Scents of­ten re­main on fabrics af­ter wash­ing

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

QUES­TION: I have a daugh­ter with ex­treme scent al­ler­gies. Ac­cord­ingly, we use all fra­grance-free soaps, cleansers, cos­met­ics, etc.

One of the most frus­trat­ing prob­lems we en­counter is when we pur­chase new cloth­ing. Even though we couldn’t smell it in the store, upon re­turn­ing home we find that it is scented ei­ther from be­ing pre­vi­ously tried on by an­other cus­tomer who was wear­ing fra­grance or has been han­dled by a sales­per­son with scented lo­tion on her hands, etc. We avoid pur­chas­ing cloth­ing from stores that sell per­fumed prod­ucts or scented can­dles (which, in it­self, has be­come chal­leng­ing be­cause even uni­form shops seem to stock per­fumed can­dles even though the hos­pi­tals and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties where they are worn are scent-free in­sti­tu­tions).

I have tried soak­ing and wash­ing these scented clothes in Nel­lie’s Wash­ing Soda, bak­ing soda, vine­gar and even le­mon juice, air­ing them out for an ex­tended pe­riod of time in fresh air, and pack­ag­ing them up with Deode­roc blocks, news­pa­pers or cof­fee grounds, but noth­ing seems to re­move the smell. Could you ad­vise me on how to elim­i­nate the scent? Thank you so much for your help. I re­ally need it. — Ann, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: You are do­ing ev­ery­thing right and tack­ling fab­ric odours with the best am­mu­ni­tion avail­able. Is it pos­si­ble that your daugh­ter is one of the many peo­ple bat­tling mul­ti­ple chem­i­cal sen­si­tiv­ity? Also known as MCS syn­drome or sim­ply MCS, this is a dis­or­der in which a per­son de­vel­ops symp­toms from ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals in the en­vi­ron­ment.

As you have ex­pe­ri­enced, scents of­ten re­main on fabrics even af­ter wash­ing and pre-soak­ing; this is due to chem­i­cal treat­ments for stains, flame re­tar­dency and wrin­kles as well as dyes used in man­u­fac­tur­ing. These treat­ments of­ten cause fabrics to smell per­ma­nently.

Al­ways pur­chase nat­u­ral fi­bres or fabrics like cot­ton, linen and silk. When­ever pos­si­ble, look for or­ganic cloth­ing and use or­ganic cot­ton bedding. Pes­ti­cides and in­sec­ti­cides are used to grow reg­u­lar cot­ton, chlo­rine is used to bleach it, and ar­senic is used for fab­ric treat­ment.

Some peo­ple rec­om­mend the use of an ozone ma­chine for re­mov­ing odours in fabrics, but this op­tion is highly de­bated and many ex­perts claim that ozone ma­chines are un­safe for health pur­poses.

Lastly, when you do use prod­ucts such as vine­gar and wash­ing soda, be sure to use the hottest wa­ter that the fab­ric will ac­cept. I of­ten boil fabrics in a pot on the stove to re­move stains and odours. Since per­fume smells bother your daugh­ter, be sure to ask sales­peo­ple if they have any more of the cloth­ing that you want to buy in their store­room. QUES­TION: I love all of your house­hold hints and look for­ward to your sug­ges­tions each week. My prob­lem is this: We have a very heavy cof­fee ta­ble in our liv­ing room and, af­ter re­dec­o­rat­ing, we moved the ta­ble and now have in­dents in the car­pet where it sat. We tried the ice-cube trick but the dents still re­main. Are they per­ma­nent or can they be re­moved? — Alexan­dra, New Both­well, Man.

AN­SWER: I would call this an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge, not a prob­lem. Here is the so­lu­tion: Spray the car­pet dents with a spray bot­tle filled with wa­ter. Hold a hair dryer over the area and place on HIGH set­ting. Comb the fi­bres up us­ing your fin­gers. Works fast and ef­fec­tively. QUES­TION: Could you please give me a sug­ges­tion for re­mov­ing red wine stains from a light-red leather couch? I would ap­pre­ci­ate any help you could of­fer. Thanks. — Bar­ney, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: What makes this stain one of the most dif­fi­cult to re­move is that red wine is a dye and there­fore the spill is not sit­ting on top of the fi­bres (as most spills do). The wine has now be­come part of the leather. There are com­mer­cial leather clean­ers on the mar­ket, or you can tackle the job your­self. Act quickly. Some peo­ple have had great re­sults by dab­bing the area with le­mon juice and blot­ting with dish soap and wa­ter. An­other so­lu­tion: dab the area with a fair amount of white wine and blot. Do not rub the area; do­ing so will only spread the stain. Re­peat un­til stain is gone. Test on an in­con­spic­u­ous area first.

Or­der­ing wine in a res­tau­rant:

Do not be afraid to ask the serv­ing per­son­nel which wines are their best­sellers and which wines go best with the meal you’ve cho­sen. Check out the price be­fore you make your de­ci­sion.

If you’re din­ing with a group of peo­ple, get their opin­ions as to which wines they pre­fer — white or red, sweet or dry — and what types of food peo­ple will be or­der­ing. If there are votes for both whites and reds, com­pro­mise by lean­ing to­wards a heavy white like an oak-filled Chardon­nay or a lighter red, a Pinot Noir or even a light-bod­ied Mer­lot.

For­get about smelling the wine, but do check out the cork to see that it’s not dried out or cracked.

When the server brings you your bot­tle, note the wine’s colour and clar­ity. Is it cloudy or brown­ish in colour? Only very old se­lec­tions should have this ap­pear­ance.

Smell the cork to see if it smells like vine­gar. This is a sign of ox­i­da­tion or a faulty cork.

Taste the sam­ple and, if it is to your lik­ing, give the server the thumbs-up to pour the wine.

I en­joy your ques­tions and tips, keep them com­ing.

Don’t be afraid to ask your server for wine sug­ges­tions.

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