|High Heel Trouser by |
White House Black Market
The pants didn't smell so bad when I bought them. They did have an odor but I was sure that after I washed them they would be fine. I was wrong, really wrong. Now not only do my new jeans smell 10 times worse than before the wash, the rest of my clothes picked up a bit of the stink too.
I was still pretty sure I could fix this problem. I soaked the new pants in the washing machine with Borax and vinegar overnight. In the morning I washed them twice to get all the soap out. Guess what? They still stank just as bad as they did before I soaked them!
So I soaked them overnight again. Same result, smelly pants. Actually there was a significant change to the pants after the first wash, they shrank. They would still fit fine, if I could actually wear them, but they can no longer be accurately called a "High Heel Trouser".
So what's the deal? Why do my new pants smell so bad and is there anything I can do about it? The answers appears to be; formaldehyde and probably not. I can't say for sure that White House Black Market items are finished with formaldehyde but it seems the most likely answer to my current stinky pants situation. The shirt I bought at the same time does not appear to have any odor, but I haven't worn or washed it yet.
Why do clothing manufactures feel the need to add chemicals to our cloths? Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and a potent allergen. Clothing manufactures often use formaldehyde-based resins as a finish to make clothing items more durable, more wrinkle-resistant, color-proof and stain-resistant. In short, they are meeting the demand for convenience. Convenient is not a word I would use to describe the experience I am having.
In researching how to fix my smelly pants I learned that #1: I did the right thing with Borax and vinegar, #2: The formaldehyde smell can be lessened but the chemical can not be completely removed from clothing regardless of time and the numbers of washing.
Bummer, I won't be wearing these pants to any job interviews! Actually I don't think I will be wearing them at all, I can hardly stand within five feet of them. Guess it is time to find out what White House Black Market's return policy is.
Read more about what is used in the manufacturing of clothing and household products in this New York Times article - When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes