Since my Mom passed I now have all her clothes and have been trying to get this odor out of them. It's on everything, even socks.
Only thing I can think of is Mom used a detergent that had a heavy scent, then used a different scented fabric softener, thus it created a strange smell, like a science project gone bad. Being she was in her 90's she probably couldn't smell it, neither could my Dad.
Now that I think of it, for the past 6 years Mom would give me the grocery order and the same detergent and softener was always on the list. So that means more than 6+ years of using the same products. Any magic potions out there?