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Getting the 'Funk Smell' out of Micro Fiber Poly Athletic Wear

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Getting the 'Funk Smell' out of Micro Fiber Poly Athletic Wear

Old 08-09-13, 10:28 AM
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Getting the 'Funk Smell' out of Micro Fiber Poly Athletic Wear

If any of you like to wear newer poly microfiber sports clothes for touring because of its comfort and quick drying ability, you probably also are taken aback by the fact that after multiple wearings and despite multiple washings, you cannot get that funk smell out of them. If this sounds familiar, I have found a great and cheap solution. I put the items in a container that is easy to seal and then douse them very liberally with full-strength household ammonia. Seal the container and let it sit overnight, then launder as usual. Ammonia will not harm most fabrics at all (though if worried you may want to test an inconspicuous area), and it COMPLETELY gets your clothes back to smelling the way they were when you purchased them.

I have found that even if you wash things with the specialty sports detergents this funk seems to come back quickly without the ammonia treatment.

I think this ammonia solution works because the specialty detergents are good at getting bacteria out from between the small fibers, but still a small amount of bacteria remains in the fibers, and the detergents do not kill the bacteria; the detergents are just better at washing more of it out. The ammonia completely kills the bacteria, so even if a bit remains in the fibers it is not going to be able to grow and start smelling.

Granted, doing this while on a tour is not practical, but for laundering between tours it is a great solution that really works.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:36 AM
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how about this stuff? from Nikwax https://www.nikwax-usa.com/en-us/prod...-1&fabricid=-1

packaged to take on tour, apparently . gel concentrate in a tube.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
how about this stuff? from Nikwax https://www.nikwax-usa.com/en-us/prod...-1&fabricid=-1

packaged to take on tour, apparently . gel concentrate in a tube.
I tried it. It is better than regular detergent, not nearly as good as ammonia though. And pretty expensive for the small amount you get.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:41 AM
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Sunshine may work.
One of the advantages of a good quality, superfine Merino is that the shape of the fibres inhibit the growth of bacteria.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:41 AM
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Merino wool is the way to go for NO stink. That said, I have used ammonia for tech clothing and it did work.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:45 AM
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I Just never found a need for extraordinary measures, but your body chemistry and olfactory sensitivity

may be a YMMV situation. nor do I have a Wife following in the back seat of a Tandem.. critiquing my fragrance .
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Old 08-09-13, 10:55 AM
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The running stores in my area use this stuff:

https://www.jensonusa.com/!y9m8czDXM0...FStxQgodOCsAFQ
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Old 08-09-13, 10:59 AM
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I use a commercial liquid enzymatic laundry detergent... hand wash only and dry outside...No problem yet... Maybe it's just you that is FUNKY...LOL
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Old 08-09-13, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel
The running stores in my area use this stuff:

https://www.jensonusa.com/!y9m8czDXM0...FStxQgodOCsAFQ
That's what I use on my technical clothing. Performance Bike had it on sale a couple of weeks ago and I bought 3 more bottles.

If machine washing your cycling clothing, make sure to do it on the cold cycle and use something like the above or a detergent free of scents. No fabric softener either.

Also hang drying is best. If you do put them in a dryer, don't use fabric softener sheets. Fabric softener clogs up the material so it can't breath as well.
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Old 08-09-13, 12:12 PM
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I take it that ammonia doesn't fade the fabric or break down the fibers? If not, then it seems like a pretty good solution. Cheaper than specialty detergent too.
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Old 08-09-13, 01:06 PM
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You can use ammonia in the rinse cycle also,works good,just double rinse.
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Old 08-09-13, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by halfwheel
I take it that ammonia doesn't fade the fabric or break down the fibers? If not, then it seems like a pretty good solution. Cheaper than specialty detergent too.
We have been doing this for a few years and have found no detrimental effect on fabrics at all.
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Old 08-09-13, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Booger1
You can use ammonia in the rinse cycle also,works good,just double rinse.
I have not tried this but was also wondering about how well it might work as well. The ammonia would be much diluted with water in the washer compared to what we have been doing with straight ammonia and you would have a much shorter contact time with the fabric also, but this might still be enough to do the job. Do you think you would have to use a lot more ammonia to get the concentration needed to be effective? The way we do it we use about 1/8 cup for an average sized shirt.


I also want to point out that 1/2 gallon of ammonia is about $2.00 compared to the sports wash products that are about a buck an ounce and we have found that ammonia is clearly more effective.
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Old 08-09-13, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Merino wool is the way to go for NO stink. That said, I have used ammonia for tech clothing and it did work.
Yeah, I have one wool shirt I love, but they are just so expensive and do not seem to hold up as long as the synthetics.
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Old 08-09-13, 04:29 PM
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Borax. Add it to the detergent for your wash.
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Old 08-09-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee
If any of you like to wear newer poly microfiber sports clothes for touring because of its comfort and quick drying ability, you probably also are taken aback by the fact that after multiple wearings and despite multiple washings, you cannot get that funk smell out of them.
We don't have a problem with that "funk smell". General bodily cleanliness ... and a bit of Borax in the wash seems to take care of it.

And you can use Borax on tour ... maybe not every place you stop to do laundry, but it is available in many grocery stores and comes in a relatively small container.
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Old 08-09-13, 05:21 PM
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You mean Borax isn't a banned substance in the world of cycling yet...
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Old 08-09-13, 08:01 PM
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We use borax for a lot of our cloths, but was afraid to use it on the cycling cloths or other sports cloths. Up until now, I have just used Woolite in the washing machine and hang to dry. I do have several shirts that I have never been able to get that smell out of, I may try the ammonia trick.

Not sure the wife will go for the smell of ammonia in the washing machine
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Old 08-09-13, 08:05 PM
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My wife suggested white vinegar in the fabric softner thingy in the washer for the boys sports uniforms and my dry fit/bike clothing. I scoffed at another wives tail concoction probably from Pinterest not to mention the vinegar smell. My goodness, it worked! After a couple wash cycles the locker room smell was gone and not a hint of vinegar after stink - I'm a believer.
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Old 08-10-13, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mac75
We use borax for a lot of our cloths, but was afraid to use it on the cycling cloths or other sports cloths. Up until now, I have just used Woolite in the washing machine and hang to dry. I do have several shirts that I have never been able to get that smell out of, I may try the ammonia trick.

Not sure the wife will go for the smell of ammonia in the washing machine
Borax is a water softener, as well. It has done no harm to any of the cycling or other tech fabrics we have washed with it.

I certainly would not use ammonia in a general wash, even though I have used bleach very occasionally on chamois pads in shorts... prior to starting to use Borax.
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Old 08-12-13, 09:54 AM
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Ammonia or white vinegar in the rinse cycle works well.I just use a couple gluggs out of the bottle,1/4 cup maybe.

White vinegar is used to clean coffee machines,it leaves little residue.
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Old 08-14-13, 06:00 AM
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I have used 3 different methods (listed in order of both effecttiveness and cost)
Vinegar (put it in a downy ball in the wash)
Ammonia (I put it in a spray bottle and wet the fabric and let dry in the sun then wash)
Lastly when all else fails and you have a super funk like the mothball smell on clothes that come from china.....Vodka. Buy the cheapest plastic bottle crap you can find and use a spray bottle and sun.
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