Manufacturing new clothing includes the direct application of certain industrial chemicals to preserve, sterilize, disinfect against fungi, dye in different shades, tint, make flexible, retard mildew growth, or create the right size or fit.
Some of these chemicals include Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), phthalates, azo dye, nonylphenol ethoxylates, and formaldehyde. Labels that contain the words, ‘teflon’ or ‘gore-tax’ may point to the presence of PFAS.
Phthalates are generally identified to make substances like plastic flexible and durable. They have been found in jeans and make your Jeans smell.
Formaldehyde is also in most jeans today. This chemical is applied to jeans while they are still stocked in the warehouse so they stay longer.
If your jeans are marketed with a tag that says, ‘wrinkle-resistant, stain-free, shrink-proof, wash and wear, anticling’ or they have a strong chemical smell, your best guess is Formaldehyde.
Ways to get Chemical Smell Out of New Jeans
You’re reading this article because, like me, you’re worried and want to get rid of this smell on the new jeans that you desperately want to wear but can’t.
These steps I’m about to show you can also apply to old clothes with too much detergent smell or fragrance or mildew growth smells from leaving wet clothes or towels together in a hamper or laundry bag.
- Use a Washing Detergent
- Wash with Baking Soda
- Wash with White Vinegar
- Harness the Power of Sunlight
- Air Drying Method
- Use Borax to remove the chemical smell
- You can use Castile Soap too
- Use Oxygen Bleach
- Do not mix your jeans with other clothes
- Do not use hot water on your Jeans
You Obviously have to use a Washing Detergent
The first thing you will need for this process is a detergent obviously, because what’s laundry without detergents?
Choose and get a detergent without fragrance or one with a mild fragrance because using a harsh one can cause it to linger on some fabrics that are more sensitive to attracting those chemical smells than others.
So, remember to treat each cloth as you would treat distinct pieces because they are.
In using detergent, do not use too much of it with the hope that your jeans would clean better as the reverse is usually the case.
If you can, avoid synthetic chemical detergent that can slowly wear down your jeans and make them fade over time.
Instead, use ones made from vegetables and other natural ingredients.
Wash with Baking Soda
Baking soda will swiftly and softly dissolve dirt, debris, and odor from perspiration.
It will also neutralize the detergent’s fragrance and the new jeans’ smell. Baking soda acts as a deodorizer and cleanser.
Soak the new jeans and let them sit overnight. It will remove the tough Formaldehyde smells from your new jeans as well as be a boost to your detergent’s power.
Wash with White Vinegar
You probably have some vinegar stored somewhere in your kitchen because of its numerous uses.
Rinse those jeans in water that has white vinegar mixed in it. White vinegar helps to brighten and soften fabrics. It has a high acidity level that helps to fight and banish odors.
It also helps to seal in the dyes so you don’t have to bother about losing the color of your jeans.
It is, therefore, safe to use. You can rinse again in normal water when you’re done.
Harness the Power of Sunlight
Sunlight has a lot of good properties. It costs nothing and is readily available. You would notice that sun-dried clothes smell a lot better and freshened.
Get nature’s help in getting rid of that smell by leaving those jeans outside to dry.
Sunlight uses its UltraViolet rays to help clothes smell better and kill bacterial and fungal germs.
Avoid the direct and harsh sun, however, especially with colored clothing. It would bleach and strip the jeans of their colors, making it fade and wear out over time.
Air Drying Method
Tossing and turning your jeans in a spin cycle will stretch them beyond their normal elastic capacity and consequently wear them out over time.
Formaldehyde is a volatile compound that will readily evaporate when exposed to air long enough. So be sure to wring out excess water from your jeans and take them where they’d get lots of fresh air.
Air drying prevents the static cling of foreign substances on fabrics. It extends the lifetime of your clothes that would’ve been shortened in the dryer.
Remember that jeans take longer to dry so be sure they’re completely dry before taking them in so they don’t retain moisture that encourages damp mushy smells.
Use Borax to remove the chemical smell
Borax is easy to afford and good at removing fungi and chemical-based smells.
It is even used on tougher stains and odors than Formaldehyde. Borax is extremely alkaline, creating a base that fights stains and treats fabrics, neutralizing odors and preventing mildew growth.
Use it in the same way you would use baking soda to get odor-free jeans.
Remember that all fabrics are different and you would need to use them in small quantities to check how a small portion of your jeans reacts to it before dipping the whole of the jeans in the mixture.
Be sure to do this to each of your jeans.
You can use Castile Soap too
The castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) is a natural-based soap made with natural ingredients like castor, hemp, avocado, or coconut oils. It is non-toxic and biodegradable.
Castile soap is a natural deodorant that works even on the human body. It uses the laws of chemistry and chemical reactions to fight these chemical odors.
When combined with water, castile soap will react with and displace the chemical odors in the jean. It has a high concentration and is to be used in little quantity. Hand washing is mostly advised.
Don’t combine this with vinegar or lemon juice because the alkaline nature of the soap will react with the acidity of vinegar and lemon, leaving behind a white film and a strange smell.
The acidic powers of the vinegar or lemon would also cancel out the soap’s alkalinity, stripping it of its cleansing power and making it useless.
It would look like you just soaked your jeans in oil.
Use Oxygen Bleach
Do not confuse this with the regular Chlorine bleach. Unlike Chlorine bleach which is definitely a hardcore enemy to your jeans, Oxygen bleach will penetrate deep within every single cloth fiber and deep cleanse them from any chemical smell.
It brightens like traditional bleach, but without the damages and toxin release.
It will begin to react once mixed with water. The water molecules will begin to form powerful oxygen ions which will attack the stain molecules and destroy them.
It also contains odor-fighting enzymes which give you an amazing result afterward.
Do not mix your jeans with other clothes
Take care to avoid mixing these jeans with other clothes. Don’t put them in the wardrobe and don’t fold them into your cloth box. Your safe bet is to isolate them till they’re better.
This will prevent all your clothes from absorbing the bad odor and smelling like poop, which would be a total disaster.
Clothes with wool and cotton will more readily absorb bad smells than others so you may want to keep your scarves and sweaters far away.
Resist the tempting urge to spray more of your expensive perfume on those smelly jeans. Whatever makes you think spraying more perfume would cancel out the smell is wrong.
It’s usually a bad idea and doesn’t end well.
Choose natural-based soap and detergents over synthetic ones with chemical ingredients. There would be no reactions and they generally give better results.
Do not use hot water on your Jeans
Don’t ever use hot water on jeans. It causes shrinkage, decolorization, or an entire loss of color and would damage your jeans.
While duly following the steps, don’t use vinegar and baking soda in combination as they would react to each other and create a mess. Always use separately.
I’ve already explained why you can’t use vinegar or lemon with Castile soap.
You can rinse your clothes with a sizeable addition of some lemon juice to freshen the smell of your clothes.
Lemon juice is known to be an additive to most household cleaning agents because it leaves behind a sweet smell after use. Rinse again in normal water after you’re done and leave outside to dry.
Always take your jeans outside to dry. And if for any reason, like bad weather or a heavy downpour that would bring dust and more dirt on your jeans, you may need to dry your jeans inside, make sure they are kept where there’s a lot of air reaching them from outside.
When it’s safe again, take them out quickly.
Are Black Jeans More Likely to Smell?
Yes, black Jeans are more likely to smell because of the intensive chemical modifications made on the denim to accept and retain dye.
The color of black is generally not readily dyed, but it is first chemically composed and modified to make the jeans ready to accept the dye before it is dyed.
Also, black jeans have been dyed a number of times, over and over again, just to be black.
To also make the color stay, and not clear off in one wash, the manufacturers have to use really strong chemicals.
They generally require a great deal of dye and chemicals throughout the entire manufacturing process.
Black jeans go through rigorous finishing processes known as sanforization.
Sanforization is a process of fixing, cutting, shrinking, and stretching fabrics to increase the dimensional size and reduce how much the fabric stretches or shrinks after the first wash and subsequent washes.
They require more preservation, sterilizing, and disinfecting and those cloth-eating moths will have to be discouraged from coming anywhere close to their storage warehouse.
Because of all these processes black jeans pass through to become perfect, they are more likely to smell, even more than your regular light-colored jeans.
To remove smells from your black jeans, you will need to apply the aforementioned ways to get the chemical smell out of your jeans.
However, you may need to wash them again after the first trial. After washing, keep far away from direct sunlight.
Look for a shade instead, one with enough airway passage and space, and be sure they’re completely dry before sending them in.
How long does it take for chemicals to get out of Jeans if you Keep wearing them?
By correctly following the above-listed steps, you should be finally able to get that annoying smell of your new jeans for good.
But what if the smell is still there, on the jeans and you keep wearing them? How long will it take for them to get off?
Those smells do not easily go off on their own and would take 1 or 2 months of consistently wearing your black Jeans to wear off.
This is why we’ve carefully compiled this article. So, ignoring these steps and deciding to keep wearing your jeans till the smell wears off on its own is cool if you’re weird love the pungent smell that comes with them.
You probably also love that people avoid you and tell you that you smell bad. You’ve probably already braced yourself for some skin problems and irritations.
If you’re regularly active in your jeans, that is, you do a lot of activities that will make you sweat, whether it’s walking around, climbing, building and basically any kind of manual labor, your body will produce sweat and toxins that would cling to your clothes and mix up with the previous smell.
That would result in an emergency air-borne disaster. You could be fired and lose your social life.
The chemicals can be very harmful as they come in contact with your skin, leading to severe dermatitis, accompanied by itching and sensitivity.
Inhaling this smell is also hazardous to human respiratory health in the long run.
These smelly clothes would also mix with other clothes that would readily absorb the smell, multiplying your existing problems.
So, it’s never ideal to keep wearing your jeans till the chemicals wear off on their own.
Still can’t get this smell out of your new jeans?
If you’ve tried all the steps and still can’t get the bad smell off your jeans, it’s alright to go through the entire process and repeat it again.
Try the cleaning methods again
Because, for all we know, you could’ve been putting too much detergent, less baking soda or vinegar, not allowing the jeans to dry out completely under the right amount of air and sunlight, or something else.
So, don’t be afraid to do it again.
Take it to a professional dry cleaner
You could also give it to a professional dry cleaner. They are usually trained for this kind of problem and know what to do.
Just be sure he doesn’t use perchloroethylene. Perchloroethylene is a dry-cleaning chemical solvent with a sweet smell that removes stains and smells from all known fabrics.
That would react badly with the chemicals on your jeans, worsen everything and cause the smell to linger.
Spin in the dryer
You could also decide to spin your clothes in the dryer after washing them. But always put them out in the sun afterward.
They need all the sunlight and air they can get. Plus, the more fresh air the jeans are exposed to, the better the results.
Return the Jeans back
The last resort is to return those jeans to the store. As long as the store has a working Cloth Return Policy or is protected by guarantee, you’d end up happy and satisfied.
If the manufacturers are really after getting and retaining their customers, they’d put you first and be glad to help you swap or change them for better black jeans.