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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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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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, 20091 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, 20091 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.

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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.

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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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March 23, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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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?

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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.

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I also have a front loader. Good luck!

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August 11, 20101 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.

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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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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

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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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Solutions

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October 1, 20170 found this helpful

White vinegar often works well to remove perspiration odor from clothing. This is a guide about solutions for removing armpit odor on clothing.

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December 11, 20160 found this helpful

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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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. Thanks.

By Mrs. SGT from Akron, OH

Answers:

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

Add 1 cup of white vinegar to each wash load, it will get rid of the funky smell. (12/28/2009)

By Marjorie

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

I've had amazing luck using the cheapie hydrogen peroxide! Just spray or pour it on, then let sit 10 minutes or so and launder as usual. Also, if you can bleach, this greatly helps! First, check to see if the fabric is colorfast with the peroxide.

Another wonderful thing that's quite amazing to remove natural odors is enzyme based pet cleaner and odor remover. One brand is called "OUT!" I like it best because it has a light vanilla scent and not a strong floral scent like some brands do. It's sold in a large spray bottle for under $5 at Walmart and Target in the pet food area. Simply spray on and leave it set while the enzymes do their job "eating" the odor and stain. For stubborn natural/organic stains (not dyes) cover your clothes or the area in the enzyme-base pet cleaner then put the items in bag or cover with plastic wrap (to keep it wet) and leave it sit overnight (you don't have to wait that long, a half-hour or so will usually work). You'll be totally amazed! If it removes the smell of dog, cat, and ferret pee, you know it can remove the smell of human sweat.

* Do NOT put the smelly clothes in dryer or iron as heat tends to set both stains and odors.

* Peroxide goes on sale or 50 cents a bottle quite often at many drugstores. Keep a lookout.

Yes, as MCW said, vinegar is also wonderful to remove odor. You wouldn't think this is true because it smells so badly, but it's actually quite amazing, and no worries about color fading. But, I like the peroxide and also bleach because it actually kills the bacteria that causes many odors. (12/28/2009)

By Cyinda

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the beginning of your wash cycle and it will take any smell out of your clothes and your laundry won't smell like vinegar when you are done. (12/28/2009)

By DeAnna

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash instead of fabric softener to remove the odors. Your clothes won't smell like vinegar. (12/28/2009)

By Alicia

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

My daughter is a rock climber, and the new outdoor synthetics she wears really hold an odor. She rubs toothpaste into the really odorous spots. You might want to do a hidden spot check to make sure the color is not affected. (12/30/2009)

By Margaret Oren

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

I use Biz and Oxiclean. My husband too is in Iraq and you are so right, they suck at cleaning. They mix the clothes and don't use enough soap. I know for my husband's stuff, it would take more than one washing, but the Biz and Oxiclean, along with regular detergent works well. I let the washing machine get almost through the wash cycle and then stop it and let it sit for a few hours.

Then reset the washer and let it go through a full wash cycle again. I also put it through 2 extra rinse cycles, sometimes a full wash and rinse cycle without any soap. Some of the detergent they use, because it's not enough of it and they don't rinse enough, hold the dirt and sweat. So it can take a bit to get it all out. Also, for whites use bleach with the detergent in one washing and then after it's rinsed well, use the other stuff in another. It depends on how bad they all are. (12/30/2009)

By christine M. Thayer

Removing Body Odor from Clothing

I would go Biz and Tide with bleach alternative, too. Fill washer with hot water, throw in generous amount of both, swish, throw in clothes and shut off the washer. Let everything soak for a day or two and then run through cycle. You might even want to rinse it through twice to remove any of biz/tide.

I bet this works. Biz is an enzyme cleaner and Tide with bleach alternative also has enzyme cleaner in it. Enzyme cleaner eats up the stains, smells, etc. Same thing as in pet stain removers. (01/10/2010)

By delta

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