Detoxifying Clothing and Bedding: A Thorough Guide

By Marilee Nelson |

Detoxifying Clothing and Bedding: A Thorough Guide

Your clothes should smell fresh and clean with no fragrance. Instead, many people are wearing brand new clothes that have never been cleared of chemicals or clothing that has been washed with toxic laundry products and fabric softeners. Brand new clothes and clothes washed in conventional laundry products have chemical residues that are harmful to health and should be outgassed. After repeated washings our clothes become incorporated with the chemicals and dyes from the detergents. Since toxins can enter the body not only by inhalation through the respiratory tract, but also by absorption through the skin our bodies receive a double dose from these scented toxic laundry products. In addition your clothing may appear white and bright because of the chemical whiteners, yet they are a toxic waste by-product and a menace to your health. The synthetic fragrances may seem pleasant, but they are neurotoxic and are endocrine disruptors. Most people don’t get sick immediately by wearing the garments, but the absorption of these chemicals/metals consistently over the long term presents a potential for immune system depression and illness.

Also Read: 8 Tips For Transitioning to Non-Toxic Living

To detoxify clothing and sheets that are brand new or that have been washed in conventional toxic detergents, a detoxification procedure is necessary. Sleeping on sheets or wearing clothes that have been washed in conventional detergents contribute to the chemical load that the body has to detoxify. This is especially an issue when sleeping because at night when the immune system is supposed to rest and repair, it instead has to use its energy to detoxify chemicals from the Bedding & Mattresses and pajamas. The kidneys and liver have to work harder through the night instead of rejuvenate and repair. It may take several treatments to remove detergent residues especially if fabric softeners have been used. If clothes are contaminated with mold or pesticides, a more extensive procedure is needed.


Branch Basics Laundry Solution

Branch Basics - Oxygen Boost - booster and deodorizer

Baking Soda – available at grocery stores; can be used as a booster and deodorizer.

20 Mule Team Borax – available at grocery stores; can be used as a boost and for moldy or musty clothes. Borax kills mold. We only recommend the use of Borax if clothing is contaminated with mold and other methods have not worked. Double rinse clothes washed in Borax as some people experience skin irritation from this product.

Sodium Sesquicarbonatecan be bought in bulk at a chemical supply company in your city (Lab Safety Supply, Science Lab)

BOC (Biological Odor Control) by Medina – (1-830-426-3011)

BOC neutralizes mycotoxins (the metabolic byproducts of mold that many people react to.) It will not kill mold, but slows it down and reduces odors. Has no scent, must use with cold water. Medina does decontamination work all over the world. BOC is made up of algae (biological base of all their products) and is used in hydrocarbon degradation, chemical decontamination, VOC decontamination, etc.

Branch Basics Laundry Solution - premixed from the concentrate in refillable laundry bottle

Borax and BOC - use to decontaminate moldy or musty clothes New clothes and clothes that have been washed in conventional products need to be outgassed in the sun until there is no odor coming off of them.

Related Read: Essential Cleaning Tools for a Happy & Healthy Home




  • Hang clothes out in the sun. Turn them inside out to minimize fading. Lay out on flat surface if possible. This will help to outgas the chemicals from the clothes. Ideally, keep sunning until all smell is gone or almost gone. Don't underestimate the power of the sun. You can save wear and tear on your clothes and cut down the number of times you have to wash them if you partner with the sunshine. Note: Many times new clothes can be completely outgassed just by sunning
  • Take sheets or clothes and place in a big sink or top loading washing machine and cover with cold water or hot water if appropriate for the fabric. Let soak several hours, all day, or overnight with the following:
  • 1 capful Branch Basics Laundry Solution*
  • 2 scoops Oxygen Boost
If desired add one or more of the following to boost process
  • 1 – 2 small boxes baking soda - helps deodorize
  • ½ – 1 cup Borax - if clothes are moldy or musty (We only recommend the use of Borax if clothing is contaminated with mold and other methods have not worked. Double rinse clothes washed in Borax as some people experience skin irritation from this product.)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Sodium Sesquicarbonate Note: Using the baking soda and borax combination or Sodium Sesquicarbonate (bought in bulk) above is probably the most inexpensive way to go.
  • Wash and double rinse sheets or clothes in the morning (Note: after clothes and sheets have been detoxified, then overnight soaking is not necessary)
  • Repeat as necessary
If there remains a strong odor in the clothes, then use BOC:
  • 1 – 2 cups BOC – Soak overnight in cold water (hot water kills the enzyme action)
  • Wash in the morning with Branch Basics Laundry Solution and Oxygen Boost.
To decrease your exposure to toxic dryer sheets and fabric softeners, check out the benefits of wool dryer balls.


    • Fully detoxified clothes and Bedding & Mattresses will have no fragrance
    • It can take a long time to detoxify clothes fully, especially if fabric softeners have been used. Just keep washing and sunning them. Sunning is KEY!
    • For the Chemically Sensitive: To protect those recovering from illness from the fumes that may be generated when drying these clothes, ventilate the laundry room. Place fans facing out of nearest window (in the laundry room, if possible) to draw fumes out of the house. Do not have fans facing out of other areas of the home because these fans will draw air from the laundry room throughout the house.

    Take-Home Message

    IMPORTANT: If you previously washed your clothes, especially undergarments, in standard laundry detergent, we highly recommended that you wash them at least four consecutive times in the wash cycle before wearing them.

    • To get started with the Branch Basics products mentioned in this article and to learn more about all natural, human safe cleaning products, start here.
    • To detoxify your cleaning habits beyond the laundry room, try the Branch Basics Premium Starter Kit.


    Marilee Nelson

    Marilee Nelson

    Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.