions are all over the place. Not everyone who abhors fragrance or is sensitive to fragrance or toxins as the case may be, has MCS, or “broken brain”. I’m familiar with Mark Harmon. I don’t have time to watch this right now. I’ve been sensitive or allergic to different chemicals for decades and I’ve never had a seizure or a “broken brain”. I think conflating so much without a medical history is a way to sell books, supplements etc. I also believe we should all be making an effort to learn about the chemicals in our environments and make an effort to avoid them. Sensitive or not, we have human bodies. I don’t want neural retraining! Just a healthy lifestyle.

  31. I wanna join your meet up group! It is a balm to my soul and sometimes my olfactory to find tips for coping. I intend to lobby in Nashville for fragrance free public restrooms, but need to achieve some healing before I can rally. Thank you for the soaking tip. I suspect that would be harmful to the lycra in several garments that have been outside since Christmas, but there are other fabrics that did not pass my screening after the vinegar and washing soda as additives cycle. Are you using Seventh Generation free and clear dish liquid in your washer? I’m not online very often, but would welcome a reply. Brenda

  32. Hi – I’m really glad I found this Forum. I had a sinus infection years ago from a bad tooth extraction and since then, my sense of smell has been severely heightened. I’ve done the detox / chelation and have topped up my minerals for years (which I highly recommend doing both to everyone – esp if you’re planning a pregnancy).

    I buy used clothes for my baby online / at secondhand shops and can’t stand the detergent fragrance that comes with some of them. I’ll definitely try EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer as suggested.

    For my two scents, I use soapnuts which are a natural product (no detergent), renewalable and recyclable. And best of all, have no scent and don’t pollute the environment !! Yes, they do work. We even use them to wash cloth nappies and they come out great (no pre-soak needs!). And the bag lasts years. We do a load of laundry everyday and I haven’t topped up our supply for over a year now.

  33. Eddie, hope you have made progress since your post. Minerals check is great starting point. I have periodically experienced whole body odor that was unmanageable. Especially rank when going through detox or after eating “culprit” foods that were sources of new toxins. Gut dysfunction (sorry, that is not an easy fix) is very likely a root cause, especially if you experience food and/or chemical sensitivities. Isn’t that what led us to this article? If so, try muscle testing products and foods (the lean test is easy to learn-done as I go through the grocery) and consider IgG (delayed response) and/or ALCAT allergy testing.

    Right away try adding increasing amounts of magnesium (until stools are loose, then back down). Most oral forms are poorly assimilated, so I include magnesium oil topically. Eliminate antiperspirants (try Dr. Mist deodorant, water-based w/zero fragrance, it can be misted onto ANY body part). Green Tidings deodorant worked underarm for almost a year, but product is heavy). Don’t despair when a product works for a period then fails you. It happens because YOU changed.

    In past year a suspected fungal overgrowth was likely culprit of whole body odor now managed w/ a specific probiotic, lactobacillus plantarum in addition to spectrum probiotics and myriad supplements AND dietary restrictions. Later, a secondary yeast “infection” was diagnosed by GYN. RX Nystatin cream eliminated symptoms and odor (that seemed to not wash away).

    I understand the implications of “buy new clothes all 3 times,” but want to remind others that “clean” laundry can hold organic odor which body heat and new perspiration will activate. (Detergents and softeners build up in clothes and washer and make it difficult to remove odors and fragrances.) For organic odors try a test spray of hydrogen peroxide (and listen for fizzing.) You may spray directly onto target areas of MOST colors and synthetics immediately before washing and/or add up to 2 cups of brown bottle peroxide per load. Seventh Generation non-chlorine bleach is a concentrated form of peroxide. Both are cheaper than buying new clothes 🙂

    If you are using a harsh cleanser (hope it is not anti-bacterial soap) you may be exacerbating problem. Try a paraben-free, fragrance-free gentle cleanser. I presently use Vanicream facial cleanser for whole body because EVERYTHING else causes stinging. Expensive, but a half pump goes a long way! I tried two new topical probiotic products, but without success. (Perhaps they got hot in transit or in my toasty bathroom.)

    Get well. Even if you have access to a kinesiologist or integrated medicine practitioner I hope you will also see a trusted medical doctor-lots of things to rule out. Don’t hesitate to inquire about gut permeability. Many GPs are learning of it’s implications, and may be able to refer you to a practitioner if that seems appropriate.

  34. I am asthmatic and just bought two pair of jeans and two tops from Macy’s. They reek of perfume, what can I do?

    1. After trying a product called bio d which claimed to be fragrance free and only contained 4 chemicals i was finally able to discover the exact chemical causing it and why its so sticky. We just had to replace our dryer as even bleach wouldnt remove the smell. It is found in all softeners made by proctor and gamble and i found their patent application from the 80s for the chemical. The chemical is listed on the product as ” cationic surfactant” and they somehow get away with this vague description of what it is when its actual name is “dibenzyl ammonium chloride.” Think about it that is 2 particles benzene 1 ammonia 1 chlorine. Not only that but ammonium chloride is what president Assad dropped on the rebels that killed abunch of people from respiratory failure. Obviously this is a far less concentrated version and wont kill you outright but these crazy people are covering their clothes with a diluted chemical weapon! The reason you cant get it off is because the “cationic” part of the description means that they have found a way to charge the particles negatively so they are literally magnetised to inane materials like fabrics and can even permeate rubber. You can remove the ammonia part of the equation with distilled vinegar as vinegar kills ammonia but good luck getting the chlorine out as the only thing that kills chlorine is UV light and in thicker fabrics every single fibre is magnetically coated with this and the UV cant penetrate the fibres at the center of the garment on something thick. I have foudn limited success with bashing the clothing against a wall or floor to physically disturb the sticky ming but doesnt work fully. Also proctor and gamble use a higher concentration of limonene than most other companies which is what converts to formaldehyde when exposed to ozone present in the air. A worrying thought given how hermetically sealed the modern home is. The only hope i have is that public awareness will grow and some investigative journalist may be able to find a link between people using this disgusting chemical and serious illness. Or that by informing the public of the affore stated facts people may choose to act differently although im not holding my breath as these crazy misguided fools are already not bothered by the mixed smell of ammonia and chlorine. Perhaps if the company were at least made to list the chemical name rather than its description of “cationic surfactant” some peope might wake up. Ammonia would usually be found repellant and is even used in smelling salts to wake unconscious people up because it smells so foul. Its bizarre that anyone wouldnt find this smell repellant. If anyone doubts what i have written here is the address of the site with the patent application on it. It also lists the companies which use this chemical including palmolove and colgate. Most of the rest are chemical companies. Even more disgraceful is that proctor and gamble manufacture allergy medication then sell it to the people who react to this stuff. Perverse. They are the tobacco comapnies of the new millenium. Heres the links:

  35. Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions regarding removal of laundry product scents!
    My daughter-in-law uses the scented dryer sheets and burns candles with artificial fragrance in her home. I have told her that all artificial fragrances make me ill, make my lips swell and tingle, and prompt an asthma attack. She says she likes the smell!
    My son doesn’t like the scented stuff and has asked her to quit using it in the home. The 3 young kids are all having respiratory problems too.
    I’m going to send her a link to this website and ask her to please please read all the comments. Maybe that will help her understand how toxic this stuff is.
    Wish me luck….

  36. Kathy sorry to hear about ur sons wife being like that but I have found that most people are like that if they do not have a problem with it then they do not understand what they are doing to their self and others I have had contact with many people like that I read when I was trying to understand what was going on with me and having reactions to chemicals that the ones who have the problems are the lucky ones to know it is harmful to us because the ones with signs of problems it is hurting them to they just do not know it so they can not protect their self if u get her to hear u let me know how u did it I will try it on some I know

  37. I know I’m very late in this discussion but I must tell you that we have found a solution! Let me start by saying that I am currently 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant and my nose was super sensitive to toxic chemicals even before I got pregnant. It’s sweet that people keep giving us baby clothes but I was at my wit’s end with the overload of toxic smells in all the used clothing. How can the babies even handle wearing them? We’ve tried several things and finally found one that works! My husband, Brian sprayed each piece of baby clothing with Simple Green and washed them in a load with our unscented Ecos detergent. Then he ran them 2 more times with white vinegar. Then dried them. They now smell and feel like new! No more toxic scent and they feel softer! I never knew Simple Green was that great at cleaning stuff!

    1. Sarah, which Simple Green product are you using? If you visit the EWG web site, most Simple Green products listed there are given a grade of “F” which is the most toxic grade given. Many of the Simple Green products have toxic ingredients and added fragrance.

  38. Even more frightening are a couple of experiences I have recently had with scented detergents. After going to a hotel and sleeping in their sheets, our pajamas smelled of the laundry detergent. Okay, not so bad, until I washed other laundry from the trip with the pajamas, and then realized that the scent could not only be removed, it had also transferred to the other clothing that had been washed with the pajamas. None of it will come out. None of it had even been washed in the detergent — it was transferred just by contact.

    Then, a couple of people in my family visited a relative overnight and the same thing happened. I obviously don’t learn quickly, because I washed all of the trip laundry together, again. This time there were even more things contaminated. Sigh. And again, none of it had even been washed in the detergent.

    I contacted the company that manufactured the detergent and the first insisted that their products wash out, then eventually, after a lot of back and forth, offered me a gift certificate for their product (really?) and $30 in compensation. In short, though, they told me they don’t really care and that the case is closed. Overall, I have about $600 of ruined clothing that I can no longer use because the smell will transfer to all of our other garments if they touch anything else or if they are washed with anything else. I am furious not only I am so vigilant about keeping chemicals out of my house, but also because I can’t afford to replace these items.

    Another incident occurred when someone who used scented detergent came to my home for night. All of the bedding they used is ruined, blankets and all.

    I’ve tried all the tricks — leaving the items outside to air out, soaking baking soda, washing in castille soap, soaking and rinsing in vinegar. It doesn’t work.

    Any ideas for protecting yourself? For consumer action? For banning these frightening chemicals that transfer like a virus?

    I’m afraid to have anyone come for a visit or to sleep away from home 🙁

    1. What happened is known as cross contamination. Either by direct contact, through water, or what I’m experiencing, through air! I agree these chemicals do not belong in our homes or personal items. It’s hard to find a trash liner without a Febreeze product. My situation began with the green dry cleaner sending my laundry out to a commercial facility that used petrochemicals on all my things. I’m afraid to bring them home. 3 pieces are here, wrapped. The clothing hanging nearby now have the scent & burn my skin. I have washed them 5 x. I have a headache. Looking for a solution.

      1. Put the smelly clothing out on the line during a rain storm. Do it when the forecast is calling for a LOT of rain. It really works!

  39. I know this is for treating clothes, but will it work for carpet, too? I made a painful mistake…I bought a cleaning product that has a label indicating natural and it stinks horribly of artificial perfume and is giving me a headache and now I have to scramble to detox it and protect my family’s health. I poured baking soda and squeezed lemon juice…what else can I do? Please help! 🙁

  40. Okay, I bought a pair of black jeans and washed them before wearing them. The problem is I washed them with my other clothes. I know, stupid idea but my mind was elsewhere at the time so I didn’t think. Anyway, I took the jeans back to the store and re-washed the other clothes a couple of times but every time I dry them, they still smell like the chemical (like a burnt smell) from the jeans. I thought it (the smell) was in the dryer but I cleaned that with white vinegar and threw a wash cloth in and dried it for a while and it did not have the smell on it. I bought some Borax powder and Downy unstoppables and will re-wash the clothes again tomorrow. The clothes smell okay after they air out but once you wear them they have that funky burnt smell so I assume the chemical is a heat activated smell. I found this out after sleeping in my night gown and woke up this morning to that funky smell on my gown. I have night sweats from Menopause so I must have reactivated the chemical again so that’s how I found out that the clothes weren’t really clear of the smell after re-washing them again the second time. This is the first time that I have ever had any issues with new jeans and it is really stressing me out and giving me a headache plus smelling that stuff is not helping me any either. Anyone else have any other ideas that I can do or are my clothes a lost cause? Thank you!

    1. I washed everything again with my regular laundry liquid, the Downy unstoppables odor pebbles or whatever you call them and 1/2 cup of Borax powder. Some of the clothes have just a faint smell of the chemical from the jeans but not as bad. I guess I’ll find out after wearing the clothes if it really did help though.

  41. I am actually looking for tips on removing fragrance from my hair. I went to a new salon 6 days ago. Generally I go home, wash with my fragrance free shampoo and I’m fine. Between the smell and how hard it is to get out of my hair, I’m thinking they used softener on the towels. I’ve washed it 2-3 times every day, used apple cider vinegar and white vinegar, sprinkled it with Zout, set outside in 100 degree heat, and now I’ve sprinkled it with baking soda and wrapped a bag around it. Headache every day. Any other suggestions?

  42. BJW414, what gives you the right to call someone a moron? You say you’re “sorry to be insulting,” but there you are sitting on a high horse judging people like you’re God, and like you have some special “detector” to be able to pass judgement on people based on an internet post. But, alas, I guess we are all human, and we sometimes ‘judge’ people even though we shouldn’t…. like right now, I’m thinking that you are an absolute moron.

  43. Me too. Hate smelling perfumes in restaurants. I completely loose my appetite. Moving to another table doesn’t work, I can still smell it.

  44. hi Gail–can you explain EXACTLY how you used the RLR? I bought it with high hopes and–no luck on detergent/softener-defiled shirts my son dutifully bought at Goodwill recently. Two washes with RLR and NO reduction of that horrendous smell. I am depressed! It’s hard to have to pass up like-new clothing articles for 3 or 4 dollars that might have cost $40 or more new! [Also, I actually don’t even want to buy new clothes.] Oh how I despise that sickening detergent smell! Like so many here, I have tried just about everything. Right now I have one of the most recent offenders soaking in a bucket of water and baking soda but I don’t have much hope for it. I’m actually wondering if you could do a bucket pre-soak with the RLR. Might try that!

    1. I have the same issues, and have found that my best solution is soaking in Calgon (available at Walmart) and water for 24 hours, then rinsing and soaking with vinegar and water for 24 hours. Then I wash it in free and clear detergent in hot water, and repeat the process if necessary before drying. That plus sunning seems to work the best, although I have found some thrifted clothes just hang onto a small amount of scent!

  45. I talked to Goodwill about how they prepare items for sale. They actually spray everything that has any fabric with a fabric refresher like Febreeze. I don’t shop there anymore bacause of this. It costs more to wash the Febreeze out, than to buy new on sale.

  46. Spray vodka on clothes hung outside and leave in sun a few days. Wash with free and clear detergent and some vinegar. Smell should be gone. If not repeat with vodka spray. I have MCS and daughter uses fragrance products at school. This gets the smells out.

  47. I have RADS so fragrances and chemicals will take me out faster than you can say asthma. I always get the leather seats in my vehicles because the faux fabric out-gasses so badly. At least the leather blocks the foam a little. My Subaru took about 4 months to air enough to be in it after regular cleaning of the hard plastics and leaving baking soda on the carpets, but the Toyota smelled for over a year no matter what I did. I also use a HEPA filter air cleaner plugged into the cigarette socket in the car which helps. I clean the leather with Chamberlain’s Leather Milk, Leather Care Liniment. To condition things like leather shoes, etc. I use dansko beeswax conditioner. Both are fragrance free and chemically safe though the leather milk smells like almond extract.

  48. These laundry perfumes (synthetic musks) are quite resistant to surfactants (soaps, detergents), acid (vinegar), lye (bleach, soda, borax) and oxidizers (air, ozone, hypochlorite, peroxide). Also, too much acid or lye will damage the fabric.

    Since the fragrance chemicals are fat-soluble, try soaking the laundry overnight in a solvent like rubbing alcohol, followed by thorough washing and drying. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get rid of the perfume stench entirely, and you’ll probably have to throw the laundry away.

  49. OK..perhaps beat them with a more pleasant smell. I bought a shirt on Ebay and you know the story..washed in some disgusting detergent. I washed it a few times adding vinegar, baking soda and non scented detergent. But, after reading many posts here I took a can of Pure Citrus Orange air freshener. Very tolerable and certainly more appealing than the embedded smell. Perhaps this will work. The scented detergent is certainly less prominent at this point.

  50. So glad I found this article and read the comments! I took an Uber and got an extremely strong car air freshener all over my jacket and pants – worst I’ve ever had when out in public…it was concentrated on the back and left arm of my jacket mostly, as if someone stood one inch from me and sprayed directly on my coat (may have been one of those timed release fresheners that squirted me right before I exited the car as I wasn’t overcome by the smell during the ride)…thankfully I had a hat on and my hair was tucked into my coat – something I now do when I know I may get exposed to scents. I put my coat and pants in the garage and the smell then became overpowering in there…I left the garage door open for hours several days in a row. I now have the areas of the coat that smell in a bucket with vinegar and baking soda but I am pretty sure I’ll need to treat it with something else, so I ordered the Environklenz as was talked about in the comments here…here’s hoping that works!!! I will come back to update after I am able to try it.

    For something else I didn’t see mentioned in here, I have used Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator with success for some things that had slight laundry scents on them…but in the amazon reviews some say it didn’t work (it did for me, but again…the smells weren’t super strong). I ran out so not sure if it would have worked with the jacket and pants too but that scent is going to need the ‘big guns’ it’s so dang strong, so again…here’s hoping the Environklenz does the trick!

    1. UPDATE 2.3.18: Well, the Everyday Odor Eliminator did not fully get the smell out of my jacket but it did do something! It isn’t half as strong smelling as it was, but the vinegar and baking soda soak (with water too) I did first actually helped with that as it did not smell half as bad after I did that. So after the vinegar and baking soda soak, I soaked the jacket in a mixture of 1/4 cup Enviroklenz Everyday Odor Eliminator and unscented laundry soap (7th generation brand) with water in the washing machine…it agitates first and then it sits and soaks, and I left it soaking overnight. Then I ran the rinse cycle, and then ran a regular cycle with more EEOE and laundry soap, but the smell is still slightly there. It is even less strong though so someting is happening with removing the smell. I then sprayed the jacket with Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator and let it dry…it smelled even less it seemed but I could still detect a very slight fragrance…very slight I might add, the least so far…so I am getting somewhere but it still needs more treatments with one or all of the above listed methods.

      As a side note, my jacket is a fleece jacket with a “windbreaker” lining – the fleece fabric is a synthetic type of material (polyester?) and someone in the comments said synthetic fabrics may take longer to remove the smell from.

      I then bought the Enviroklenz Laundry Enhancer, though not sure the formula is any different than the Everyday Odor Eliminator (ingredients listed are the same)…and I decided to tackle my jeans first before washing the jacket again. I did not soak my jeans in vinegar and baking soda first…went straight to the laundry machine with 1/4 cup of the Enviroklenz Laundry Enhancer and 7th generation unscented laundry soap…and I let it soak for a good 8 hours. And then after I ran the rinse cycle I ran a regular cycle with another 1/4 cup of ELE and laundry soap. But the smell is still there…not as strong, but it’s still there. So I ran another cycle with same amounts of the ELE and laundry soap, but smell is still there…so next I will soak the jeans in vinegar and baking soda as I really think that helped a lot with the jacket.

      I think the bottom line is you just have to do many washings – depending on how bad the smell was to begin with – and you may have to do several different approaches like I did with switching from vinegar and baking soda and then the Enviroklenz and also treating with something else like I did with the Pure Ayre.

      I just read the comment after mine about leaving the piece of clothing out in a heavy rain…I think that is a great idea to try.

      Sorry for such long posts…but I found it very helpful when others provided details about their methods and products they used, so I hope this helps someone in some way or another. 🙂

  51. I am very scent sensitive when it comes to scented laundry products (instant headache). I often purchase second hand clothing. Unfortunately, more often that not, the clothing is saturated in scent. (Why do people want to reek of this sickly scent and leave scent trails of toxic VOCs everywhere they go? Some of these same people probably suffer from headaches and don’t know why.)
    I have tried EVERYTHING to get rid of the smell to no avail. I have found only one thing that works for most fabrics. And that is to wash them and hang them outside on the line during a heavy rain. And wash them again after the rain. The rain works to rinse away the smell. I sometimes need to repeat the process for some synthetics. But it usually works in just one heavy rain.

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