A Smelly Down Coat Fix?

Discussion in 'Menswear Advice' started by Rixon, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    Hello SF!

    I have a Brunello Cucinelli Down Parka, Milano-style, that has recently developed a musty / musky smell to it. If anyone has been to an Antique Market in the Middle East, I'd compare the smell to that. I have of course done some research about how to remove the oder that I can only imagine it is bacteria. I got it used and perhaps before receiving it-it was stored in a moist environment.

    Freezing for a few days, didn't work
    Baking Soda Sprinkle for a few days, nothing
    Dry Cleaning, expensive and did nothing with the smell
    Fabreeze x2 and air out on the balcony for a few days, removed 92% of the smell! [​IMG]

    Yet, I am left with the offending 8%. As if I chose the worst cologne, ever. [​IMG]

    It is made of Nylon (shell and interior), Cashmere parts (Inside pockets), and Down Insulation. I'm considering using a down wash I use for my Arcteryx, but I'm uncertain if that's safe. I've read suggestions on vinegar and vodka and didn't know how to feel about that.

    Thoughts, Suggestions, Advice for saving the item?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  2. ThomGault

    ThomGault Senior member

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    Perhaps try another round of fabreeze/airing it out?
     


  3. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    I actually did without much improvement. Maybe a 3rd and 4th round is the answer.
     


  4. stubloom

    stubloom Senior member

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    When it comes to musty smells on a nylon/cashmere/down-filled coat, there are a number of interrelated issues to consider:

    1. Oil-based and water-based stains

    The vast majority of stains fall into one of two categories: oil-based stains and water-based stains.

    Oil-based stains are stains such as butter, salad dressing, steak juice, body oil, creams and lotions.

    To remove an oil-based stain, the garment must be pre-spotted/flushed with steam and completely hang dried. Prior to being dry cleaned.

    Dry cleaning should emulsify or dissolve the residue of the oil or grease stain that hasn’t been flushed out with steam during pre-spotting.

    About 10% of all visible stains a cleaner encounters are oil-based stains.

    Water-based stains are stains such as soda, juice, champagne and perspiration.

    To remove a water- based stain, the garment must be pre-spotted/ flushed with steam and completely hang dried, and/or wet cleaned and completely hang dried. Prior to being dry cleaned.

    About 90% of all visible stains a cleaner encounters are water-based stains.

    And here’s where the problem arises.

    You can dry clean a garment with a water-based stain such as perspiration as many times as you wish. More often than not, that stain won’t “move” with dry cleaning alone.

    Conversely, you can wet clean a garment with a oil-based stain as many times as you wish. More often than not, that stain won’t “move” with wet cleaning alone.

    You've already dry cleaned the coat. So, in all probability, any smells related to body oils have been removed.

    That leaves WATER-BASED STAINS, most likely PERSPIRATION. And, in all probability, the only way to remove the mustiness is through WET CLEANING.

    Learn more here: Why your dry cleaned garments smell of perspiration when returned by your dry cleaner

    Link: http://ravefabricare.com/wp-content...-Why-do-your-dry-cleaned-garments-01-SING.pdf

    Learn more here: Wet Cleaning

    Link: http://ravefabricare.com/services/wet-cleaning/


    2. High quality down should never be dry cleaned

    When you buy a garment that contains down, you are primarily paying for the outer fabric, construction and the quality of the fill – the down.

    The quality of the down is largely determined by the fill power or loft of the down (i.e., the ability of down to puff up, capture pockets of air and have that air heated by body heat....that's how down keeps you warm).

    Fill power is, in turn, largely determined by the size of the down clusters or individual pieces of down (there could be tens of thousands of down clusters in that coat).

    Each down cluster has thousands of filaments (think: fibers) radiating out in all directions from a center point (think: head of a pin). Each of these filaments are coated with minute particles of oil. The oil on the filaments give the filaments their structure or “body”. And “body” gives down, amongst other things, it’s wonderful ability to loft after it’s been compressed and released.

    And what is the primary function of a dry cleaning solvent or fluid?

    It’s to dissolve or emulsify greases and oils.

    Fact is, water and detergents don’t come close to matching the oil and grease dissolving properties of all relatively aggressive dry cleaning solvents.

    So now that you’ve dry cleaned your down coat, what happens to the oil particles on the filaments of each down cluster?

    The oil dissolves.

    And what happens when the oil dissolves?

    The down clusters loose their structure or “body” – their ability to loft – and your down coat looses it’s functional and monetary value.

    In other words, you're paying the dry cleaner to knowingly destroy the down in your down coat!

    While the link provided below relates to down bed pillows the same principle applies to down-filled coats.

    Learn more here:

    Link: http://ravefabricare.com/wp-content...on-papers-Don-t-Dry-Clean-Your-Pillows-05.pdf


    3. Fabreze is ineffective (Read: useless)

    Fabreze masks the odor. TEMPORARILY.

    Then, as the masking "power" of the product dissipates, you're back to square one. Furthermore, Fabreeze contains some nasty chemicals not even listed as ingredients.

    You need to eliminate the problem, not cover it up temporarily.


    4. Freezing is ineffective (Read: useless)

    See (3) above


    RECOMMENDATION


    You should find a wet cleaner who can handle all the elements of the coat (nylon, cashmere, down).
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017


  5. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    That was fantastically informative, Thanks! I had not considered the oils on down and that's unfortunate. The garment said dryclean only with certain products not to be used in the process. Hopefully one cycle wont affect the jacket too much. I guess I also thought that the Fabreeze and Freezing might be killing something that's causing the smell. I do have gentle cleaners for down coats.

    I had not heard of Wet Cleaners, but I'll look it up now to see if there are any around. Otherwise, I'll just try it myself.

    Thanks for the post,
    - Rixon
     


  6. breakaway01

    breakaway01 Senior member

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    Rave Fabricare is very well regarded. You might consider sending your coat to them. Normally for a down/nylon garment I'd wet clean with a detergent formulated for down and machine dry but I'm not sure what that'll do to the cashmere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017


  7. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    Thanks, I'll certainly take a look at it. I had the same concern with the cashmere.
     


  8. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    Rixon, I think you'd be safe to wash it yourself. I would suggest washing it on a gentle cycle with cold water with mild laundry soap or use the soap you already have for down coats and run the rinse cycle 3-4 times. The one thing I would worry about is the feathers clumping, which tends to happen when down gets wet. To avoid this, you may need to take the jacket out of the machine between rinses to shake out.

    To dry, I would use the dryer, though would periodically take the jacket out and shake it a bit to keep the feathers from clumping. And be sure that it's dried completely before calling it a day, otherwise the smell may be worse than when you began.

    Happy cleaning.
     


  9. MenswearBabe

    MenswearBabe Active Member

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  10. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    Thanks, I'll give this a shot today. I would not have thought 3-4 cycles, but I'll give it a shot!

    Best,
     


  11. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    You are welcome. I have had the same issue.

    Three to four rinses just to be sure you have the detergent out, as any residue will damage the down.

    Looking forward to an update!
     


  12. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    Okay, so after a lot of work I did the washing as instructed and it didn't work. I then tried washing it again, but leaving it in the gentle down detergent for the day before rinsing. I then did some research and tried a different detergent. On one side, the jacket is super soft and still fluffed up without any issues. On the other, the smell remains around 80% of what it was. [​IMG]
     


  13. Fallow

    Fallow Member

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    Glad to hear that the jacket is soft and properly fluffed, though sorry to hear that the odour remains.

    I'd like to think I am a skilful cleaner but this one's got me stumped.
     


  14. MenswearBabe

    MenswearBabe Active Member

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    Get it ozonated. If ozone removes years of built up cigarette smoke in a car with no trace, it can fix your jacket.
     


  15. Rixon

    Rixon Senior member

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    Thanks, I'll go give it a shot. This BC jacket is turning into a series of lessons and experience in dealing with down feathers.
     


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