In my previous post, I discussed properly cleaning your washing machine the “mold-safe” way. Honestly, though, even if you are not focused on mold, having a clean, disinfected washing machine will do wonders to improve the health of your home, and the smell of your laundry room, clothing, bedding, towels, etc.
In today’s post, I will focus on actually cleaning your clothes and other textiles, in order to combat all of the odors that sometimes seem to stick with us a little more than we would like. Also, now that we have discussed the two types of odors—chemical and biological—we are going to try to tackle getting rid of the odors that become trapped in your clothing and other laundry. The smells that people tend to be most adverse to, seem to be the biological ones, but I also want to discuss chemical odors in textiles.
First, I want to say that my nose has become extremely sensitive to any sort of chemical smells. I think it is a result of being a watchdog for my son. His skin reacts with an allergic response almost instantly to some chemicals, and his sensory processing issues become magnified and inhibit him from functioning normally when chemicals are in his food and in the air around him. As I understand it, the chemical smells most commonly found on clothing and textiles are plastic odors from packaging and odors due to the presence of chemicals applied to the fibers during their cultivation or manufacturing. For example, a non-water-soluble form of formaldehyde has become a common chemical treatment applied to some 100%-cotton items. Most of these items are labeled “wrinkle resistant,” and if you are chemically sensitive, I would avoid these types of fabrics. Chemical pigments and dyes can also be odor-causing culprits.