Formaldehyde in no-iron shirts
While formaldehyde typically plays an important role in the apparel industry by protecting clothes and keeping them free from wrinkles, stains and static electricity, exposing yourself to formaldehyde-treated fabrics can also have a considerable impact. Formaldehyde may also be present in some synthetic-treated clothing, such as shirts. The compounds are commonly used to protect garment materials, prevent wrinkles, slow mold growth and improve stain resistance and color fastness.
However, despite their many useful uses, the formaldehyde present in clothing may be harmful to skin conditions and sensitive individuals.
How to avoid formaldehyde
The best option is to avoid fabrics with "non-ironing" or "wrinkle-resistant" properties. By choosing organic clothing brands, we choose to avoid this mess by not using chemical resins to make them. You will, however, have to learn how to iron your shirts. This may be easier than the steps we outline below for removing formaldehyde from clothing.
How to remove formaldehyde from non-iron shirts
If, like us, you experience skin irritation and discomfort after coming into contact with formaldehyde treated clothing, try these 4 ways to effectively remove formaldehyde from your clothes.
1. Dry your non-iron shirts
2. Soak your no-iron shirts in baking soda
Soak your shirts in baking soda for a few hours or a day before washing. It is more practical to soak, wash, dry and repeat the cycle several times in one day before carrying than to soak the shirt directly for several days. Baking soda is hardly alkaline and has a pH value of 9 to 11, which effectively neutralizes acidic fumes.
3. Use white vinegar
After soaking the shirt, start the wash cycle. Later, after the water has been filled again, pause the machine before it starts the rinse cycle. Add a cup of distilled white vinegar to remove alkali residue. Vinegar is acidic and effectively neutralizes the alkali. Together with baking soda, these two liquids stabilize and eliminate large amounts of chemical residue. Allow the shirt to soak in white vinegar and water for one hour before resuming the rinse cycle.
4. Dry your shirts outdoors
Try drying your clothes in the sunlight so they don't dry out. Remember, however, that the sun's rays may remove damaging streaks and stains if you don't rinse your shirts properly. If you use a dryer, set it to a low temperature, as too high a temperature can trigger remaining odors, which "cure" into the material by fusing them with the fibers and dyes.
Repeat this method. Each wash and air dry will reduce the presence of formaldehyde. Multiple attempts may be required, especially if you are sensitive to the smell.