How to Get Smell Out of Clothes

When odor develops within your clothes, quick measures need to be taken to neutralize the smell.  No one wants to be the “smelly guy”, and unless you action to remedy this the funk, people may associate this embarrassing label with you.


Several smells can develop within clothes, and this guide will work to explore them while providing unique solutions on a case by case basis.  By using the following below tips, you will be able to increase your odds of eliminating your particular odor.


Preventative Solutions

There are preventative steps to ensure that a load of laundry is properly cleaned and removed of any odors.  The following two steps will help in ensuring that this happens.


1 Wash Immediately

Once an odor develops within your clothing, it is important for you to wash them as soon as possible.  If the clothes are not cleaned shortly after an odor develops, they can worsen and become more difficult to remove.


2 Don’t Leave in Washing Machine

When clothes are left to sit within the washing machine too long they have the potential to develop a pervasive mildew odor.


Odor Removal Solutions

Once odors have developed within clothing there are several solutions to give a load of laundry and extra boost.  These solutions will go a long ways in helping you freshen your clothing.


1 Hot Water

Running your washer on it’s hottest setting that your clothing will allow will help in deodorizing clothing.  The hot water works by opening the fiber within the clothing to ensure that the detergent wipes out the odor.  Be careful doing this with delicate clothing as this can potentially shrink some items of clothing.


2 Wash Again

When the first load of laundry has not been effective at removing the odor, running it through the wash a second time can be all you need to eliminate the smell.  If at first you don’t succeed, wash and wash again.


3 White Vinegar

This household solution works wonders at getting deep down within clothing fiber to neutralize odors.  Measure one cup of white vinegar and add it into a normal detergent wash.   As an added benefit, the vinegar will help in making the clothing softer.


4 Baking Soda

This kitchen ingredient is a fantastic solution to add and extra kick to your wash.  Measure a half cup of baking soda and add within you normal detergent wash.  The baking soda will work by absorbing much of the unwanted odors and will also help make your whites whiter.


Drying Odor Solutions

There are steps that can be taken to help in removing residual odors within the drying process.


1 Hang Dry

For light clothing that dries quickly, hanging clothing on a clothes line is the best solution.  The UV rays, fresh air and open space all help in neutralizing odors.  Be careful hanging anything that will not dry within 24 hours, as this may lead to mildew odor developing within the fiber.


2 Fabric Softener

For heavier clothing, place within the dryer and include 2-3 sheets of fabric softener.  The subtle scent will help in removing any residual odors that were not eliminated within the washing process.


Solutions Without Washing

Several compounds exist that work well at removing odors from clothing without washing.


1 Vodka

Fill a spray bottle with vodka and heavily mist down the entire article of clothing.  For an added effect, hang the clothing outside to air dry.  As the vodka evaporates, much of the odor will be swept away.


2 Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice works great at cutting through fabric surface odors on clothing that cannot be washed. Squeeze 3 teaspoons of lemon juice within a cup of water and pour formula within a spray bottle.  Mist down the entire article of clothing and hang outside to air dry.


3 Activated Charcoal

Though slow, activated charcoal is effective at absorbing odors from clothing.  Place several activated charcoal briquettes within an old pair of nylon leggings.  Place the nylon enclosed briquettes and clothing with a sealed trash bag and allow the items to sit for 5-7 days.  After a week has passed, remove the freshened clothing.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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