How to Remove Chemical Odors from Jeans

chemicalodorjeans

Sharon asked: I purchased a new pair of black jeans. They have a distinct odor, which I think is probably the dye used on them. I have washed them a couple of times, but the smell continues! Any suggestions?

Sometimes the chemicals used during clothing production can linger. Dark jeans require a large amount of dye and chemicals to allow them to keep their color strong and vibrant. Removing the smell from these chemicals can be a challenge. Here are some things to try.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Odor:

 

  1. It will be easiest to apply these cleaners either in the washing machine or while soaking in a bucket/sink.
  2. Vinegar is a great deodorizer. Add some to the washing cycle and wash as normal. A normal sized load takes between ½ – 1 cup and a small load would require just ¼ cup.
  3. If the vinegar doesn’t do the trick, try filling a bucket with hot water and adding a scoop of OxiClean to it. Place the jeans in the bucket and allow them to soak overnight. There may be an odor as they are soaking, but it will go away once they are washed.
  4. Remove the jeans from the bucket and wash as normal.
  5. Another option is to add some borax to the washing cycle. Read the label for the appropriate amounts.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Some cleaners, such as OxiClean and borax, may cause some fading. Test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the color is not affected.

 

Comments

  1. E. Greiger says:

    I’m sure you must be referring to black Faded Glory jeans – horrible smell which CANNOT be removed.

  2. Tina says:

    I have had this problem as well, one pair of black jeans and one pair dark blue. I have tried everything mentioned on the internet, including the vinegar; nothing works. This weekend, I sprayed them before wearing with Resolve foam and rubbed it in; it worked for the day. When washed and dried, the smell was back. Washed a second time before putting them in dryer, I sprayed them again (heavy) with the foam; they came out smelling fresh! YEAH! I am hoping if I do this a time or two there will be no smell at all EVER!

  3. Alexandra says:

    I will try all of the above. I have a favorite pair (black skinny jeans) I like, however they STINK. I have tried several things and they still stink, so I will buy Resolve.

  4. Auntie S. says:

    What you folks are smelling is formaldehyde. Stuff to embalm dead humans. If you can smell it, then you can absorb it through your skin, too. The smell never comes out.

  5. Wendy says:

    I tried the OxiClean idea, soaking black jeans overnight. Now I have gray jeans that still stink.

  6. Dee says:

    I tried soaking them in vinegar about three times and washing three times. The smell faded enough to wear, but I still get a faint smell once in a while.

  7. Dee says:

    Yes!! I used the Resolve Foam and it worked! I sprayed it inside and out on my black jeans. I used half the can while the jeans were hanging on a hanger outside. Once I sprayed the foam, I rubbed the foam really good into the fabric, left them outside for five minutes, and then added Oxiclean and Tide Total Care to the washer, washed the jeans and wow: I can’t smell the stink anymore! Hope it works for you!

  8. James says:

    Are you referring to Resolve Foam, the carpet cleaner?

  9. Marie says:

    I too want to know if it’s the carpet cleaner that Dee was talking about; as I have just purchased a pair of black jeans which smell to high heaven. I hate to wear them like that as people will think it’s me that they are smelling! I also want to know why they would be using formaldehyde in the making of jeans. And just the dark ones?

  10. Tami says:

    I am going to try the Resolve tomorrow, and will update!

  11. Heather says:

    I think it must be just a small portion of the population that can smell this because of some comments I have seen on the internet like, wash them, use vinegar, or “it’s your fabric softener.” Um no, these smell repulsive. I never had this problem with black jeans until a few years ago and the pants both were black and came from Walmart. I wore a lot of black in my youth and never smelled this before. I have to conclude this is some new extremely cheap dye that is being used. I sure hope lots of people will start complaining and they’ll go back to the old stuff. By the way, the smell does not disappear after several washings/soakings. I eventually gave up.

  12. Rhonda says:

    I have a pair of Merona dark blue jeans from Target that have a petroleum smell I cannot get out with washing or vinegar. Resolve Foam will be my next try.

  13. Katy says:

    I bought three pairs of Jeggings from JCPenny’s; a black, light brown and olive green pair. All THREE STINK to high heaven. I washed and dried them – no change. Then I washed again with 1/2 cup bleach and detergent – no change. Washed a third time with Oxi-Clean liquid added to the water and detergent – no change. Washed a fourth time with detergent and a whole box of baking soda – no change. I have hung them out to dry on the line and leave them out (not in the closet) to air. THEY ARE UNWEARABLE THE ODOR IS SO STRONG! It is a very heavy chemical, almost petroleum, smell. I will try the vinegar tonight since I have it on hand. The cost of the Resolve and the time and effort makes me think I will take the pants back and file a formal complaint. :(

  14. Sue says:

    I agree that the smell came about a few years ago. Old Navy stores have that bad smell. It does smell like petroleum or burning rubber. I wear black jeans to work and the smell is embarrassing. I am going to try the Resolve foam as well.

  15. Katy says:

    Report # 2. I soaked the Jeggings overnight in the washing machine with white vinegar and my laundry soap, washed them in the morning. No change. The next night I soaked them overnight in the washing machine using three cups of liquid Oxi-Clean and laundry soap in the water. I washed them the next day and NO CHANGE. I am going to try the Resolve on 1 pair because of the expense and amount of work required. If that doesn’t work, all three pairs are going back to the store and I will write a customer review on the Jeggings.

  16. Nancy says:

    I recently bought three pairs of black Lucky skinny jeans. Love them, however they smell awful!! Tried the vinegar; didn’t work…will try a small amount of Oxi-Clean. Do not want them to fade.

  17. Yazmin says:

    1980 bought a black jean; we were traveling to Europe…I was going crazy with the horrible smell; all the clothes in the suitcase got it. I never bought a black jean again until last year; it’s a DG2 (Diane Gilman, QVC). PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE; how can I remove the horrible odor? People mentioned Walmart, Old Navy, JCP; it doesn’t matter the brand, IT’S HORRIBLE!!! I’m going to try all of the above.

  18. Bert says:

    I have some jeans I just got with this smell and I used Murphy Oil Soap and then rewashed once with soap, OxiClean and borax and again with soap, OxiClean and some stuff used to remove pet odors. Most of the smell is gone. Will hang them outside in the sun; should get what’s left. I have some jackets I got last year that had this same smell and you would never know it now.

  19. Liz says:

    I just bought a pair of medium blue Gloria Vanderbilt jeans at Kohl’s, and they really stink. I washed them in with my regular load of dark clothes and they still stink. I have never smelled anything like this! It’s awful!! I am going to buy some Resolve and try that. The funny thing is that I bought two pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans at Kohl’s last summer and they didn’t smell at all.

  20. Edina says:

    I bought four bras (2 white, 2 nude) new from Amazon and they utterly stink. I’m posting this because they are not heavily dyed. So why do they smell? Do they use chemicals for another process in clothes manufacturing?
    I’ve tried washing them 1. just laundry soap, when I first got them. 2. vinegar and laundry soap. 3. Baking soda and laundry soap. 4. vinegar and laundry soap…and they still stink. They’re going to be worn out before I ever wear them. :(

  21. Jeannie says:

    I got mine from HSN; their Soho Skinny DKNY Jeans. I had gotten blue ones, no smell; only with the black. I tried all the above to help with cleaning. I too will try the Resolve. I washed the jeans with other clothing and they all took on that smell. I’ll get back after the next test.

  22. Patty says:

    I’m having the same problem and I bought my light blue denim jeans and a medium blue denim jacket at Macy’s. This was the first year I had strong petroleum odor problems with their denims. My jeans and jacket were made in China. Need I say more? I think it is important to complain to the store where the offensive items were purchased so they can realize there is a very big problem here.

  23. Warren says:

    I read somewhere else that the coloring chemicals in the dark skinny jeans are not water-soluble. Wash as much as you want, but the odor will remain. Apparently you have to put the jeans in the oven first and the chemicals break loose from the fabric. Then, wash the loose particles away and the smell is much reduced. The jeans may shrink a bit though. Can’t recall the exact oven temperatures, but it was around 250 degrees F.

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