Friday, October 6, 2017

Distilled white vinegar for the win

It seems every time I post about dancewear it turns into a rant.

For those who may not be caught up, I've been trying to clean a favorite shirt I often wore to ballet classes. It's an UnderArmor shirt intended to be worn in athletic activities. Despite several machine-washings and air-dryings, an ammonia odor would develop every time I wore it to class, but only after I sweated in it for more than about 30 minutes. That translates to a bit more than half-way through barre.

After trying and failing to kill off the ammonia smell with borax, I soaked this shirt in distilled white vinegar. I'd planned on leaving it in the vinegar for a couple of hours then rinsing it out, but I'm a bit brain-dead after class and forgot all about it until I got up the next morning. I then immediately washed it with a small load of stuff that wouldn't be damaged by the vinegar. It smelled fine coming out of the wash, but it smelled fine after the borax treatment too.

Yesterday morning, as I collected dancewear for last night class, I stopped to think whether I wanted to try this shirt again. I decided I did, and put it in my bag along with another freshly-washed shirt. During class I did what a local ad amusingly calls a "smellfie" -- a mashup between "smell" and "selfie" -- between exercises. After about 15 minutes there was a trace of a vinegar smell and I was worried I'd have to change shirts, but then that smell went away (or I became insensitive to it). Even after the end of barre there was no ammonia odor, and that's a smell you definitely don't become insensitive to. I continued wearing it through the rest of class and even at the end it smelled fine to me.

I'm going to declare the distilled white vinegar a success!

So where's the rant? Don't fret, here it comes.

I have plenty of shirts I can wear to class, but I only have two pairs of shorts (don't ask me why a single garment is a "pair"). For a long time I wore primarily footed tights, but of late I've been wearing shorts and socks. Having two pairs worked when I was taking one or two classes a week, but now that I'm regularly taking three a week it's causing some issues.

My much loved Capezio CA222s disappeared some time ago, and are no longer available. My current shorts are BodyWrappers style M195 which, of course, are no longer available. See a trend here? I stopped into the dancewear store near MYB last Tuesday evening and found they've reduced their mens dancewear section to a rack shorter than the span of my arms. The BodyWrappers M195 seem to have been replaced by style M196, but one of the online stores I've used in the past report them as out of stock, and another reports them as unavailable until November.

I'm getting a bit cranky about this. I understand that men make up a tiny fraction of the ballet dancer population, but it'd be nice if I could find basic dancewear in stock. Is that too much to ask?


  1. I have a leotard with a similar issue that I just wore for the first time in a while -- I felt like I smelled like a cat's litter box and glanced around to see if anyone noticed. I will try your ideas. BTW- I sadly won't see you in class for a while -- I have tendonitis :(.

    1. If you think a cat may have gotten to your leotard, try Nature's Miracle cleaner on it. It contains enzymes designed to remove that type of odor. Otherwise, give distilled white vinegar a try and let me know if it works for you.

      You've been out of class for a while now. Is the tendonitis getting any better? I know a good local podiatrist who isn't surgery-happy, and an excellent trigger-point therapist.

  2. Sadly, I don't even have a cat! I will try soaking it in vinegar and then laundering it and then see what happens.

    I was in Julie's Beg. II class 2 Tuesdays (morning) ago, last Sunday (a week ago) and last Tuesday morning -- after 4 weeks off but I probably didn't stay off it long enough. I saw an orthopedist for an X-ray (make sure no bone chips) and confirmed what I dreaded - tendonitis. Mild but not fully healed after 4 weeks so I am heating it, stretching it, have specific exercises and PT. No surgery luckily. I may email you for the podiatrist and trigger-point therapist.

    1. Here, I'll save you the electrons:

      Dr. Howard G. Osterman

      Michele Macomber, MTPT, LMT


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