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Just bought a new wool blanket. It has a slight smell of a detergent I associate with Tide. This is a "low" note, something that seems to be impossible or nearly impossible to get out. (This question is NOT the same as another that has been posted. In particular, my question is about wool, which is an entirely different animal than fabrics made of cotton or synthetic materials. It must be treated very differently. The options that are available for some fabrics are not always available for wool. Please note that already in this post I mentioned that some of the answers might not work for wool.)

I am wondering if there is any way to get it out of a brand new wool blanket without ruining the blanket.

Please don't suggest dry cleaning. Clothing that comes back from the dry cleaners always smells of cigarette smoke. I am extremely chemically sensitive and can smell an iota of just about anything.

I was looking at other posts. Some suggested (not for wool, but in general) Calgon water softener. I am afraid to use baking soda--I think it would ruin the wool (very drying and don't want to strip out oils). Perhaps Calgon would be like baking soda and not a good idea.

Thanks much for any solutions.

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The way I see it is this: An odour is just molecules of some substance which are leeching into the air and being detected by an extremely sensitive detector - your nose.

The blanket CANNOT have an infinite supply of these molecules (although it may have a large amount!).

Technically, it's possible that the molecules are a product of the inherent breakdown of the material the fabric is made of. This would mean that the odour would eventually disappear - but only at the point when the blanket falls apart and become useless. I'm sure this is not the case for real wool, which lasts for decades. I assume your odour is a chemical that has been washed into the blanket during its manufacture.

So, the magic ingredient is: time. Leave the blanket exposed somewhere for as long as it takes for all of the chemical to disappear. The obvious place is a washing line: the wind will increase the exposure to air and the chemical won't be a nuisance to you. If that's not possible, can you loan the blanket to someone and get it back from them once the smell is no longer present?

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    WRONG. I have a plastic cup that only once was used to hold some Tide which has been outside empty for four years after washing. There has been little or no change according to me and others I've invited to sample it. Research artificial fragrance phthalates. They are chemically STABLE. – Stan Sep 25 at 16:14
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    @Stan Sorry, the only things I could find when I Googled that are scare-mongering stories. I'm not prepared to wade through a ton of nonsense. Please point me to a page that explains how I can detect an odour without any molecules actually leaving the source and travelling to my nose, I would find this very interesting indeed. – Lefty Sep 25 at 16:42
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    I avoid direct links so I will not be accused of "cherry-picking" or "leading you to" a selected source to make my point. Rather, I offer the subject so that you can use as many brain cells as you want (or have) to come to your own informed (or not) conclusion. Your "scare-mongering" and "nonsense" labels (not mine) and your unread search results tells me volumes about your desire to pursue a subject about which you have more opinion ("The way I see it…") than knowledge. I have experience and I've done the research. You? BTW, try adding "DEP" to your search terms (or don't.) – Stan Sep 25 at 18:45
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    @Stan I'm not interested in whether there are any dangers to these chemicals or not - I simply want to understand how it is possible to smell them (and have them harm your health) when they release nothing into the air. If I find that is possible, then I will have learned something and my answer to this question will be wrong. I am willing to be convinced, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - which I believe it's not unreasonable to ask you to supply, rather than you just telling me it's my duty to go in search of it. One url to a reputable source will do. – Lefty Sep 25 at 18:58
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    These chemicals are extremely hard to get rid of. Tide & Gain are the worst, which is why I posted question. Vinegar & baking soda can get rid of the smells of many fragranced detergents, but they don't seem to work with these. My only other option is trying ozone. But that would not be good for wool. And it does not break down all substances. Ozone is 3 oxygen atoms. Oxygen is stable w/ 2 atoms. The substances that are free radicals (as many of these "fragrances" are) will attach to the extra oxygen atom. That neutralizes the odor. For some things it works, but for others it does not. – user29569 Sep 26 at 22:17
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I cannot guarantee the results, but these options should have a high rate of success:

Depending on the size of the blanket, you may think to wash it again, using one of these as "detergent":

  • baking soda - well known as an odor remover;
  • vinegar - may degrade the washing machine; you can overcome this by soaking the blanket in the vinegar solution first, rinsing manually as good as possible, then washing it without any detergent, to remove the remaining vinegar;
  • alcohol - similar comments like with vinegar.

Vinegar and alcohol have the benefit that evaporate very quickly. Baking soda has not smell at all.

  • NOPE. Save your energy. None of these methods or materials have worked after repeated trials with infected samples. Research artificial fragrance phthalates. They are chemically STABLE. – Stan Sep 25 at 16:26
  • FYI it is easier to neutralize an acid than to wash it out entirely. Baking soda would be helpful in the rinse step. – piojo Oct 21 at 4:17
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Sunshine and air will remove nearly any odor from natural fiber (wool, cotton, linen, etc.)fabrics within 24 - 48 hours.

Run the blanket through a CLEAN washing machine COLD rinse & spin cycle then hang outside on clothes line or suitable substitute on a sunny day. This method also works if the blanket is hung indoors, but it will take considerably longer for it to dry.

Do NOT toss the blanket in the drier, even on a delicate cycle. This will damage the wool fabric due to abrasion as the wet fibers are banged against the drum.

  • Hi Mike L, Welcome to Lifehacks. You suggest Sunshine is effective but then say that "This" method also works if the blanket is hung indoors. How does this remedy work indoors? "Air" is available either way, I understand. Where does the sunshine come in to de-odourize the blanket when it's hung inside? What am I missing? – Stan Oct 20 at 16:46
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I have bad news for you.

There is no way to rid the article of the odour of Tide.

You will have to discard the article to be free of the odour. Please see my previous post and attempts to find an answer here

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    Please try to keep the site clean and mark this question as duplicate instead of answering with a reference to your own question. – Elmy Sep 24 at 19:19
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    @Elmy, Thanx. I'm trying to evangelize a Multiple Chemical Sensitivity "crime" being committed against society by a corporate giant, Proctor & Gamble, putting a known carcinogen into intimate contact with our bodies. Site "cleanliness" be damned. – Stan Sep 25 at 16:25
  • I don't see any evangelization in your answer. It doesn't matter how many similar questions with always the same answers rot on this side. Closing this one and referring to the first question asked (which incidentally is yours) is more effective than having people reiterating old answers and forgetting some of them. – Elmy Sep 25 at 19:18

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