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  1. #1
    dnuof-dna-tsol lost-and-found's Avatar
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    Getting rid of bad jeans smell

    Hey guys,

    Recently I bought a new pair of Levi's Jeans (dark indigo). When I got home I noticed that they have this weird chemical smell, resembling the smell of smoke from an extinguished match. I washed them already thinking that that would get rid of the smell, but the smell only seems to have gotten worse. A few years ago I had a black shirt (brand new as well) with the same awkward smell, which I had to throw away since I couldn't find a way to get rid of it.

    But I like these jeans, and if possible would like to keep them. Does anyone know of any good way to get rid of the smell (i.e. baking soda, vinegar....etc)? And, did any of you ever experience this phenomenon?

  2. #2
    Communal Member Detritus's Avatar
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    I've never experienced the phenomenon, but you may want to try Oxiclean, or a similar percarbonate product. DON'T USE LIQUID BLEACH!!!! Use an all fabric bleach.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member shawshank62's Avatar
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    I bought a pair of black levi's about a year ago....the smell doesn't go away.

  4. #4
    dnuof-dna-tsol lost-and-found's Avatar
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    shawshank, so I'm not crazy?

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member shawshank62's Avatar
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    I just went and smelled my jeans It's definitely not as strong as it once was, but I can still smell that harsh, chemicalish smell. I would say take it back if it bothers you....that smell is there to stay.


    I could never explain that smell, but you hit it right on with the smell after you light a match. Really odd smell, I'm guessing its something in the dye.

  6. #6
    Rock of Ages jokostel's Avatar
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    some clothes soap brands have febreeze in it... you could try that.
    or get some detergent from a sporting goods store.
    The stuff meant for bowhunting/tree stand hunting.


    should do the job nicely.
    He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves. One for his enemy, and one for himself.-- Lao Tzu

  7. #7
    is 4 f00t secks sixf00t4's Avatar
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    no idea what smell you're talking about, but i only wear blue jeans. i would think throwing a downy ball or some febreeze like jokostel said, something to at least mask the smell.
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  8. #8
    Ultimate Member shawshank62's Avatar
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    Febreeze doesn't get rid of the smell.

  9. #9
    Rock of Ages jokostel's Avatar
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    He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves. One for his enemy, and one for himself.-- Lao Tzu

  10. #10
    dnuof-dna-tsol lost-and-found's Avatar
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    Ok, i've soaked these babies in soda, vinegar, and still they reek. My next idea is to fight fire with fire. Since they smell like a burnt match I'm thinking of lighting them on fire to scare the smell out.....or I could try your link Joko

  11. #11
    Communal Member Detritus's Avatar
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    You can try Joko's link, but I doubt it will work with a chemical smell. Products like that are designed to get rid of organic smells.

    Have you tried OxiClean yet?

  12. #12
    Communal Member Detritus's Avatar
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    Oh, and to use OxiClean, make a solution of about 1/8th-1/4 cup in your washer on a normal load fill using warm water and let the jeans soak for a few hours.

    Now the disclaimer, do this at your own risk, the bleach shouldn't damage the jeans but I have run across the rare dye that is affected by percarbonate.

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    You should have returned the dungarees as soon as you smelled them new or washed them one time. From your description, they are obvilously a factory defect or maybe something salvaged from fire (smoke) damage. One question is what factory? Did you get stuck with a pair of counterfeits?

    Your only recourse might be to contact the Levis factory about your concern. In the old days, the riveted jeans were guaranteed for life. In the hippie days, my brother wore a pair of Levis until they were thread bear. Finally the seam broke and he collected on the warranty. They made him send the jeans to Texas for a coupon. The coupon was to be sent to San Jose for a replacement pair of jeans. It was a hassle, but they did it.

    But as for your case, if you are calm, Levis would be very interested in a manufacture lot of jeans that might be off specification. They charge premium for supposed quality control.
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  14. #14
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    me 2

    definetly ,, the i noticed the smell of the black jeans that smells like matches i'm guessing the dye has sulfur or somthing the problem is not only it wont go away but its starting to spread to my other jeans

  15. #15
    Per aspera ad astra Socalgal's Avatar
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    Sounds like formaldehyde. They use it in some down pillows, also. I hate the smell and won't use products that contain it*. The smell may diminish but will never go away, AFAIK.

    *Upon further research, I see that that would be impossible... Formaldehyde Council and Formaldehyde Council
    Wrinkle-Free Clothing. In textiles, formaldehyde-based materials help bind dyes and pigments to fabrics and prevents the colors from running. These materials help improve a fabric's resistance to wrinkles, ease clothing care and maintenance, and allow us to spend more time away from the ironing board.

  16. #16
    Light to Counter the Dim MTAtech's Avatar
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    Generally, smells can be neutralized with mild acids, like vinegar or mild bases, like baking powder. If those don't work, it's in the fabric itself and you should seek replacement.
    Conservatives: "If the facts disagree with our opinion, ignore the facts -- or at least misrepresent them."

  17. #17
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    Finally found solution

    We bought a pair of black Lee Riders from WalMart that didn't smell bad in the store. After washing them the first time they reeked of a bad chemical smell, not unlike a match is lit then put out, but more like burnt rubber. Washed them 6 times in various detergents, baking soda, vinegar, and both cold and warm water. Nothing touched that awful smell. We contacted Wrangler who makes the Lee Riders and they had us return the garment. After 7 weeks, they sent another pair back to us. This pair didn't smell real bad out of the package, but after the first wash, whooee, same bad chemical/dye smell. I think they know that the Chinese dyes smell bad and put something on the jeans to cover the smell in the store, but when that's washed off, the burnt rubber smell comes out strong.

    So, we decided that brute force would be necessary which would either get the smell out or ruin the jeans, but had nothing to lose. We put the jeans in the washer by themselves, then added a normal amount of detergent for a medium load. (Arm & Hammer Oxi-clean) Then we added at least a quarter cup of Lestoil in along with the liquid laundry detergent. We set the washer for Hot wash and Hot rinse, with the Heavy-Duty cycle and a 2-hour soak setting. When this was done the house smelled strong of Lestoil, but lo and behold the burnt rubber smell in the jeans was almost gone. Tossing them the dryer with several dryer sheets made them at least wearable. If you stick your nose right on the fabric you can still make out the faint odor of chemicals, but we think that will now fade after a few wearings and washings. All of this didn't seem to affect the color of the fabric and they look good yet. The jeans may have shrunk a little, but were a little long to begin with, so no big deal there.

    Too bad we have to put up with American brand name jeans being made in China. Never had this problem with American made jeans.

  18. #18
    Ultimate Member Chuckiechan's Avatar
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    Well, it's been three years. Have you got it out yet?

    Maybe try washing in baking soda.
    Government is a disease pretending to be a cure!

  19. #19
    Living the dream The Real Bingo's Avatar
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    Now they smell of something else!

  20. #20
    dnuof-dna-tsol lost-and-found's Avatar
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    Wow, haha, old thread. I don't even remember what happened to those jeans. I think I wore them a few more times and then gave them to a thrift store since I couldn't get the smell to go away. All I know is I have to be very careful of buying black clothing since some of it uses dyes which produce a "burnt-match" smell to me. The interesting thing is not all people can smell that odor, even on clothing that reaks of it to me.

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