Eli5: No matter how many times I wash my old jumper, it still smells “old”, why is that?

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The same goes for any other fabric item. After a few years, they don’t seem to retain any nice smells from washing.

In: Other
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What materials are they made from? The fibers are either impregnated with an odor-causing agent or might even be decaying.

What materials are they made from? The fibers are either impregnated with an odor-causing agent or might even be decaying.

Sounds like you might have mould or mildew.
Get a plastic bag with a box of bicarb of soda/ baking soda and coat the jumper with the powder like you would chicken wings. Turn it inside out and lay it out in direct sunlight 1 day each side. Shake the powder off and wash in eucalyptus wool wash.
Or.
Turn inside out and Soak jumper in Milton baby bottle sterilizer for a day and air dry in direct sunlight for mould. Then wash as usual- always taking care to dry quickly in sunlight.
Smell you later.