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A Guide to Getting Strong Smells Out of Your Clothes

Unlike stains that you can easily spot treat before loading in the washers, getting your smelly clothes to smell fresh again is not a walk in the park. These smells can sit deep into the fibers of your clothes and stay there for a long time. And even after following all the care instructions carefully, it’s not a guaranteed odor removal technique.

Strong smells leave a trail that can be difficult to erase, whether it’s perfume from a date night, smoke from a bonfire or barbecue night, or the musty smell of sweat in your workout clothes. Some odors just won't go away after a couple of washes, regardless of washing machine temperature or whether you use your best laundry detergent.

We know how frustrating it is when you just can’t get rid of the strong smells on your clothes no matter how many times you wash it. We’re here to rescue you from that dilemma, and we’ll tackle everything you need to know about getting strong smells out of your clothes!

First things first…

Before you load your clothes in the washer, it’s important to check the care instructions first. Some garments are not for washing machines and require a dry clean. In that case, it’s better to leave it to your dry cleaners. Your dry cleaner will be the one to tackle the strong smell in your clothes, and trust us, they know how to handle your clothing properly.

You can also opt for eco-friendly dry cleaners. They use gentler cleaning solutions and chemicals so your clothes will stay good for longer, plus, they are kinder to the environment.

Check your washing machine, too.

If your clothes smell after you take them out of your washer, then the likely culprit might be your washing machine. Most washing machines do not have self-cleaning settings, so make sure to read the manual to know how to properly clean your washer.

Dirty and moist washing machines are cozy breeding spaces for mold. After every use, remove any residue, oil, dirt, or excess moisture to keep your washer and clothes smelling clean and fresh. It also helps to remove musty and mildew smells that make you clothes smell funky.

Wash your clothes inside out.

Majority of odor-causing bacteria come from dead skin cells, body oil, and sweat. Turning your clothes inside-out before washing exposes the dirtier side of your clothes to cleaning chemicals. So if your garments are already turned inside out after taking them off, just leave them be and save some time on laundry.

It's worth noting that some materials retain odors more than others. Polyester is renowned for retaining odor. Synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics also have a higher odor retention rate than natural fibers like cotton.

Wash smaller loads.

Reduce the quantity of your washing load in half if your clothes smell unpleasant. This way, your clothes can get washed more properly as they do not tumble around each other. It also allows the water and detergent to penetrate the fibers of your clothes, resulting in cleaner, fresher clothes.

Check your pantry for some laundry life savers.

There’s a lot of wonders that a cup of baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice can do. Before loading your clothes, add in at least one of these natural deodorizers and sanitizers in your laundry. They are perfect for removing even the most stubborn scents!

Skip the fabric conditioner.

It’s a popular belief that fabric conditioners make your clothes smell good. But there’s actually a negative side to them. Fabric softeners create a coat on your clothes that can trap bacteria, body odor, and strong scents.

They can also leave residue in your washing machine, which may stain your clothes. Instead, use baking soda and vinegar, which are natural fabric softeners that will keep your clothes soft and fresh without any additional help.

Air dry your clothes.

Dryers are faster and easier, but leaving your clothes to dry out in the sun is much better. UV rays kill bacteria and remove stink, making it an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective alternative. The fresh air from outside also helps to air out your garments, giving them that wonderful scent.

It is also important to note that drying seals in the odor. If your clothes still smell musty or sweaty after washing, pre-treat and wash it again until the smell is removed. Your clothes and garments must not have any funky or strong smells (such as sweat) before drying.

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