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Getting Rid of Stubborn Odors in Clothes and Fabrics

  • Published: 2014-03-29 (Rev. 2017-02-15) - Contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Information on how to get rid of various laundry odor problems in clothes fabrics and your washing machine.

Main Document

"Adding a 1/2 cup of white vinegar with the detergent when you wash your clothes, that gets rid of any odors that tend to stick to the clothes."

Baking soda can help remove pungent odors from laundry even when they linger after repeated washing. A cup of Borax and washing soda also make good odor removers for laundry, but are relatively ineffective as stain removers.

  • Sweaty Smell in Clothes - Try soaking in a baking soda and water solution to rid them of the sweat smell.
  • Smoky Smell - Try soaking clothes that smell of smoke in a baking soda and water solution before washing in the washing machine.
  • Oily Smell - If you have clothing with gasoline, oil, or other mechanical smells, place them in a bag with baking soda. Leave the bag sealed for a day or two before washing.

If smelly clothes cannot be washed right away try sprinkling baking soda directly on them. Wash them as they are when you have the time.

Using Vinegar to Eliminate Laundry Odor:

For everything except pet urine smells - put white vinegar into both the fabric softener and the bleach dispenser of your washing machine, with the normal amount of laundry detergent. Run the load normally, and you should have success!

Also Try:

  • Adding a 1/2 cup of white vinegar with the detergent when you wash your clothes gets rid of any odors that tend to stick to the clothes. This trick also helps rid laundry of cigarette smell.
  • Wash your clothes as you usually do, but add 1 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. This will neutralize any odor in the clothing and will also remove any residue left in the fabric from the detergent. It will also act as an amazing fabric softener. Promptly remove the laundry when the washer has finished and either hang it to dry or place it in the dryer.

Commercial Products for Removing Laundry Smells:

  • Smelleze - Dirty laundry in hampers or gym bags can result in nasty, lingering odors and can damage your clothes. The Smelleze Laundry & Gym Bag Deodorizer Pouch was specially developed to fight odors caused from sweat, bacteria, smoke, cooking and other odor sources while preventing mold and mildew. Smelleze will keep your clothing smelling good until you have time to wash them.
  • Smelly Washer - If your towels smell more like dirty socks, then try using a product called Smelly Washer. Smelly Washer works to eliminate the stink and leaves clothes, towels and linens smelling clean after washing.


  1. Get Rid of Stale Cigarette Smoke Smell from House - Ian Langtree - (Mar 28, 2014)
  2. Get Rid of Refrigerator and Freezer Odors - Ian Langtree - (Feb 25, 2014)
  3. How to Treat Sweaty Smelly Feet and Foot Odor - Ian Langtree - (Mar 25, 2014)


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