How to Get Strong Odors Out of Clothes

Stains are visible, making them easy to treat on clothes. Odors are an entirely different story; they stay embedded in your clothes fibers, and you need to treat the whole outfit to get rid of them. When not properly removed, strong odors will linger on your clothes and give off a stench you won’t like. In this guide, we go through how to get rid of strong odors from your clothes. 

15 Ways to Get Strong Odors Out of Clothes

Strong odors on your clothes may be caused by sweat, smoke, pet urine, intense oud, mold, and so on. Whether it is your socks or sportswear, the key to getting rid of strong smells is using a suitable method. Here are some different tips to help you get rid of strong smells from your clothes: 

1: Pre-Soak Your Clothes 

Pre-soaking your clothes before washing is a great way to remove odors. Leave the cloth in warm water, add detergent, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. If the smell is coming from a particular area, perhaps the armholes, you can use a soft-bristled brush to scrub it. Then, wash your cloth as normal or add vinegar or lemon juice to keep it smelling fresh. 

2: Baking Soda

It’s impossible to speak of effective laundry stain removals without mentioning baking soda. Besides getting rid of stains, baking soda powder is also helpful in deodorizing your clothes! 

How do you use it?

Step 1: An excellent way to use baking soda is by mixing it with your powdered detergent. If you’re using a liquid detergent, consider adding the baking soda to the wash basin after filling it with water. 

Step 2: The baking soda will absorb the smell, and you can then wash your cloth as normal following the care label. 

If you are dealing with a potent stench, you can consider soaking the cloth in baking soda for hours or overnight. Afterward, wash your clothes as usual. 

3: Borax

Borax is another powerful product that can remove odors and stains. If your detergent contains some borax, just use the detergent following your garment’s label.  In case you are using regular detergent, add borax to your washing water and then add the detergent. Wash your clothes and dry them as normal. 

4: Vinegar 

You can add vinegar directly to your washing cycle to neutralize strong odors. Vinegar is a great one for odors caused by sweat, deodorant, and mildew. 

Step 1: Add some capfuls of vinegar into your washing bowl or machine. Next, add your outfits and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the armpits or wherever the smell lingers. Then, wash your garment and dry it as normal. 

**You can also mix baking soda with the vinegar solution for more effectiveness. 

5: Odor Removals

You can get odor removers at convenience stores to help get rid of lingering smells from your clothes. These industrial products have enzymes that break down different odors, including pet urine and musty smell. Add some capful of the odor removal to your washer or follow the instructions on the product. 

Non Washing Methods To Remove Strong Odors From Your Clothes 

Not all odors need to be washed out from your clothes; here are some non-washing methods to remove the strong smell. 

6: Air Out Your Clothes

A good method to get rid of some types of ideals is airing them out. If you left your cloth in the closet for a while and it has a stench, or you bought a thrift cloth, consider hanging them to air dry. Leave them for some hours before storing them.  

Airing your clothes outside is a better option than machine drying because heat from the dryer will bind the odor to your cloth fibers. 

7: Spritz Vinegar or Vodka

Another method to get rid of odors without necessarily washing is spritzing with vodka. This is particularly helpful for old smelling clothes. Mix some vodka or vinegar with water and add to a spray bottle. Spray it over the clothes with your attention focused on the areas with the smell. Next, air dry the cloth for some hours to freshen it up. 

8: Freeze Your Clothes

Who knew the freezer could be a great electronic for your outfits caught up in a smell? Freezing your clothes can help break down and kill bacteria-causing odor. Throw the affected cloth into a bag and leave it in the freezer for about an hour. This method is especially great for denim and jeans. 

9: Treat the Stains

There are some odors caused by a visible stain on your clothes. For instance, gasoline and diesel stains will leave an odor on your clothes. In this case, it’s best to treat the stains to remove the odor. Consider using stain removal or household products like baking soda, lemon, or nail polish removal. 

10: Dryer Sheet

A great way to get musty clothes out of your clothes is by placing some dryer sheet in between them before folding. This is also an excellent option for preventing odor from depositing on your clothes. 

11: Cat Litter

Your cat litter contains some ingredients that help remove moisture and deodorize smell. You can place your cloth in a bowl and then pour some litter inside it. Another option is to place the clothes and litter in a Ziploc bag. After some hours, remove the cloth and shake off the litter. 

Cat litter can also prevent the musty smell of your clothes in the first place. Open a bag of cat litter and keep it in your closet to absorb moisture and prevent odors. 

12: Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds also absorb smells and odor, making it a great product to deodorize your garment. Fill a bowl with the unused coffee grounds and place affected clothes on top for some hours. Know that this method can not work for all clothes because it can stain. 

13: Charcoal

Just like coffee grounds, charcoal can absorb smell from your clothes. To use this method, place some charcoal briquette in a paper bag and add the affected cloth on top. Leave it overnight, and the smell will be gone! 

14: Deodorizing Spray

Fabric sprays are specifically made to neutralize odors. Your favorite supermarket and stores will have a deodorizing spray to keep your garments smelling fresh. 

15: Newspaper

Another option to get rid of the odor is to use newspapers to absorb the smell. Wrap up some newspapers and throw in your socks or underarm for some hours. You can use this method for your boots and suede to eat up odor and moisture. 

Tips for Preventing Lingering Odors on Your Clothes

Different things can cause odors on your clothes, and here are some tips to prevent them:

  • Clean your washing machine: 

Washing machine buildup can start to smell funny and deposit on your garments. A great way to avoid this is by cleaning your machine regularly. 

  • Soak soiled clothes immediately 

It’s best to wash soiled clothes like your socks and gym wear as soon as possible to prevent lingering smells. Another option is to air dry your dirty clothes if you are not ready to launder them. This will reduce the odor and prevent it from transferring to other clothes. 

  • Use Humidifier 

You can easily prevent musty smell from your garments by placing a humidifier or some lavender in your closet. This will keep moisture out and have your clothes smelling fresh. 

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