secret to getting "OLD" out of fabric
October 22, 2007 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Getting "OLD" moist smell out of fabric?

After buying a tapestry from an Estate sale recently I have noticed the tell-tale signs of neglect. Is there a tried and true method to rid an Antique of it's musty odor? Have tried leaving it out in the sun for three days to no avail. Thank you...
posted by Pressed Rat to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Try dry cleaning it. For must, oxygen is the thing, and sun is good for that. Bleach or peroxide are good, but will probably affect the color. Steam cleaning is another good option; it will kill the musty smell and is unlikely to affect the color, at least too much.

A professional rug cleaner would be be the best option if this is a valuable tapestry.
posted by caddis at 5:17 PM on October 22, 2007

How you treat this textile depends on a few things. Is this something that is very valuable? Is so, don't take it to a regular dry cleaner. Dry cleaning is harsh on old textiles. If the textile has any silk in it, the dry cleaning may cause it to completely deteriorate.

Spritzing vodka on textiles can sometimes kill bad smells, without discoloring the fabric, but I wouldn't use it on anything rare or valuable.
posted by pluckysparrow at 5:41 PM on October 22, 2007

I have not tried this myself, but have heard that leaving musty pieces in a drawer/box/small room with kitty litter is helpful, as the kitty litter absorbs odor.

What I have tried, with great results, is the air-out/sun method. I hung out an old silk crazy quilt for about 4 days, and the scent was gone. However, we've been having great clear dry weather here in New England which I think lends itself to airing out fabric.
posted by suki at 5:01 AM on October 23, 2007

The smell is caused by bacteria. There are many ways to kill bacteria... :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 2:21 AM on October 24, 2007

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