That nasty vintage underarm funk.

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by reetpleat, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    And I say that in the original sense of the word, as in, a foul odor.

    You all know what I mean. It is the smell of an article of clothing that has been sweated in, then left to fester for many years. The whiff is unmistakable to a vintage aficionado, and extremely hard to get rid of.

    While dresses or shirts can be washed in water, I am very hesitant to do so with suit jacket for obvious reason. I have had some luck using soap and water just on the underarm, and have washed a suit jacket or two, but it is so hard to get them pressed nicely again.

    I tried some enzimatic stuff made for pet odors. No luck. I tried vinegar today, and seems to be working, but I won't know if it will work once dry. And will dry cleaning get the vinegar smell out, or will it disipate itself.

    Anyone else figure out a way to take care of the smell other than washing in soap and water?
     
  2. YETI

    YETI A-List Customer

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    Baking Soda and Water

    Hey reetpleat...I had an early 50s tweed herringbone weave patch pocket blazer that had some serious funk. I used Febreeze then the cleaners to no avail. Then a friend who worked at a local vintage clothing store suggested a water solution of baking soda and water. I used a spray bottle to apply it to the offending areas. When it dried the smell was gone. But then I had some water stains to contend with unfortunately. It was either that or some slight color bleed. But it was negligible because the tweed had some color variation and flecks. Funny thing is, I ended up selling it on ebay. At least the stink was gone. I hate BO, especially the vintage kind. good luck, man
     
  3. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I don't have to tell you just how funky that smell is. The worst is when you don't notice it till you wear it out and get hot, then you start catching a whiff of it and realize it is you.

    I use a product called folex that is great for spot removal. It is a carpet cleaner. YOu spray it on, then it just goes away with the stain. I have no idea where it goes. But it can leave a ring, especially on linings. So I usually spray the whole lining and let it dry all at once. thanks for the tip. I will try it on some and see how the vinegar goes too. Is there any chemical reason why baking soda and vinegar should not be combined? Do they react?

    I had to give up on my idea to combine amonia and bleach.
     
  4. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Yep, there's a reaction. Violent. :D
    Baking soda + vinegar = kid's science project volcano

    Vinegar does affect dye. I used it to get a big black ink spot out of one of my wool reenacting skirts. It got the spot out, but it spread a slight bluish tinge throughout the area that was wetted. Oh, and that patch shrank slightly. This wool is/was particularly apt to shrink when it gets wet. Vinegar has taken out similar ink spots on our carpet, but also took out the gray dye already in the carpet.

    Bleach dissolves wool. It's so efficient that the Bleach Test is the best way to test wool fabric content. Put a small piece of fabric into bleach. If there's anything left in 24 hours, it wasn't 100% wool.
     
  5. Miss_Bella_Hell

    Miss_Bella_Hell My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I have this exact problem with a yellow wool Pendleton I just bought. It STINKS! I think it actually smells so heavily of b.o. that it borders on pee smell. YUCK! I've been hanging it in the bathroom to get steamed with each shower, and I've Febrezed a couple times, but it's DEFINITELY not wearable yet.

    I'll try the baking soda/water solution. Good one.

    Oh--how saturated does the item have to be with this solution?
     
  6. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    "We don't want the funk."

    veronica perra
     
  7. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    Interesting history of the word. I think it is 16th century english, and was first used in relation to music in a place called the Funky Butt in New Orleans around the turn of the century. And at that time, they did not mean funky as we would use it, or anything about shaking your butt. It was a funky butt.

    From there it became applied to jazz, and became what we know today.
     
  8. Rachael

    Rachael A-List Customer

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    I find that nothing gets smells out of wool like good old sunshine. Hang it on the clothesline or out a window for a full day at least, repeat as needed. Of course in these parts that means you'd be out of luck until spring, but you might catch a lucky break.
     
  9. nico demouse

    nico demouse Familiar Face

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    I'm a newbie to vintage, but used to dance. We cleaned costumes (which get sweaty and can't be laundered) by misting them with vodka. I wonder if that would work?
     
  10. cookie

    cookie I'll Lock Up

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    Vodka and water mix.
     
  11. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    The piece that became known as "Funky Butt" was the B section of the popular ragtime tune "The St Louis Tickle".

    The story goes that at a crowded dance, late on a very hot summer's evening in 1905 at the Union Sons' Hall in New Orleans, a very heavy gentleman, whose hygene was, suspect was wedged near the band-stand, and the band leader, the famous cornetist Buddy Bolden got a whiff of this fellowm and improvised scatalogical lyrics to the tune that he was playing, the B theme of the ragtime number which can be head here:

    http://www.perfessorbill.com/midi/stloutik.mid

    The comic number became such a famous joke that for many years the Union Son's Hall was informally known as "Funky Butt Hall".

    The lyrics to this song, having been improvised, apparently varied form time to time, but they were finally codified when Jelly Roll Morton recorded his version of the song, as "Buddy Bolden's Blues", or "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", which may be heard here:

    http://www.redhotjazz.com/jrmnoj.html
     
  12. celtic

    celtic A-List Customer

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    the original topic one of the reasons that i have to drag my wife into thrift stores.

    although her prejudice has gotten better over the years...she'll actually look through racks and touch the clothing now and she actually BOUGHT some things the last time we went...

    lol

    but, um, yeah

    i know the smell you're talking about...

    i've actually begun smelling items i like before purchase just to make sure...lol
     
  13. Ms. McGraw

    Ms. McGraw One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    Ugggh! I know just what you are talking about. I had a super cute dress that had the armpit funk something awful. The funk and I went to war and in the end, I won. I hand washed it twice in the sink, and had it dry cleaned but it STILL smelled awful. Since it was almost a lost cause, I figured if throwing it in a lingerie bag and washing it on gentle twice ruined it, it wouldn't matter much since I couldn't wear it anyway. Much to my surprise, that finally killed the stench! I've had great luck with washing vintage items that way, nothing has been trashed yet...knock on wood!!!
     
  14. **********
    What laundry detergent dod you use?
     
  15. Ms. McGraw

    Ms. McGraw One of the Regulars

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    Plain ol' Era.
     
  16. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I am very pleased to announce that the baking soda suggestion is a big hit. It has fixed four suit jackets. One I had to saturate twice, and now it smells a bit like baking soda. I suppose that they should be dry cleaned, but my fear that it would end up with white dusty residue is not the case. can baking soda hurt the fabric?

    At any rate, baking soda in water in a spray bottle, saturating the arm pit removes all oder. It is a miracle.
     
  17. Another Arm & Hammer triumph!:eusa_clap
     
  18. just_me

    just_me Practically Family

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    How much baking soda to how much water in the mixture?
     
  19. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I couldn't even guess. I suppose it doesn't matter as the goal is to ge tthe baking soda in a disolved fasion into the fabric, so twice as muc hwater might require twice as much saturation. I think I put about five table spoons in maybe 32 ounces of water.
     
  20. thunderw21

    thunderw21 I'll Lock Up

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    I've had great luck with Era as well.
     

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