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Originally published Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 7:03 PM

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Cheap ways to rid clothes of odors

Fix it: Tips on removing odors from clothing.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis

Q: I buy most of my clothing from thrift and consignment stores. These clothes have a sickly, perfume-y odor that doesn't come out until I've washed them at least three times. Is there anything I can do to remove the odor without washing the clothes so much?

A: The best way to remove these kinds of odors is a process that professionals use called "ozone generation," says Duane Schumann, production manager for Treasured Garment Restoration in Stillwater, Ohio.

"An ozone generator is a machine that creates a third molecule of oxygen, which basically suffocates any living organisms that create odors," he said.

This service runs about $15 to $30 per garment, but Schumann shared cheaper alternatives you can try at home:

• Hang your clothes in a confined area, such as a closet, with the rinds of a few lemons on a plate. The rinds will work as a sponge to absorb the odor. The process takes up to a week, depending on the severity of the smell. You might have to replace the rinds with fresh ones halfway through.

• Air out your garments in direct sunlight on a sunny day. The ultraviolet light will kill the bacteria, but beware — sun also can cause bright colors to fade.

• Use air and fabric deodorizers such as Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator.

• Wash clothes in regular detergent and rinse once. Add a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.

Fix It is an occasional feature. Send questions to Sorry, no personal replies.

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