29 December 2008

The Perils of Thrifting

Naphthalene ( C10H8)

Recently I posted about my new red sweater and its faint scent of mothballs.

When I took the sweater off that day, I found my shirt, tie and undershirt, as well as the inside of my jacket, all reeked faintly of mothballs. Then I put the shirt in the laundry, and all the laundry smelled of it. Then I washed the sweater alone in cold water on the gentle cycle and laid it out to dry. Wetting the sweater only intensified the stench, and the next day the whole house reeked of Naphthalene (apparently that's the chemical that stinks so much). Fortunately it was unseasonably warm and we were able to open a few windows and air the place out. I put the sweater in a plastic bag and left it on the back porch until I could take it to the dry cleaners.

I live in the apartment where my grandparents lived when I was growing up. I can remember the closet smelling like this all the time. I'm all for bringing back certain elements of a bygone era, but this I can do without. How did the old folks stand the smell? Must have been masked by all that cigarette smoke, I guess.




9 comments:

Sartre said...

Funny description, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when they can't get the body odor out of Jerry's car. And I like the illustration.

Pigtown-Design said...

I've heard that you put it in a plastic bag with a cup of vinegar. somehow, the vinegar neutralizes the smells.

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Hope you can save the sweater! I really hate dry-cleaning-fluid smell. One of the reasons I love thrifted clothing is that it's inexpensive enough that I don't dry clean anything. If it says dry clean only I hand wash, and if it's ruined I'm only out a buck or two. I can only think of one item that shrank when I washed it though, so it wasn't ruined--just no longer fit!

Renovation Therapy said...

Just wanted to confirm that you're washing everything that you get from there (and keeping it quasi-quarantined) before you wear it. I know people are supposed to only donate clean clothes, but it doesn't always happen. I've noticed that in NYC all of the workers in the thrift stores wear gloves when handling the deliveries. I love in fear of bed bugs coming home from a "great find".

Giuseppe said...

Renovation,

I do wash my "finds", but I did cheat on this one. After all, it was a sweater, and I'll admit I was a little too excited to take it out for a spin. Serves me right I guess.

Marcellus said...

Haven't tried this, but it may help (Mad Men recommended):

http://www.valetmag.com/the-handbook/features/2009/31-days/day10-fight_vintage_funk.php

Giuseppe said...

Mercellus,

I've heard of that before. Having worked for years in liquor stores, its one of the excuses drunken housewives use for buying vodka by the pint.

If the costume designer of Mad Men likes it, I'm sure there's something to it. I'll bet she cleans her fair share of mthbally old suits.

Giuseppe said...

Mercellus,

I've heard of that before. Having worked for years in liquor stores, its one of the excuses drunken housewives use for buying vodka by the pint.

If the costume designer of Mad Men likes it, I'm sure there's something to it. I'll bet she cleans her fair share of mthbally old suits.

Giuseppe said...

Mercellus,

I've heard of that before. Having worked for years in liquor stores, its one of the excuses drunken housewives use for buying vodka by the pint.

If the costume designer of Mad Men likes it, I'm sure there's something to it. I'll bet she cleans her fair share of mthbally old suits.