Saturday, April 24, 2010


As an introduction to my first Helpful Hint Weekend post, a few years ago I borrowed decorating and sewing books & magazines from the library. I gleaned a lot of great helpful hints from them, though I did not write down the names of the sources. So, here's apologies for not being able to pass along reference material names, but I'm sure these ideas were not exclusives of the authors and can be passed along.

Please visit my blog every weekend for the latest hint. I will post one or two per blog. Some weeks the entry may be short, some weeks long. :)

If you have a terrific helpful hint you know about that is not commonly known, please send it to me (you should be able to connect to my email through this blog, but if not, post a comment asking where to send your hint with a way for me to contact you). If I particularly like it, I'll be sure to post it some week and give you credit for the hint, and post a link to your blog, website, selling site, whatever you have and provide in the way of web links as a thank you!

As a seamstress and crafter, I've come across old quilts & fabric at garage sales or auctions that I couldn't live without; however, it smelled musty and just AWFUL! I took a stab at buying some such pieces and washing them per usual methods, but the smell persisted, thus promising myself I will never buy something like that ever again. What a disappointment my bargains became. It was difficult to pass by those "gotta have it" items that shared that musty odor at times.
GOOD NEWS though!
Vinegar. Who would have thought this could have so many uses?
First, wash the fabric in the method appropriate for the fabric type then simply add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This should be enough to cut the odor and not cause your fabric to smell like vinegar when it's done (and if it does, simply rinse again without vinegar added). Remember to always launder your quilts by hand in the bathtub and hang on a drying rack. Never use automatic machines in order to keep your quilt in great condition for many, many years!
Do you have a quilt or vintage fabric you are concerned about washing with vinegar as it may be harsh? Handwash with Orvis quilt soap and hang up to dry. Here again, you will need a drying rack for larger pieces. There is a product called "QUILTFRESH" that claims to remove odors from fabric that you could try, also. Mountain Mist Ensure is designed for textile care & preservation. Remember to "test" a spot on your item with any product you before laundering to verify color fastness and always follow manufacturer's directions exactly.
I also found another possible remedy the natural way! Again, please spot check your piece before treating. Tea tree oil is known to kill fungus, baceria and germs. Dilute two teaspoons with two cups of water. You'll need a place to spread out your piece so that you can spritz it all over with the solution. This oil has a distinct odor of its own that won't be as strong with diluting, but you may not care to use this method for this very reason. I have never tried this and have no idea if you can or how to eliminate that scent. It makes me laugh because it may turn into trading one scent for another. Personally, I would test this on something old and intended to use for a rag afterwards and see how it smells when done. If undesireable, see how easy it is to get rid of that scent. Perhaps washing/rinsing one or two times would eliminate the problem. Of course, who wants to go through that much work if you are handwashing a quilt in your bathtub? (Makes my back hurt just thinking about it! hehehe!)

That's all for this week. Hope you've enjoyed this article & learned something today. Have a great weekend!


Jody said...

Love this new feature! Looking forward to all the new ones!

Anonymous said...

Loved this as well.I dont know if you ever heard of a musty handbag? My daughters friends mother had a really good handbag she NEVER used.So my daughter brought it home to me.I put it outside for a day, and it still smells a bit musty like it might of gotten wet.Oh well,I will keep trying to put it outside i guess.

Happy Weekend to you!

Bette said...

Nice feature. Vinegar is great for a lot of things.

PioneerLoft said...

Becky, I'd suggest you look into that Mountain Mist Ensure. I can't say I've seen it, but maybe you can spray it in the purse and it would help. Let me know if does. I don't think just exposing to the outdoors will solve the problem as I've tried some things that way without luck. It seems the smell really penetrates into the fibers and without something really get into those fibers to flush out the smell, it's absorbed in for good.

basketsbyrose said...

Love the new feature! Those little packs of gel that come with almost anything new we get, add them to your fabric, and keep in a closed bag for a few days. The gel was made to keep moisture out of packaged items. My son used one to dry out his wet cell phone!

Carol said...

Oh cool... a lot of helpful hints. That vinegar is some caustic stuff now. Thanks Denise:)


Enjoyed reading these tips.
I use 1/2 c. white vinegar in my rinse cycle. No more dryer sheets!

Valley Primitives Gift Shoppe said...

Loved this new feature. I will have to keep this in mind!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Great tips...I am one who cannot pass up those vintage linens and have had a heck of a time on the smell of some of them!

Becky, have you tried putting kitty litter in your musty bag? I've done that, put it in and then put the bag in a plastic bag for a couple worked!

Smiles, Karen

PioneerLoft said...

Thanks for everyone sharing their questions and ideas. Please keep it up folks! This is what it's all about!!!!!

PioneerLoft said...

I just found out some ideas for books and paper with musty smell. Try putting them into a trash bag with coffee grinds and cat litter, seal tightly and let sit for at least a week before checking. Books may need you to open the pages and repeat this process. Also try using dryer sheets between some pages may work, too.