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Forum > Miscellaneous > coke in the wash ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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coke in the wash
didn't do anything to my new coveralls
JeannieR
JeannieR  Friend of PR
Michigan USA
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Date: 4/15/12 7:03 PM

I had read about using coke in the wash to get fabrics soft here on patternreview. Didn't seem do anything on these things.

I had high hopes on softening up these covealls I have to wear at work.

The ones I'm wearing are so old ( and soft) and too small and are getting wear through holes.

I got new ones a size bigger, but no way can I wear them with my skin sensitivities. And I think they are probaly chemicaly treated.

I've been bringing my coveralls home for over 20yrs and washing them. They would break me out in blisters through clothing worn underneigh.

Help! any ideas?

Jeannie
justgail

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Date: 4/15/12 7:47 PM

I must admit I've never heard of coke to soften fabric, just remove grease from the driveway.

The only thing I can think of is to soak them in a strong fabric softener solution for a while, then wash well. If you are sensitive to chemicals, perhaps a good vinegar soak after would remove any fabric softener or other chemical residue left?

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Mandolin82
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Mandolin82  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/15/12 8:59 PM

When dyeing fabric one thing that we do to remove finishes, etc. is to wash them with a little (like 1 - 2 tsp) soda ash. You could try that, maybe more than once, then wash again to make sure the soda ash is all gone. THat would help remove the finishes, but probably wouldn't do anything to soften it.

You can buy soda ash at the hardware store se PhUp (used in pools). I believe washing soda is a much less concentrated form.

As for the softening them up part, I think tumbling in the dryer a lot, maybe with tennis balls, might help. To artificially age jeans, or to make "sand washed silk" people sometimes use sandpaper on the fabric. Its a bit drastic, but you might try that along with pounding on stiff seams with a hammer.

Susan
Julia C
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Julia C  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/15/12 10:01 PM

I did not get a lot of effect on very stiff denim with coke either. I eventually used a couple of cups of salt for 5 yds with good results. I believe it was wash number 6 or so before I tried the salt.
JenSews2
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Date: 4/16/12 1:28 AM

Are you more concerned with the chemicals or the softness? I would think the chemicals would come out with some Charlie's Soap and a few washes as we have to do with my super-sensitive son's clothes before he wears them. U would also add vinegar to the rinse cycle (or the bleach dispenser) to help with the chemical removal.

The softness I think only comes with wear and years of washing. So, while you are de-chemical-ing them with a few (or several) washes, I would add large bulky items (shoes, tennis balls, etc) to the dryer to beat the coveralls up as the dry and speed along the wear process.

That said, some fabrics just DO NOT soften up. Take Dickies shorts for instance. They stand up on their own when first purchased, but a dozen or two washes only BARELY softens them up. They just have stiff fabric. I figured a few wearings from a very active son would do them in, but they are still going strong. Really, I want to roll them up in a ball and beat them with a rubber mallet to help break up the fibers, but he doesn't care much, so I haven't tried. It might help for you though if you get desperate. Best of luck!

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NhiHuynh
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Date: 4/16/12 4:30 AM

Sometimes the can of coke softens the fabric beautifully. When it doesn't I fill the drum with enough water to cover the fabric, pour in the coke and let it soak for a few hours. Then run the wash. I have a toploader. Not sure if this can be done for a front loader.

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justgail

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Date: 4/16/12 11:05 AM

I realize that it's probably the phos(mumblemumblesomething) acid that is supposed to do the softening, but does it matter if it's regular or diet coke?

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NhiHuynh
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In reply to justgail

Date: 4/16/12 12:12 PM

I've used Coke Zero so Diet Coke should work.

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