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Removing Body Odor Smell From Clothing

Category Clothing
This guide is about removing body odor smell from clothing. A stubborn sweat scent can linger in clothing even after laundering.
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December 11, 20160 found this helpful

A man smelling his underarms in a white dress shirt.

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This is kinda embarrassing, but my husband's shirts, in the armpits, are very stinky even after I wash them (he's not, just the armpits of the shirts). This is a guide about shirts with stinky underarms after washing.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 20, 2009

My 14 year old daughter has terrible BO. I just found a bunch of t-shirts that have been sitting in a pile for a long time. Most of them are black. I washed them with regular Tide detergent and they still stink terribly. Does anyone have any laundering advice? Will the vinegar take the black color out of these clothes? I need help. I have never had a BO problem, so I am at a loss. Thank you.

Kelly from Victoria, BC

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March 20, 20090 found this helpful
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The vinegar will NOT take the black out. My gram has used vinegar on my gramp's black pants for years and she says the vinegar actually keeps them black longer. As far as the smell, switch the vinegar to lemon juice. If you can't line dry, try not using dryer sheets because sometimes the scented sheets can smell sour. If you do use dryer sheets, make sure they are the same scent as the detergent.

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March 21, 20090 found this helpful
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Ditto on the baking soda. I use about a half a cup along with my regular detergent and it really does the trick. A bit of detergent and baking soda in a presoak also helps. Borax is great for odors too, though you might check for color fastness first.

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March 22, 20090 found this helpful
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Ammonia does take the color out of some materials. I used it on my kelly green bathroom towels, and now they are an olive color. DO NOT use ammonia on your black things. Baking soda should do the trick. Ammonia will take the smell out very well, but it does cause color fading, and don't believe anyone who says it does not. It is not as bad as bleach, but it will. Baking soda is much milder.

I have heard that vinegar in the rinse also works, but I have never tried it. Just don't use vinegar with ammonia or baking soda, as they neutralize each other, and all you will have is salt water.

Does your daughter have problem perspiration as well as BO? My sons did. One uses Mitchum as it works better than all the other brands, and another had to use a product called Drysol. Ask your pharmasist for advice.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 7, 2010

My husband works outside a lot and sweats. I wash his jeans and they still have a faint smell of sweat. I have a front load washing machine, so I can't just add something to the rinse cycle. Anyone have any suggestions to get his jeans smelling fresh in a front load washer?

By Tara from NC

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August 7, 20100 found this helpful
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I agree with the poster who said to use one cup of white vinegar. I have a top loader, and not sure how well a front loader soaks, when we have smelly laundry, I fill up the washer, and put the vinegar in, then let the clothes soak over night, then spin that water out, then wash as regular. If your front loader won't let you soak well enough, try putting the jeans in a five gallon bucket filled with water, and about a half cup vinegar.

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August 11, 20100 found this helpful
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Baking soda mixed in with the detergent or borax and detergent works wonders, also. I do the laundry for my mom and sister who are both in a nursing home and there are accidents and this totally takes out all of the smell and leaves them fresh smelling. I also have a front loader. Good luck!

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August 11, 20100 found this helpful
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Do you have a Sam's Club near you, and are you a member? Sam's sells a deoderizer called Odoban. It works for laundry, scrubbing floors, cleaning almost any surface. I have a front loader also and I just put a little in with the soap and let it go. The clothes come out smelling so good. Also, I saw an episode of Myth Busters that said vodka gets the smoke smell out of laundry. I would think if it works for smoke it would work for sweat.

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October 3, 20130 found this helpful

I have read all of your suggestions and also some of your questions. But none of you said if the clothes you have the odor problem with were white or colored.

My son loads and unloads planes for a living. Like most young men in their 20s (that live on their own) he comes home from work and throws stinky sweaty shirts in the laundry. By the time he goes to wash them the odor is impossible to remove!

Then he comes to me for an answer to remove the odor. I have suggested that he not put them in the laundry wet with sweat, but to hang them up to dry first. Even then the odor is still there, but not as bad even after washing. I thought it was the laundry soap he was using, but still I found that didn't really work to remove the odor. It just masked the odor making it so the next time he wore the t-shirt it smelled even worse once he started sweating.

His work shirts are blue and I'm worried that anything I use will cause bleaching or fading. That would be my worst nightmare knowing he only gets 3 to 4 t-shirts a month. So what is the best thing anyone has found to take the odor out and not fade colored clothing?
Thank you.

By Wendy W. from FL

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October 5, 20130 found this helpful
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I use white vinegar for cleaning most everything. Odors go away with white vinegar. I keep some full strength in a spray bottle all the time. Just spray some on all the stinky places and let them set awhile. I always add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup to every laundry load EXCEPT when using bleach. I also use white vinegar instead of fabric softener in the dispenser. All clothes come out soft. The vinegar smell does go away in a bit and sure smells better than stinky smells.

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October 5, 20130 found this helpful
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Try Borateem (Borax) My target odor is cat pee, but it works wonders. I use 1/3 cup in the wash cycle for a front loader. I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle. It will not fade colored clothes.

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October 4, 20130 found this helpful

When working for a healthcare company, and doing clients laundry, I always used white vinegar to get rid of any odors. It worked. I also used laundry soap and a fabric softener but the vinegar went into the wash with the soap, softener at the 2nd rinse cycle.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 9, 2012

What is the best way to remove a strong body odor smell from a black wool sweater? Is it safe to use ammonia? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

By Joan E

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January 11, 20120 found this helpful
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Can it be washed in the washing machine on a gentle cycle? Some newer machines also have a hand-wash cycle. Ours does and I use it for machine wool sweaters all the time, adding a cup of vinegar to subdue those tough odors:)

Check the label on the sweater to see what the washing instructions are. A lot of the wool clothing can be machine washed now on gentle or the hand-wash cycle. The label should also tell you the highest water temperature the wool can stand without becoming felted. If the label is missing, try washing the sweater in cold water by hand in the sink or a basin.

Use a good quality detergent labeled for wool, then add a cup of straight vinegar to the rinse water. You may need to rinse it several times with the vinegar added to clear the odor the first time, then whenever you wash it again, remember to add at least a half cup to keep it fresh and really clean.

Nice thing about vinegar is that it disinfects, eliminates odors, and moves the detergent out of the fabric during the rinse, I always add at least a half cup to my laundry load.

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January 11, 20120 found this helpful

Ammonia will take out the color, just like bleach. I would wash with something like Woolite, or dry clean.

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January 16, 20120 found this helpful

White vinegar! I would add about 1/2 cup to your rinse cycle omitting your fabric softer. It really works great at removing odors.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 27, 2016

What can be used to remove odor on the underarm area of clothing ? Thanks.

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

What I always use with odours is

1) white vinegar

2) hydrogen peroxide

3) baking soda

either applied directly or mixed together.

Here's more info "Soak the affected areas of the garment, then launder. White vinegar is a powerful odor neutralizer and works wonders on underarm areas of fabrics. Fill your washing machine with water, then add 1/3 cup of white vinegar. Turn off the machine and let the garment soak for 20 minutes, then launder as usual." http://farmersa  rs-from-clothes/

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March 1, 20170 found this helpful

You can dilute shampoo and put it on the area. Then wash as usual.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 25, 2010

How do you get perspiration odor out of clothing?

By Char from Detroit, MI

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October 26, 20100 found this helpful

Soaking in white vinegar will remove even old B.O. odors.

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August 21, 20110 found this helpful

I use deodorant powder (UARMSOL), there's no chemicals oil or fragrances to cause any odor stain in clothers, even after I sweat, no odours.

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February 17, 20150 found this helpful

Some people do not change clothes and linens very often. Body oils and what not get into the fibers. Shampoo in the washer seems to work, but only if washed again all the time. Sheets, long sleeve shirts, and pillowcases stored awhile in rotation seem to retain the odor. Thanks for any help. Oh, I only use the clothesline outside for drying.

By BL

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February 17, 20150 found this helpful

Have you tried adding washing soda to the wash? Look for the Arm and Hammer brand at your local store. You can also try adding baking soda. If these don't work, try a powdered oxygen booster such as OxiClean.

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September 5, 20130 found this helpful

I own a dress that I really love, but unfortunately it really smells like armpit. I want to know how to get the smell out, but I'm afraid to use some of the suggestions I've read about because it's handwash only. I'm afraid it might be too delicate for some of the treatment methods. (Also quite a few methods that I've found require machine wash.) I was hoping someone may have a solution that will be effective without damaging my dress. The dress is one of my favourites so I would prefer solutions that probably won't damage it. Sorry if I sound really picky, I just really like that dress. Any suggestion?

By Tonie

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November 24, 20140 found this helpful

White vinegar! Soak that dress in a strong solution of white vinegar and COLD water for a few hours then either dry clean or hand wash. Vinegar will remove the smell. I have used white vinegar to soak out the smells from all my laundry issues, including my husbands suits! I soak them for about an hour then I spin them dry and take them to the laundromat. Vinegar will remove home odors, too. Simmer a solution of vinegar and water on the stove while cooking things with strong odors and it cleans the air.

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October 25, 20100 found this helpful

How do I get armpit odour out of clothing?

Wendy from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Answers:

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Certain Dry Deodorant will stop the smell from even getting on the clothes. I have a son that no matter what he used, he had armpit odor. (yuk) However we heard about Certain Dry and it works amazingly well. I know Walmart and Meijer's carry it. If you can't find it just ask the pharmacist. This really does work.
(04/02/2007)

By lLnda from Arrowsmith, IL

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I have 2 sons. One works on cars and the other is in an office all day. Both come with wonderful smelling arm pits. I have found something I swear by. It's called Grease Lightening. It's great for cleaning and using in the wash. In fact I use it in place of bleach, on both colored clothes and white clothes. It helps get the grease out of my son's work clothes, that's how good it is. It's sold by the half gallon at Home Depot and at Walmart in spray bottles which is great for pre-treating and it's cheap. The other uses for it are never ending: cleaning, degreasing, wash, soap scum, on and on. But give it a try. (04/07/2007)

By Nancy J

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I noticed that washing my armpits with feminine wash eliminates odor completely. (04/30/2007)

By manja

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Use white vinegar to wash your clothes (approx 1/2 cup and add 2 tbs spoons of bicarbonate of soda) as this helps to neutralize sweat and takes the smell out of the clothes. For this I use a spray gun with white vinegar and spray the sweaty parts of my clothes. Leave for approximately 1 hour and wash. Rinse thoroughly on a prolonged cycle. Always spray the white vinegar on dirty clothes even if you're not washing them straight away. It won't harm the clothes and the BO smells come out from the clothes. (07/30/2007)

By Suzi

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I smell like a skunk sometimes. What helps me is to wipe my arms with alcohol after I shower, than I wait until it completely dries and then I apply Mitchum deodorant gel and wait until that dries before I put any clothes on. I use a hair drier to dry my armpits quicker. (08/20/2007)

By Petra

Armpit Odor on Clothing

You're all somewhat right, the smell is actually caused by a condition called hyperhidrosis. If you go to the dermatologist they can prescribe a medication to use at night a few times a week that keeps the smelliness at bay. I will be trying all of your suggestions for getting the smells out of my clothing. I had spoiled several shirts before I knew what the condition was. (09/13/2007)

By Courtney

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Thank all of you for your ideas! I'm gonna go soak my clothes in vinegar, now! I'm a fitness trainer and I wanted to stop the armpit odor for good so instead of using deodorant, I switched to baking soda. I works great. I just splash it on after my shower and after a full day, my pits are odorless. But I just had the problem of the old musty odor in my clothes, so thanx! (10/26/2007)

By Fit Guy in TX

Armpit Odor on Clothing

One thing you can do is go to Sally's Beauty Supply or try Wal-Mart or Target and look for those empty small travel size spray mist bottles. Then put in one part vinegar and one part water and shake it up and mist your arm pits after each shower. Dab off the excess mixture and let the arms pits dry, do not rinse the solution from your arm pits. Also, buy yourself a regular size empty plastic spray bottle and pour in one cup of white vinegar (clear vinegar) and pour in two cups of water and shake up the solution/mixture and keep it in the shower.

Take your shower or bath as normal. Then right before you get out of the shower mist your arm pits and your penal and pubic area or if you are a female mist the vaginal and pubic area with the solution. Dry yourself off and you will have no body order. Make sure to mist between your upper thighs/inner thighs. If the solution stings a bit just add some more water to the spray solution. And just pat those areas dry, do not rinse the solution off, just pat it dry.

You will stay dry and smell nice under your arm pits and your penal/pubic or vaginal/pubic area will stay drier and smell fresh. I used to work with patients in the medical field and I used this solution on patients and also the public can also use this solution.

Best regards. (02/24/2008)

By Gloria

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Try Simple Green. I work at REI and several hiker/climbers have reported success w/ it. (04/22/2008)

By Nancy

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I have sprayed the inside of my brother's shirt at the armpits with Lysol spray (I think it was the "rain" fragrance, when I took them out of the dryer and they still stunk. I then threw them back in the dryer on the delicate setting until they were dry.)
I had put vinegar in the wash water before, but I guess I didn't add enough.
The Lysol spray worked very good.
Try it, you might like it.
Thanks for all the tips from everyone.
Years ago in Prevention magazine there was an ad that said "Don't stink! Take Zinc." (05/03/2008)

By Therese

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Instead of using deodorant. Spray hairspray in your hand then wipe it under your armpit. Then if you want you can put on deodorant. Hairspray works. (07/02/2008)

By Rendarla

Armpit odor

For armpit odor, I finally found an antiperspirant with witch hazel and tea tree oil in it. Both of those help inhibit bacteria growth. I can't remember the name of it, and only one of that brand's types has the witch hazel and tea tree oil! It is a stick with a blue stripe in the middle of it. Sorry, I am not at home right now.

Also, I have used the "natural" deodorants (salt based) in the groin area to help with odor. Sometimes I will double the natural deodorant with the antiperspirant I mentioned above in the summer for extra help; I live in Phoenix! (07/03/2008)

By Ivy

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Secret Clinical deodorant is a godsend. I always had problems with underarm odor and sweat. Oh, and the yellow stains that you can never get rid of. Since using Secret Clinical, no more problems. It's a little more expensive, but well worth it. I've tried the other "clinical" deodorants and find Secret to be the best. (07/13/2008)

By Mary

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I've had this problem for a long time. It's really embarrassing. I've found that the vinegar does work. I've also stopped using antiperspirant and that has seemed to help. I use Dr Bronner's Magic Soap as a deodorant and I've never been so fresh. Just dab a little on a cotton ball and rub on your underarms and you are good to go! It's all natural and smells great. (12/26/2008)

By Free2BeMe

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I have tried every trick in the book to get rid of the armpit stink on my son's shirts! But recently, I learned in one of my nursing biology classes that bacteria is the cause of many odors. So one day while grocery shopping I spotted "Febreze Antibacterial" spray and wondered if it would kill the smell on his shirts.

I brought it home and saturated the armpits of his shirts and then let them sit for a bit just to make sure it had a chance to kill the foul odor. Guess what? No more stink! Now I just give the shirts a quick spray on each armpit before I wash his shirts and we haven't smelled him since! LOL I am very impressed by the results. I hope it works as well for you as it did for me.

I am not advocating Febreze itself, but the "antibacterial" component of it. Any similar spray should work as long as it's "antibacterial". (12/28/2008)

By Mamma with a stinky teenager!

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I have found a great product that gets all odors out of clothing. I t is called Odorzout. You simply add it to your wash and clothes come out smelling great with no cover-up odor! I won't ever wash without it. For underarm stains soak clothes in Oxiyclean overnight. (01/26/2009)

By Janene

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I have been reading all the great ideas and suggestions about removing underarm stains and body odor smells. My special weapon for these problems has been adding "20 Mule Team Borax" to my normal detergent and dry bleach regimen. I was on recruiting duty for the Navy for 12 years and every May through October I was in an all white uniform. Standing in the heat and humidity trying to look "fresh" was always a challenge. Sometimes I was washing them two - three times a week. The borax worked well in keeping them smelling fresh. It's also a great additive when you're washing blankets and bed linens that may have gotten musty while in storage. It's worth a try! (03/29/2009)

By Nockmoi

Armpit Odor on Clothing

My husband's towels used to stink after one or two days which I couldn't figure out because he had just showered. Then I saw a segment on Oprah with Dr.Oz who said the BO smell is from bacteria. So we switched to anti-bacterial soap in the shower and now his towels don't smell. I also use vinegar with my normal detergent and use the hottest setting possible when washing his clothes. The acidity in the vinegar and the heat help kill the bacteria. Also, washing the clothes as soon as possible helps keep the bacteria from multiplying. (05/06/2009)

By RN Mom

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I bought a designer cotton top on e-Bay, it arrived with smelly armpits (yuck!). I thought I'd try to fix the problem before complaining to the seller and so I Google/researched "removing body odor from cotton clothing" and proceeded to try each of the following methods:

  1. Washed in hot water with detergent and stain lifter (twice - still smelled).
  2. Applied paste of washing soda and water to underarms of garment and let it sit overnight then washed out (twice - still stinky).
  3. Soaked underarms of garment in undiluted white vinegar for several hours, then washed out (twice - still smelled of B.O.).
  4. Soaked underarms of garment in undiluted rubbing alcohol for several hours, then washed out (twice - still smelled of B.O.).
  5. Soaked underarms of garment in undiluted 3% antibacterial hydrogen peroxide for 5 hours, then washed out. Success! I think. I'll have to wait until garment is completely dry and heat (from iron) is applied to problem areas before I'll know if the smell is really completely gone.

FYI this concentration of hydrogen peroxide did not lift color. I've used the stuff on a Q-Tip to remove cherry, berry, wine and tomato sauce stains from cotton, silk, and rayon. It's never left a spot, or lifted garment color or distressed the fibers, but sure does get the stain out.

Wish me luck with my war on unknowingly purchased body odor! (07/16/2009)

By ResearchPitbull

Armpit Odor on Clothing

Thanks Dutch! I just went to www.coradhealthcare.com and bought Maxim so hopefully it works as well as you said it does. If so, I am forever grateful to you for sharing. I will let you know how it goes!
Thanks again. (07/18/2010)

By angelofgrace

Armpit Odor on Clothing

I got this from another post and it worked. I actually did this yesterday. I used a small spray bottle and poured about 4-6 oz of 3% peroxide, the kind you use for cuts. I sprayed the t-shirt (Under Amour type) in the pits. I sprayed it inside and then turned it over to the outside. I let the shirt sit for about 2 hours, then I sprayed with Shout (inside and out). I let it sit for about another hour or so then put it in the wash with other dirty clothes. When I pulled it out of the washer the smell was completely gone! I will definitely use this method again since I know it works. (09/13/2010)

By ynjig

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August 7, 20100 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to get sweat smell out of clothing? My husband just returned home from serving in Iraq and the people in charge of doing laundry for the soldiers did a terrible job.

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December 28, 20090 found this helpful

I need to find a cleaning product, or suggestions, on how to get body odor smells out of clothing.

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November 25, 20080 found this helpful
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