Kill the oil stink
May 26, 2011 8:10 PM   Subscribe

We've just moved, and I'm working on the backlog of laundry. The problem is that one of the hampers apparently was close to the oil furnace of the old house, and now the entire basket smells like oil. How do I get rid of the smell?

There was a coat in the center of the basket that apparently got oil on it, and it wicked through. I've tossed that coat, and run the entire load through the washer twice on heavy duty, and it still stinks of oil. It seems clean, and when I take it out, there's no residual smell of oil in the washer.

We're using the Seventh Generation scentless detergent, as one of my roommates reacts badly.

I've never had to deal with this before, and neither has my mother (who I called to ask, and boggled her).

Should we get some of that good ol' Oxy-Clean, or something else? I read that possibly vanilla oil will deal with it, or maybe soak it in vinegar first before washing it with the vanilla oil, but everything I have found talks about oil stains, which this isn't.
posted by mephron to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would try a good, long soak with baking soda, but I have no experience with oil smells to tell you it will work for sure.
posted by phunniemee at 8:20 PM on May 26, 2011

Best answer: Presoak with oxygen cleaner powder.
posted by JayRwv at 8:26 PM on May 26, 2011

Best answer: I use oxi-clean along w/detergent to wash my massage sheets; nothing else gets the oil out. Once in a while I take them to a laundromat that has new uber-machines; they are much better at really getting things uber-clean.
posted by headnsouth at 8:36 PM on May 26, 2011

since it's oily, maybe water won't dissolve it?

try vodka/water stink spray method (50/50 solution) or chemical dry-cleaning?

good luck!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:37 PM on May 26, 2011

Response by poster: Javrwv: was what I was thinking.

phunniemee: we're thinking about that, but we don't have a large enough soak thing (except the bathtub), and we found out we, uh, forgot the baking soda.

headnsouth: it's fuel oil. Do you think it'll work the same?

Rube: yeah, we're hoping we don't have to go with drycleaning, because right now it's a bit outside the budget, but we may have to go there over a period of time.
posted by mephron at 9:00 PM on May 26, 2011

Perhaps you should burn it? ;) Have you tried washing it with dawn in hot water? You can't cover it up I've tried. But Dawn does get the grease out.
posted by gypseefire at 9:53 PM on May 26, 2011

Response by poster: I think once the grease is out we should be able to do some work on it - I have heard that vanilla oil is a good neutralizer for the scent. Maybe we should try some dish detergent. I'd need to buy that too.
posted by mephron at 11:47 PM on May 26, 2011

Look, you're going to have to buy stuff to try to shift the smell. Go with stuff you'll use anyway like washing up liquid and baking soda and try them out one at a time. And yes, soak in the bath tub, if that's the only container that's big enough. I've been known to soak my winter quilt in thee bath tub before putting it away for summer because it's too big to go in the washing fact it gets hand washed in there and drip dries in there, too, because that's the only suitable space!
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:28 AM on May 27, 2011

I would soak the clothes in borax, which is pretty good at removing smells (I use it for sweaty exercise clothes). And I have the world's most sensitive skin, but using it on my clothes doesn't bother me. Here on the west coast of the U.S., the brand is 20 Mule Team and you can find it at Target with the laundry detergent.

Also, many washing machines have a "soak" setting which will fill the washer, then just sit there without agitating.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:35 PM on May 28, 2011

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