Removing Odors from Clothing

Fabric tends to pick up smells and often they are not pleasant. This guide is about removing odors from clothing.
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November 26, 2016 Flag
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This guide is about removing body odor smell from clothing. A stubborn sweat scent can linger in clothing even after laundering.

A woman washing stinky clothing.

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August 1, 2008 Flag
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I am looking for help with stinky sour clothing.

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August 1, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try drying them outside instead of in the dryer.

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December 26, 20100 found this helpful
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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).

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Anonymous Flag
November 2, 20150 found this helpful
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May 18, 2010 Flag
1 found this helpful

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

August 28, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Murphy's Oil Soap. I learned this trick when my ex was a dump truck driver.

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January 7, 20141 found this helpful
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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.

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May 20, 20100 found this helpful

October 12, 2010 Flag
4 found this helpful

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.

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April 2, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about removing odors from vintage clothing. Clothes that have been stored for years can have a variety of odd smells.

Close up of a rack of vintage clothing

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April 2, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about removing odors from clothing that was left in the washer. Mildew can grow in damp clothes that have not been dried promptly leaving a stubborn smell.

Woman crouched in front of a front loading dryer smelling a shirt

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November 19, 2015 Flag
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With all the rain lately my septic tank overflowed and when it did it went into my washer when my laundry was washing. I had to rewash it three times and my brother said they smelled fine so I wore an outfit from it. Now I'm out in public and I smell like when the septic tank overflowed. I sprayed perfume to hide it; also I won't be able to wash clothes cause I'm leaving to go out of town in few hours. I need advice on what to do.

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November 22, 20150 found this helpful

1. Get your septic tank pumped. You waited too long to do it and that's why it backed up.

2. Don't bother with perfume. It will just smell like somebody crapped in a flower garden. Buy a new outfit to travel and wash your clothes in a laundromat while away.

3. When you get home, consult a septic expert about both pumping your septic and what to do about your washer.

If septic backed up in your washer, your tap water may not be safe. Be careful.

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December 15, 20150 found this helpful

I think what happened was the washer had no where to pump the water so it mixed with sewar water but didn't really leave the machine. If you live well away from the nearest neighbor, run a separate line out into the yard for your washer water just on top of the ground. It's grey water. Just move the end periodically where the water comes out with force.

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February 29, 2016 Flag
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My child had an accident in his jammies and I hadn't noticed. I didn't do laundry for a few days and now I can't get the poop smell out of his pj bottoms. Any suggestions?

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March 9, 20160 found this helpful

One-third cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar in your washing machine will take out odors in clothes. Make sure you let the washer fill with water first. This mixture will foam up for a few seconds. I've used this for many types of clothes (polyester, cottons, polyester and cotton, and it works great.

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October 1, 2006 Flag
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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

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August 6, 20150 found this helpful
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I realize this answer is years later. My son is in charge of entertainment dept., dancers etc. Their costumes get very sweaty and are very elaborate so they cannot be just washed. Dry cleaning bills are very pricey for garments like this and sometimes dry cleaning damages them. The dancers swear by vodka. Spraying and just letting the item sit out in fresh air or even better the sun. I concentrate on the pits and blot with a white towel. High concentrate alcohol may also be used. The least water content the better, I found 91% alcohol at major dept store, but vodka is usually best. Cheap vodka is OK.

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October 2, 20060 found this helpful

I have removed underarm stains with ammonia before, but I don't know if a light solution of ammonia and water sprayed on the area would work for odor. The ammonia smell will go away. Ammonia can be used to remove odors from a lot of things, like sitting a container of ammonia and water out will remove household odors. Maybe if you spritzed a little on a spot that can't be seen to see how the material will react before spraying it on the troublesome spots.

Tina

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October 3, 20060 found this helpful

January 9, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

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

By Peggy S.

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January 13, 20150 found this helpful

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.

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January 26, 2013 Flag
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This is a guide about cleaning fuel odors from clothing. If you have ever spilled fuel on your clothing, you know that the odor is sometimes difficult to remove.

Work Clothing

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November 29, 2012 Flag
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This guide is about removing musty smell from clothing. Allowing clothes to be damp for too long can result in a funky smell.

Basket of musty smelling clothing.

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November 11, 2013 Flag
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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.

Thanks.

By Azmat

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November 13, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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July 31, 2008 Flag
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My daughter washed her clothes for the first time. Unfortunately, after she removed them from the washing machine she must have put them all on top of each other - expecting they would dry. She called me frantic - her clothes have a terrible odor. What should she do now?

S Wilson from Palm Desert, CA

Answers:

Sour Smelling Clothing

Regardless, if you want something that usually works, 1/4 C. bleach in a washer of hot water (if not a synthetic fabric) works. OR 1 capful of original Lysol works well, too, although hard to find. (10/21/2006)

By Lynda

Sour Smelling Clothing

Part of the problem of sour smelling clothing is due in large part to soap or detergent residue left behind when washing in hard water. You cannot rinse out all of the soap or detergent in hard water therefore leaving it in the clothing. Detergents are high in pH and therefore part of the problem.

Solution: Install a water softener and use pure soap products. Brighter, softer laundry with a clean fresh smell. Solve the problem and forget about fixing the symptom.
(09/13/2007)

By Kelly Johnson

Sour Smelling Clothing

We tend to not want to do laundry and so we also tend to over load the machine to save time and money. By having an over sized load the clothes do not get clean well enough and they do not rinse the soils complete, try a smaller load and smell the difference. (07/09/2008)

By Indiana Home Inspector

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