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Old 06/25/08, 08:16 AM
Still Learning!
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 557
Question Greasy smelling dish towels.

My kids cleaned up a big greasy mess with one of my dish towels and I did not realize when I washed it (severe allergies & stopped up nose just dumped the clothes in the washer did not smell or really touch many of them). I put it together with all of the other dish towels on a heavy load with bleach, vinegar and my laundry detergent and borax. Now all of my dish towels that I washed with it stink like grease. I cannot get rid of the greasy smell. I do not want to throw them away (there are quite a few). I have tried soaking them in a bleach water solution before washing them and I have tried soaking them in vinegar water also. Can anyone help me? I really do not want to give my good dish towels up to the guys for mechanicing work but it looks like I might have to unless someone can steer me in the right direction. Help please!!

P.S. we have very hard water here and we have to use a water softner, I do not know if that is also contributing to it or not....
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Mom of Michael (19), David (18),Anthony (14) and James Oscar R.I.P. February 23, 2008
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Old 06/25/08, 09:54 AM
Custom Crochet Queen
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Susquehanna, PA
Posts: 2,786
Water softener just helps. Add some borax or washing soda to the load. Have you tried soaking them in water and peroxide for a while? It should have the same effect as oxyclean at a fraction of the price. Is it kitchen grease or car grease? If it's car grease, use a big ol' glob of that orange hand cleaner to wash them with. That should do the trick.
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Old 06/25/08, 10:14 AM
Still Learning!
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NC
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I did use borax in the first initial wash along with clorox, washing detergent and vinegar. I wonder if any of that canceled the other out? I have not tried peroxide and did not think of trying it. I will do that! Thanks for the suggestion. It was kitchen grease that they cleaned up. I was so sick with allergies and feeling so terrible and they had to cook for themselves and of course they decided they needed to fry something. They made a big mess and cleaned it up with my dish towels and just threw it in the kitchen laundry basket ( when I washed I did not notice it at all, I was still congested and I just dumped the basket in). I wonder if that orange grease will work on my dish towels if the peroxide does not?
Thanks for your reply Ninn!
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Old 06/25/08, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 507
Vinegar neutralizes soap, so putting it in with the soap does no good. Soap is alkaline, vinegar is acid. Use vinegar to rinse the soap out of something.

If the peroxide doesn't do anything, I'd try this: Saturate the towels in some dish washing detergent. It doesn't have to be the most expensive like Joy or Dawn, the store brand is ok. Soak them for a while and let the degreasers in the detergent work. Then, wash them in hot water, running thru at least two cycles to get the soap out. You could put some vinegar in on the last rinse.

If you use the dryer, do not put fabric softener sheets in with towels. It coats them with the chemical and prevents them from absorbing water, and they will never wash clean. Since you have allergies, I figure you don't use them, but thought I'd throw that out there.

Feel of them and smell them when they come out of the dryer, to see if the smell is gone, and the soap is gone. If not, and the grease has established itself, the next step might be using something like Greased Lightning, which is a degreaser (funny name for a degreaser). Its sold everywhere. Just be sure to run them thru several rinses to get all the soap out.

Hope this helps a little.
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Old 06/26/08, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 2,965
I don't think there's a better degreaser that ammonia - and it's cheap! With your allergies, I would have someone else do this. Just put the dish towels in the washer with hot water - as low a water level as feasible, add about a cup of clear ammonia and run it through.

My husband used to work in a foundry. I used ammonia whenever I washed his work clothes - they were RANK!
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Old 06/26/08, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW WA
Posts: 10,357
Yes, Marilyn beat me to it - I was going to suggest ammonia, too. What's that they say about great minds?

eta: if the ammonia doesn't do it, try rubbing "Goop" into the towels - probably take a couple cans of it, but at less than $1 a can, it's a lot cheaper than replacing the towels.

Also, if you use the dishwashing liquid (which should also work), make sure you rinse it out fairly well before you put the towels in the washer - otherwise, you'll have suds and foam EVERYWHERE! Don't ask me how I know...

Last edited by manygoatsnmore; 06/26/08 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 08/23/08, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Ky
Posts: 55
Maybe before you sink another single penny into them, figure up the cost of replacement. Your DH might really like having all those as shop towels. Chauk it up as a lesson learned.

O yea, you get nice new ones.

God bless, KyJeeper.

Last edited by kyJeeper; 08/23/08 at 05:55 PM. Reason: left somthing out
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Old 08/27/08, 03:21 PM
sancraft's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Georgia
Posts: 5,961
Put them in a stock pot, add a little detergent and bring them to a rolling boil or add a pot of boiling water to the washer. See my, so you thought your clothes were clean post.
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Old 08/30/08, 04:33 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: northcentral Montana
Posts: 2,630
I'd also suggest ammonia, but I've found that it sometimes affects the color of clothes -- especially tshirts (which are not the discussed items, but still). I got some janitor-strength degreaser at Sams Club and also at a local janitor store, and it does a WONDERFUL job of taking grease out of clothes! I was having a problem with collar rings and young man's body odor, and not only did it do a better job of removing the problems, it didn't affect the clothes at all. It doesn't take a lot per load, so it's actually very economical.
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Old 08/31/08, 11:26 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,693
I've put a few dabs of dawn dishwashing liquad on mine and scrub them back and forth between my hands then let them soak in a bucket over night and it turned out well.
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