how to remove body odor on clothes

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How To Remove Body Odor On Clothes

There are few things more disappointing than getting your clothes out of the dryer and realizing they STILL smell. What gives?

No matter how many times you wash it, some odors stick to the fabric and never want to leave.

Luckily, there’s a solution for every funky smell. In this blog post, you’ll find a comprehensive guide on how to get  odor out of clothes, including tips on removing the toughest smells from your favorite shirts, pants and dresses.


Some odors are harder to get rid of than others. For example, some perfume odors stay on your clothes even after washing. Leaving your sweaty, post-workout garments in a hamper, gym bag or musty locker room allows stinky bacteria to build up over time, creating a smelly layer that standard detergents can’t penetrate.

Distinct odors that are hard to get rid of include cooking smells and that irritating musty closet odor.

Some fabrics also retain smells more than others. Polyester is notorious for holding on to scent. Synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics also tend to retain odor more than natural material like cotton.



Check Your Washing Machine

Sometimes when your clothes smell as soon as they come out of the washing machine, it’s the machine that’s to blame.

Unfortunately, washing machines don’t clean themselves yet. They gather dirt from your dirty laundry that starts to build up. The dark, damp environment of the washer is perfect for mold to grow.

Check your machine’s manual for instructions on how to clean it.

Wash Your Clothes On High Heat

Hot water kills odor-producing bacteria, so it’s a good idea to wash your smelly clothes in hot water whenever possible.

However, don’t forget to check clothing labels before washing. Some fabrics shrink and fade in hot water.

Turn Your Clothes Inside-Out Before Washing

It’s no secret that most smelly bacteria come from dead skin cells, oils, and sweat. It’s easier to get rid of them when you reach them directly. That’s why we recommend turning your clothes inside out to get to those nasty bacteria.

Plus, your clothes are probably already inside out after you’ve taken them off. Leave them like that – who needs the extra work anyway?

Dry Your Clothes Outside

While using a dryer is convenient, drying your clothes on a clothesline has advantages. It’s not only an environmentally-friendly option that will save you money. It also leaves your clothes smelling nice!

UV-rays kill microbes and remove odor. The wind also helps to air out the clothes, giving them that amazing fresh smell.


Whether you got carried away while spritzing your shirt with your favorite cologne or used a scented laundry product, strong, fragrant odors can present a problem.

To get rid of perfume odors, fill a large sink or washer with cold water. Add a solution of one cup baking soda in four cups of hot water. Submerge the clothes and allow them to soak for at least four hours.

After that, wash the clothes as directed. Make sure to use heavy-duty unscented laundry detergent.


It’s incredibly frustrating to put on a clean shirt to find it’s starting to smell halfway through the day.

Why does this happen?

Perspiration, bacteria and body oils are trapped in the synthetic fibers even after washing, producing a stagnant smell that just won’t quit.

First, treat underarm areas to get rid of deodorant build-up. Second, wash your shirt with heavy-duty detergent containing the type of ingredients that can remove body soil. Some examples include Persil and Tide.

If that doesn’t help, soak your shirt in lukewarm water with two cups of baking soda for at least 24 hours. When done, repeat the wash as described above.

Sweatproof Shirts


If your clothes absorbed smells from the kitchen, use a heavy-duty laundry detergent and wash them on high heat.

You can also add one-half cup of borax or one cup of baking soda the washer for a stronger solution.


If you’ve noticed your workout clothes smell funky even after washing, you’re not alone. Sometimes they seem fresh, but as soon as you start working out, they begin to reek.

It’s a common problem for moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics. To prevent it from happening, let sweaty clothes air out after your workout before stuffing them into a bag or hamper. Wash them as soon as possible and make sure not to overload your washing machine.

You can also try pre-soaking your gym clothes with cold water with a cup of vinegar. Another excellent natural method is baking soda. Add a cup of it to the washer along with detergent and use warm water.


Mildew and dampness is a common cause of musty closet odors. Overstuffed with shoes, clothing and miscellaneous items leaves little room for air circulation, creating a musty, damp smell over time that permeates your clothing.

First, empty your closet. Wash the clothes that don’t look or smell fresh. Clean the closet by sweeping the floor and wiping walls and shelves. Use one half a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water as a deodorizer.

If you spot mildew, remove it with a spray bottle three fourths full of hot water with two capsules of bleach.

Dry and air out your closet before putting your clothes back in.

To get that musty odor out of clothes, add one cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washer. Wash your clothes in the hottest water the labels allow and dry them outside.


As you can see, there’re many ways to get the odor out of your clothes. However, wouldn’t it be nicer if they just…don’t smell?

We can help you with that!

The Thompson Tee is a sweat proof undershirt that absorbs sweat and evaporates it. Paired with deodorant, it’s a perfect odor-stopping solution to protect your dress shirts from collecting odor.

If you’re not a heavy sweater try our Premium Undershirt! Designed for daily use and infused with Odor Shield™ technology you’ll be an instant fan of these soft and luxurious undershirts that will keep you smelling fresh all day long.

15 tips to get SWEAT SMELL out of clothes

Sweat smell (aka Body odour or BO) is not a problem for everyone on this earth. But for those with this problem – it is the greatest one. I belong to the second section.

Having tried almost everything ( like giving up on  non-veg and spices, which proved impossible for me, and drink enough water to make the bathroom my permanent residence) I have now resolved to clean the horrible sweat smell out of my clothes  – properly; and get a good antiperspirant deodorant.

How to get sweat smell out of clothes

I have learned that there are two glands in our body ( Eccrine glands and Apocrine glands – they are almost all over our body) which causes all the sweat; Sweat is supposed to be good for you ( It cools the body when it gets heated up), so I will never blame sweat for the resultant body odour.

Body odour is the result of sweat  mixed with bacteria present in your body. This together with the deodorant you must be using will create a killer odour which makes a stain on your fabric and causes all to run away from you as well.

So removing every trace of the  bad odor which is left lingering on clothes  after you take it off is not an option – but a necessity.

Tips to prevent sweat smell on clothes

As always preventing sweat is better than trying to remove it and the resultant smell. Washing yourself well as and when you get sweaty or at least once a day will do a lot.

Know when you will sweat and wear appropriate clothes.  Exercising is when I sweat the most . So preferably wear only moisture absorbing fabric for exercise clothes ( you would find them under labels workout clothes, activewear, gym clothes or athletic wear).

For day to day activities, Use breathable fabrics like cotton, linen etc, which are less prone to sweat. But then cotton when it has caught on sweat gives the most horrible smell of all.

Related posts : Best fabrics to wear when exercising ; Best fabrics for summer weather.

Using antiperspirant deodorant on dry skin (do not use on wet skin), using underclothing like slips, petticoats, vests also helps. And bathing twice a day.

Tips to remove sweat smell from clothes

1 The first and foremost thing you can do is to wash sweaty clothes as soon as it is taken off the body. Always wash sweaty clothes without keeping them too much in the laundry bin. The odour will set and it will be hard to remove.The faster you can wash them the better it will be washed out.

2 Using warm water to wash clothes can help. You should check the label of the garment and use the highest possible temperature you could use on the type of fabric. For eg. Polyester doesn’t tolerate very hot water. Wool shrinks in hot water. So be cautious and err on the side of caution. But warm water helps.

Soak the garment  for 10 minutes in a strong detergent. If the sweat smell is intense soak for 30 -45 minutes.You can soak in the washing machine itself. What I do is, work the machine, then when the cloth is immersed in water after one tumble, off the machine for 30 minutes ( My machine has only 10 minutes soak option ) then power on the machine again.

3 If the clothing is stinking with the smell, use an antiseptic lotion (like Dettol) in the washing cycle. Many people vouch for this. One problem is, you may not like the strong antiseptic smell. You will need to rinse the clothing thoroughly in fresh water to remove the antiseptic smell and dry in the sun.But if the sweat smell is overwhelmingly bad this is a solution.

4 Alternatively, you can soak the sweaty clothes in a bucket with water mixed with two -three teaspoons of white vinegar. Soak for half an hour. Wring it out and put the clothes in the wash. Another great option is to soak in oxygen bleach solution. This is supposed to be a wonder remedy for BO on clothes.

A thorough wash in the washing machine with a good quality detergent can remove most fresh sweat smells. Ensure that the washing machine is not overloaded. If the clothes do not have space in the machine to be tumbled properly and washed, the odour and sweat would not go. Also for really sweaty clothes add one more rinse cycle if your machine allows that.Take out from the machine as soon as the wash is complete to be hanged. Hang the washed clothes out in the sunshine and clean air to dry. It is better to  skip the spin dryer

6 The fabric conditioners available in the markets have such lovely smell. You can put a capful in the final rinse for a lingering smell. But I am a little concerned about using them daily in the wash especially because everyone in our house are allergic. You can add a teaspoon of vinegar in the final rinse water for a more natural remedy. The foul odour of vinegar will fade when the cloth dries.

7 For stubborn sweat smells which do not go away with washing – Some people have had success with Baking soda – that magical all purpose cure for all problems  (it is even supposed to cure cancer!). Just make a thick paste of baking soda with water and spread it on the sweaty places. Wait for 10-15 minutes before putting the clothes to wash.

8 Another remedy I have read about is to use crushed aspirin tablets  and spreading it just like baking soda on the sweaty area.  All these are harmless chemicals which would not harm your body in any way. Checkout this post for more ideas like this.

vodka for sweat smell removal

9 If you keep alchohol at home and have a bottle of Vodka and do not mind using it for any other purpose than rejuvenation or whatever you intend to get from a swig or two, use it on sweat – it is a surefire remedy for sweat smells – Use 1:3 ratio of vodka:water and spray on the area before washing.

10 Use Borax powder to remove sweat smell – Just mix Borax powder with some water and a drop of lemongrass essential oil. Keep in a spray bottle. Spritz on the sweat areas before wash.

11 For white clothes with sweaty smell , a good bleach diluted and soaked will work to destroy the bacteria and render the clothes white again ( the yellow sweat stain will vanish with the bleach). If you are averse to use of such chemicals, you can try lemon juice. It is supposed to be bleaching and the lemon smell will take away the sweat smell.

12 Washing soda has been used for a long time for stubborn smells. Just add some teaspoons in the wash.

13 If sweat smell  is still there, use the fabric brush on the area. But you have to realize that hard scrubbing brushes may destroy the texture of the fabric surface.

14 Another extreme step is to boil the cloth – if the smell is awful and everything you have done dose not seem to work – keep the cloth ( if it is cotton or a fabric that is OK with heat) on a stainless steel pot with boiling water for 10 minutes. This is ideal for smelly kitchen towels and white shirts with odor; removes the color and removes odor . You may have to use fabric conditioner afterwards.

15 Perspiration stains are a direct result of sweat – those dreaded yellow stains. You can try to remove them with ammonia. Mix one table spoon ammonia in one cup of water and apply. Check out the Stain removal guide for more tips like this. One easy tip is not to wear light coloured clothes if you sweat heavily. Darker shades show less of the sweat stains.

Top Tip

Want to avoid long-lasting sweat odor on your clothes? The longer you leave sweaty garments in the laundry basket, the harder it is to remove stubborn perspiration smells from your clothes. Damp and sweaty clothes can also breed bacteria when you leave them unwashed, leaving clothes even smellier.

In hot climates like the Philippines, perspiration is an unavoidable part of daily life! This article will tell you how to remove sweat odor on clothes effectively.

Sweating is our body’s natural way of maintaining a regular temperature. However, in a hot and humid climate ­­– thanks to a build up of perspiration, deodorant or antiperspirant, and detergent – sweat odor can linger on clothing. This means that no matter how carefully you launder them; it can be impossible to get your garments smelling fresh.

Follow these useful tips on how to remove sweat odor from clothes, so they smell clean and fresh even on the hottest days of the year.

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How to Remove Perspiration Odor from Clothes

Pre-treat problem areas

  • Sweat odor and perspiration stains can build up on your clothes, particularly in areas such as the armpits, groin, and neck. By pre-treating the stains, you will remove the perspiration odor at the source. To look for build up, turn garments inside out and check the fabric for discoloration or a slightly greasy or waxy texture.
  • White vinegar can help to neutralize and remove perspiration odor from clothes. Add one cup of white vinegar to a tub of warm, clean water, and soak garments for two or three hours before you wash them in the machine on their usual cycle.

Remove Stubborn Perspiration Odors from Clothes with Aspirin

  • Really stubborn sweat odor stains can be a headache, so grab an aspirin! Not just for aches and pains, the salicylic acid in aspirin will penetrate deep into the fabric to break down the proteins in the stain. Crush a couple of uncoated aspirin tablets and mix with warm water to form a thick paste. Work the paste directly into the stain, rubbing gently so as not to damage the fibres. Leave to sit for up to one hour, then launder your clothes as usual.
  • Remember, before using any new cleaning method, you should always test it out on an inconspicuous area, such as an inside hem or cuff.
Key Steps
  1. Pre-treat sweat odor stains using a white vinegar soak. Try aspirin to break down stubborn perspiration stain build up.
  2. Use a fragranced laundry detergent, such as Surf, to removeperspiration odor from clothes.
  3. Avoid using a tumble drier, which can lock stubborn sweat odor into fabric.

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