How to Get Sour Smell Out of Your Clothes

If your clothes have sour smells, do not be worried. Nobody likes odd smelly clothes, but it is a common occurrence that is easy to get rid of and prevent. 

Sour smells do not affect only you but the surrounding people. Here are ten different methods and suggestions to help you achieve odor-free clothes.

10 Ways to Get Sour Smell Out of Your Clothes

Sour Smell On Clothes

The most common cause of sour-smelling clothes is mildew, which thrives on plants or damp materials. Clothes stored in a dark, damp environment where air cannot circulate have higher chances of a mildew visit.

So do not store clothes in tight spaces over a long period. Keeping your clothes closeted over extended periods will lead to a musty scent. Once in a while, take out the clothes and hang them in the sun.

Putting away clothes for storage without letting them dry out completely will make them smell awful when you want to use them later. Clean clothing that still smells is quite a common issue and can be resolved quickly with the proper techniques. 

To help get the sour smell out of your laundry, here are ten ways to help you.

Method 1: Rewash them

Yes, washing clean clothes can be a hassle, especially when washing them costs a lot, but rewashing is the best solution to your musty clothes. If you rewash, use hot water to kill the bacteria that cause odors, as they cannot withstand high temperatures. Check the clothes’ labels and see how much heat they can handle. 

Method 2: Use vinegar to wash your clothes

white vinegar

The combination of hot water and vinegar is often a foolproof method to eliminate the buildup of bacteria and grime that has grown. The acid will help to remove the sour smell from your clothes. 

If you are uncomfortable with the amount of contact washing with vinegar will have with your fabric, spray instead. It is essential to test your fabric by turning it inside out and testing it on a spot before you spray the outside. 

Method 3: Use Baking Soda

Armex Baking Soda

Aside from vinegar, another home remedy to use is baking soda. Using hot water and baking soda to wash will neutralize any sour smells. Smelly clothes, in most situations, cannot survive good old-fashioned home remedies like vinegar and baking soda.

Method 4: Use Direct Sunlight

Mildew flourishes in damp spaces; airing them out under direct heat is a quick and easy fix to the problem. You could Harness the sun’s power and hang your clothes in a sunny place outside; choose a spot that will allow a breeze. 

UV rays from the sun will do away with lingering bacteria, and the air will make them smell nice and fresh. Sunlight has disinfectant properties that kill any remaining sour smell in your clothes.  

Method 5: Use a Different Detergent

Sometimes, your smelly clothes situation can be over with just one fix, change your detergent. Some detergents smell nice but are often not powerful enough to clean dirt, and sweet-smelling detergent does not necessarily mean it’s cleaning well. 

The most unthinkable thing is likely the culprit; if you suspect your detergent isn’t powerful enough or your clothes start to stink slowly after wash, it may be time to change your detergent brand.

Also, try to use less detergent as your clothes do not need a lot of detergents to be clean; a reasonable amount of suitable detergent is enough to clean your clothes. Less, in this situation, is more.

Method 6: Use Vodka

vodka bottles

You can use vodka to get rid of the sour smell of your clothes. Fill a spray bottle with straight unflavored vodka to avoid booze smell and sticky clothes if there is sugar in the vodka, and spray your clothes focusing on specific regions like the underarms. Air dry and allow the vodka smell to fade away. 

Method 7: Use Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil; that give off sweet fragrances can be added to your laundry water. A few drops of your favorite essential oil diluted with water will do the trick. You can also spray your garment with any oil of your choice.

Or, you could use fragrances when storing your clothes after washing them. Use drawer liners, light perfumes, etc., and store them in a well-ventilated space to keep your clothes smelling nice and fresh.

Method 8: Lemon Juice

Lemon is a natural odor killer. Like essential oils, add a few cups of lemon juice to your laundry water and wash or spray your fabric with lemon juice focusing on areas that give off the stink. Let them dry, and you are ready. Pure lemon juice could stain or discolor your clothes, so dilute with water when spraying.

Note: When applying any of the liquids mentioned above, vinegar, vodka, or lemon juice, always check the tag of your fabric before applying the liquid to avoid discoloration or damage to the fabric.

Method 9: Steam Your Clothes

Steamers are not just good for getting wrinkles out of your clothes; they can also leave your clothes smelling fresher. It has already been established that heat neutralizes bacteria; instead of using a steamer to get rid of wrinkles in your garment, utilize this hack for your sour-smelling clothes. It is highly recommended to pay attention to the type of fabric before applying any heat.

Method 10: Freeze Your Clothes

It may sound funny but freeze your clothes! Just like heat, cool temperatures kill odor. Put your clothes in a bag and freeze for a couple of hours. 

Take them out and allow them to warm up and dry thoroughly before putting them on.

Something To Note

Always be sure that your clothes are completely dry before putting them away! Not almost or relatively dry, but completely dry.

However, other factors can cause a sour smell; here are a few things to note to avoid getting a sour smell in your clothes again:

Clean your washing machine regularly: The filters in your washing machine can become clogged with detergent and fabric softener residue. Clean your washing machine regularly to keep the sour smell away from your laundry.

Avoid using fabric softeners: Fabric softener residues build up over time and can worsen the issue. 

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