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New sheets with chemical smell...

SusantmSusantm Registered User Posts: 2,188 Senior Member
edited November 2005 in Parent Cafe
Vaguely college-related...

Son is home for Thanksgiving. Since big brother took over his room, he has to sleep on the spare bed. So I promised him new sheets. However, when I opened the package, the sheets just reeked with an awful chemical smell. I have washed them 5-6 times, and while not as bad, there is still a definite odor. Anyone know how to get rid of this?
Post edited by Susantm on

Replies to: New sheets with chemical smell...

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    can you hang them outside?
    what kind of sheets are they?
  • SusantmSusantm Registered User Posts: 2,188 Senior Member
    The label says 55%cotton, 45% polyester.

    I will try sticking them outside for the hour or two of daylight we have left.
  • SplashMomSplashMom Registered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    Susan, how 'bout trying some baking soda in the wash? Maybe it will help absorb the smell. Let the sheets soak in it for a few hours. I personally have never used the method, but I recall someone talking about it once. Good luck!
  • edadedad Registered User Posts: 2,584 Senior Member
    I would guess the problem comes from the plastic wrapping material.
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    If it smells, it's a volatile chemical by definition. So you need to increase the volatility: wash again in very hot water, put in the dryer on the hottest setting, repeat. You could also try soaking in an acidic (vinegar) or basic (baking soda) solvent to see if the chemical will dissolve that way. Since most detergents are basic and you've washed the sheets several times, I'd try the vinegar pre-soak first.

    You could also add a touch of lemon oil to the wash to try to drown out the smell, though that could make it worse, not better.
  • msteemstee Registered User Posts: 3,132 Senior Member
    Well, vinegar and baking soda are the things to try. If that doesn't work, then you may have to buy different sheets.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    oh since we are talking science- my daughter has a presentation due tommorow ( of course) involving ethyl or methyl alcohol ( and cooking oil) can I use grain alcohol from the liquor store? ( vodka?)
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    High proof vodka would work, but you can also buy denatured ethanol at some drug stores. And it's a lot cheaper.

    I don't know what kind of demo involves methanol and cooking oil, but if there's heat or flame involved, don't do it. Methanol is explosive. Ethanol would be somewhat safer. I assume this is your 9th graader.
  • newmassdadnewmassdad Registered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    Vodka for the sheets? What a waste. Why not split the bottle with your son. Then neither of you will notice any chemical smell. :-)

    Seriously, the smell is from various finishing agents common in wrinkle free sheets. Did you buy ironless?

    Try drying on a low setting or on air dry. Heat actually can lead to breakdown of the finishing agents, leading to more gassing off.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    thanks no she is in 10th its for marine science- it just involves floating the alcohol on the oil- I went and bought a cheap bottle of vodka 50ml- the airplane size-they are supposed to learn how great water is by comparision she says.
    I hope it is OK- I saw the instructions- methanol is so poisonous I can't imagine they really expected them to get that- (and the liquor store was open later than the drug store-) I called D1- she explained to me why rubbing alcohol wouldn't work-she said there is some type that isn't drinkable- but it was easier to go to liquor store than driving around all the drug stores to see who has denatured alcohol.
    It has a seal on it- debating whether to take the label off or not- but I doubt she is going to show anyone.
    never had this problem with D1- her school didn't need students to bring supplies.... sigh

    I bet vinegar would work with the sheets- I don't know though I dont' buy blends if I can help it since we have grown past the Pocahontas and Lion King bedding period.
  • SusantmSusantm Registered User Posts: 2,188 Senior Member
    I guess that's what I get for buying the cheapest sheets I could find. :-( I will try the vinegar and air dry. I'm not sure the low temp works on the dryer anymore...

    Thanks, everyone, for the helpful hints. And newmassdad, good suggestion, but S gave up drinking a month ago (one smart freshman kid!), so I don't think I'll try the vodka idea. :-)
  • gsp_silicon_valleygsp_silicon_valley Registered User Posts: 1,542 Senior Member
    Why not take the sheets back to where you purchased them?

    New sheets, pillow cases, blankets, etc. should not smell, especially after washing them. Search the manufacturer/product name on the net to see if there have been any consumer complaints.
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    The vodka suggestion was for Emeraldkity's D's demonstration--not for the sheets. Sorry about the confusion.
  • newmassdadnewmassdad Registered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    Be careful about school rules regarding alcohol...
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I know- I don't know what to do- I have never even seen denatured alcohol except at perhaps a woodworking store( which just occured to me)- which is why I bought the vodka- I have an email already to send to the principal, but then I realized that if I tell him- he will be obligated to act-so I just took the label off-

    I know you can't have alcohol in public school, even at adult only events-probably why her partner chose to bring the cooking oil instead
    She needs the entire bottle for the experiment- I don't want to get anyone in trouble including the teacher-I suppose if I cracked the seal I could put some acetone in it to make it not drinkable.....
This discussion has been closed.