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My mom has dementia and we have hospice coming in and tending to her 5 days a week. She is getting plenty of bathes but her clothes and room still smells. Washing her laundry now has the washer and dryer smelling as well. Everything I wash now smells like her. I have tried bleach and other cleaners but I can't stand the smell anymore. Need advice.

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I swear by using white vinegar and baking soda along with laundry soap to get rid of body odors. I clean with a recipe of half white vinegar, half water and the juice of a fresh lemon. Keep a spray bottle of this for quick clean ups. If soiled clothes got to the dryer with a bad odor unfortunately it gets baked in. Some clothes may have to be thrown out.
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Reply to InFamilyService
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haileybug Sep 20, 2020
I will have to try this. (soon) I love "clean."
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Mom's house reeks. She'd had so many overflows with her cath bag on her recliner, and she'd just put a dry towel and another blanket on it. Her carpet was 22 years old and it took all 4 of us kids to tell YB he HAD to replace it--when he ripped out the carpet, the padding was ruined with urine and other spills. At some point, you cannot clean carpet well enough.

When she used to let me clean the first thing I did was open all the windows (which had not been open since the LAST time I'd cleaned). Sadly, the smells (primarily of cooking fat and urine) has simply saturated the walls and floors and clothes. Replacing the floor with wood laminate helped a lot. But the 'TV room' still had carpet. Last time I cleaned it, the water I pulled out of it was thick and black--I do not know how she got it so dirty.

She shares w/d with SIL. SIL runs vinegar and pet urine remover through the machine, but the dryer still has a smell of urine. Mom can't smell it.

Cleaning, deep cleaning is your best bet. I love bleach and use it a lot. Also vacuuming fabric surfaces on the reg. Smells can get into everything. She has waaaay too much 'stuff' in her place and it all smells. She's 'left me' a bedroom set, which, frankly, I won't take b/c although it's lovely, it smells so awful.

One weird thing I discovered that I use at home is a few crumpled up sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the trash. Kills the smell of the trash and buys you and extra day. I'd do this in mom's 'diaper pail' but she'd get mad, so I leave well enough alone.

On the flip side, my MIL's house smells fantastic. She has it cleaned every week, but there is literally NO bad smell there. She opens windows every day and bleaches her bathrooms and gets her trash out pronto. She is immaculate in her personal hygiene and I think that is a big factor.

Both my Grandmothers lived alone into their 90's. Their places smelled not just clean, but 'sweetly clean'. One gma made her own soap! and her place was so sweet. The other employed a maid. I do not know why mom's place smells so awful and their places were sweet and clean.
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Sendhelp Sep 21, 2020
Always good to hear your take on things, Midkid!
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If one of the sources of the smell is from incontinence, then use a product that is meant to get rid of pet urine. I have the caregivers splash a bit in with the laundry soap. It makes all the difference. We are using Nature's Miracle, but other brands may work too.
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Tynagh Sep 23, 2020
Laura, I use Nature's Miracle as well! It really works.
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I'm sorry...I just saw this and wickedly thought...get rid of the old people...sorry...LOL. Seriously would say I'd open windows while the weather is holding, lay out some bowls of baking soda (seriously, it works for other things). I'd also get some of those packets for cleaning the interior of the washing machine...I think the one called Affresh has the good housekeeping seal...Don't know what to do for the dryer, but I'd google the question for ideas.
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zumapal Sep 20, 2020
She recently got a hospital bed and I burned her old mattresses. Still have smells. Took all the carpet out of the house and had vinyl floors Installed throughout the house a few years ago. I ordered some Odoban because I saw on the Internet that it will help. I truly hope that with all the great advice that everyone has provided that I will find one that will make my sensitive nose happy.
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Try a cup of white vinegar in the wash cycle. It’s one of the cheapest solutions. Great on removing urine smells too.
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"Nonenal, a chemical compound that people develop as they age, is the culprit behind the smell, which has been described by the National Institutes of Health as an “unpleasant greasy and grassy odor.” It is often hard to self-detect, but will linger on fabric such as shirt collars and pillow cases. Nonenal odors thrive in confined spaces"

I used a mild deodorant soap on Mom. Vinegar may help but you may want to try drying outside. Urine smells tend to come back when dried in a dryer. Vinegar smell will dissipate. I have done the vinegar in a bowl and it works. I saw a difference in just a couple of hours. I was using Arm and Hammer detergent thinking the baking soda in it would help but it didn't. Went back to Tide. I used the scent boosters but found it was too much "scent".
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Try Bamboo Charcoal. It comes in odor absorbing bags and also can be found in soaps. It's especially good for "old lady smell", which as Joann said, has something to do with chemicals on the skin of some elderly women and isn't a result of bad hygiene. (Although opening the windows is always a good idea!)
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I don't have that problem but I did have a problem with kitchen towels retaining a strong oily smell. I tried everything to no avail. My son who works in the food industry gave me a tip that worked for that. You could try it and see if it works. Very simple: when washing use a slightly less amount of detergent but throw in a dishwasher pod. Yep, 1 dishwasher pod. It worked and my towels are now fresh and no longer retains that oily smell. Give it a try and see if that works. For the house smell I have no idea, sorry.
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zumapal Sep 20, 2020
Will try this next time I wash her clothes
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You wil find info on the soap with persimmon if you Google "soap for old people's odor." The idea is if the person with the odor uses the soap, then clothes, bedding, etc. won't get the odor, so that in the future they won't need much special cleaning.
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zumapal Sep 20, 2020
I have read this and currently have some bamboo charcoal and persimmon soap on order. Hope it works
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Someone else suggested Mary Hunt's everydaycheapskate.com website. One product I learned about from her is Nok-Out, or its hospital-grade version, snIper. We had a cat spray in our house -- you know how awful that is! I followed the directions and just as promised the smell got worse because the enzymes were interacting. Sprayed again a day later and boom, no more odor. I keep a gallon jug on hand all the time and use it for my husband's pillow and recliner. And thanks to Mary, I also keep a bottle of vinegar next to the wash machine for those stinky loads of laundry, especially the towels. I don't like fake scents -- candles, sprays, etc because they are just chemicals you are adding to your environment that only change the smell, rather than removing it.
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