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Removing Odors from Clothing

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Stinky Laundry In Washing Machine with Man Holding Nose

Fabric tends to pick up smells and often they are not pleasant. This guide is about removing odors from clothing.


Solutions: Removing Odors from Clothing

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Removing Musty Odor From Clothes

Here's the "Solution"

I had a brand new bedspread, that picked up a musty smell from an RV we had used. I tried EVERYTHING, to get the odor out. Of course I could not use bleach on this fabric. A Musty odor is almost impossible to get rid of, once an item has been exposed, no matter how clean you get it! Ahhh, at last, I remembered that I still had some "Simple Solution Stain and Odor Remover" on hand. You can buy it at most pet stores. It's the best thing I have ever found, for removing the smell left in the carpet from our aging, incontinent kitty. It has never damaged my carpets, so I thought, why not?! So I put two cups of "Simple Solution" into a washing machine full of water with the bedspread. I let it soak for four hours and then ran it through the normal cycle. The musty odor is now gone! And the bedspread has a very light pleasant scent. I am so happy that a brand new, very expensive item was saved! I would have no hesitation to use this product on any type of furniture that may have picked up a musty smell. Musty Odor? This nasty problem will not be a problem for me ever again!

By Diane =^..^= from New Braunfels, TX

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Here are questions related to Removing Odors from Clothing.

Question: Removing Ethanol Odors from Clothing

How can I get the smell of ethanol out of my husband's work clothes and then out of my washer?

By Racheal from Ashland, KY


Most Recent Answer

By Debbi T.01/07/2014

Do not use Fabreze. It is made with ethanol. I would wash with baking soda disolved in hot water, but cold water for the wash. Let it sit. I put mine in the wash, let it fill up, agitate for about 10 minutes, than shut it off. My washer is in the bathroom so I run it everytime I go in there for the next couple of hours. Before it rinses, I add a cup of vinegar, run it, let it sit. Than rinse it.

Good luck with it.

Ethanol is a neurotoxin. It causes brain damage for me. It makes my motor-controls not work correctly.

Question: Removing BO Odors from Clothing

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


Most Recent Answer

By Carol Swanson [17]03/23/2009

I normally only use cold water to wash my clothes, but I have found hot water is sometimes needed to remove odors caused by the bacteria you are describing. Teens have extra oily skin and its more of a problem for them than for adults, imho. I'm sorry I didn't know about hot water to remove odors and grease when my kids were that age. It would have helped with their bedding. Good luck.

Question: Sour Smelling Clothing

I am looking for help with stinky sour clothing.

Most Recent Answer

By whozis33312/26/2010

The sour smell is butyric acid; it's water soluble, but some fabrics take a long time to diffuse out the stuff. One wash cycle isn't always enough. Soak the garment (overnight in a bucket of water) and maybe change the water and give it a second day. One pound of clothes, ten pounds of water, means you diminish the odor maybe 90 percent with every change of fluid.

The problem eventually will go away with just regular washing, too (but each wash is fifteen minutes of water contact, versus fifteen hours of contact if you leave it in a bucket overnight).

Question: Removing Body Odor from Clothing

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

Most Recent Answer

By Jeff12/28/2010

Soak in a heavy duty de-greaser like simple green or TSP (trisodium phosphate) for several hours then wash as usual. Ammonia may work too, have not used it enough to be sure. The other two will work for sure. This works even when bleach/vinegar won't. It might fade colors though.

Question: Removing Sweat Smell from Clothing

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

Most Recent Answer

By Lizzyanny [9]10/05/2013

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.

Question: Removing Odors From a Costume

How do you remove underarm odor from an article of clothing that can't be washed or dry-cleaned (a costume)?

Angel from Seattle, WA

Most Recent Answer

By (Guest Post)10/03/2006

Spray it with Febreeze - It's great for that sort of problem. It can be used on all sorts of clothing that don't really neeed dry cleaning - but have to be refreshed & items that can't be dry cleaned as well. Just apply, let dry & repeat until the odor is gone.

Question: Removing Body Odor from Laundry

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.


Most Recent Answer

By Abigail A. [8]02/17/2015

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 OxyClean.

Question: Removing Odors from Towels

How can you remove the smell of oil from bowling towels?

By Peggy S.

Most Recent Answer

By Monica H.01/13/2015

Try using white vinegar in the rinse cycle. It works great for removing oil, grease, and odors from clothing. Baking soda works great for removing odors as well.

Question: Removing Cooking Odors from Clothing

I am new to the harsh winters of Canada and am starting to get used to the idea of heavy outerwear like woolen jackets with inner linings, etc. I am also Indian, so our cooking stinks sky-high, unfortunately.

I need a solution to remove the smell of cooking/food from my heavy, outerwear without washing them. These are almost new stuff, but I hate that they smell of food whenever I go out to work or shopping.

Please help. I would like to have some solution where I can put some stuff in the dryer with these jackets and that takes out all the odor. No washing needed. Only deodorizing.


By Azmat

Most Recent Answer

By drnesbitt-nepean11/13/2013

For starters, try airing them outside for a few hours. Choose a windy day if possible. Or .... if you have access to a dryer, use a home dry cleaner (ie: Dryel) that can be found in most grocery or department stores in their laundry detergent aisle.

Question: Removing Armpit Odour from Dress

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

Most Recent Answer

By KaelaB11/24/2014

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.

Question: Removing Awful Smell from New Dress

I have a dress (material 45% polyester, 35% viscose, 15% cotton and 5% elastane) which has a lining (95% polyester, 5% elastane). As per instructions, I hand washed and dried in on the hanger (I live in apartment). Now the dress has a horrible damp smell. I repeated washing, but the smell remains. The instructions said not to soak for a long time in water. What should I do please? Thank you.

By Elisabeth T

Question: Removing Sweat Odour from a Vintage Dress

I have a beautiful dress from the 1960s that was actually made from antique fabric probably from the 1900s-1920s. I would like to sell it in my shop only it has really bad under arm odours that I cannot get rid of. I do not think it is suitable to be hand washed so I would like to know if there are any other options. Many thanks.

By Sam from London

Question: Removing Xylene Odor from Clothes

How do I remove xylene odors from jeans?

By Brian

Question: Removing Fish Smell in Clothes

I work in a seafood market and my clothes really smell like fish. Even after they are washed with vinegar or baking soda and run through an extra rinse, the odor still lingers. The clothes are all black, so bleach is out. Help!

By Pam

Question: Removing Musty Smell from Clothes

How do I get the musty smell out of clothes that are stored in a dresser for a long time?

By Pat N.