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How To Remove Sweat Smells From Clothes

August 13, 2023

Activewear is great for workouts. They’re made from synthetic fabrics, which is not only lightweight but is also durable with moisture-wicking abilities.

Like all clothing, however, it can get smelly, especially if you’ve been exercising at the gym.

Don’t worry, though, because it’s possible to remove the musty smells – you just need to know how and that’s exactly what we’ll be going over below.

Keep reading to learn more!

The Best Ways to Remove Sweat Smells from Clothes

There are several ways to fix sweaty clothes – from pretreating the fabric with detergent to using DIY options such as rubbing alcohol and vinegar.

Pre-treat the Problem Area with Detergent

how to remove sweat smells from clothesStart by turning the garment inside out – that will allow you to check for any discoloration or greasy textures. Pay extra attention to the neck, armpits, and groin areas.

Fill a tub or a sink with warm water. Mix in a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent and gently agitate the liquid with your hand to mix.

Place your garment in the tub, making sure that the problem area is completely submerged. Allow it to soak for a couple of hours (more if necessary).

Wash the item as normal either by hand or by machine.

Use White Vinegar to Get Rid of Sweat Odors

how to remove sweat odors with vinegar

Vinegar is a great alternative if your clothes smell musty. There’s more than one way to use it as well.

Soak the Garment in White Vinegar

Mix one cup of vinegar with a bit of water in the sink. Place your garment in once the solution is thoroughly mixed. Allow it to soak for at least one hour.

After soaking, rinse the vinegar off with clean water. Wash as normal by hand or by the washing machine – that should leave your clothes smelling fresh.

Add White Vinegar to the Washing Machine

You can also add vinegar to the washing machine. Instead of laundry detergent, pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar directly into the basin. If necessary, you can repeat the wash cycle with detergent afterward.

Apply Rubbing Alcohol to the Problem Area

Rubbing alcohol is often used to clean and disinfect minor cuts and wounds.

But did you know that it can also be used to eliminate smells? It will kill the odor-causing bacteria on the fabric, therefore eliminating the odor.

After washing and drying the garment, simply spray the problem area with rubbing alcohol. Unlike vinegar and detergent, you don’t want to apply the rubbing alcohol onto damp clothes – it works best if the fabric is dry.

Pre-Treating With Hydrogen Peroxide

remove sweat smells with hydrogen peroxideHydrogen peroxide is similar to rubbing alcohol in that it is typically used as an antiseptic on the skin. However, it can also be used to tackle stubborn stains and odors.

For the best results, use a three percent solution (you can find it at nearly any drugstore).

Fill a small tub or container with warm water pour in half to one cup of hydrogen peroxide, and swirl to mix.

Place your clothes in the tub, making sure that the fabric is properly submerged in the mixture. Allow it to soak for at least one hour (overnight is fine too if the item is excessively dirty).

Check to see if the odor is still present after soaking. If it is, repeat the above steps. Like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide will effectively kill all of the bacteria that are causing the musty smell.

Wash the item as normal with detergent after pre-treating it with hydrogen peroxide.

Applying Baking Soda to Your Clothes

The great thing about this method is that most of us already have the main ingredient at home – and it can be highly effective.

Creating a Paste

In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon of the powder with a bit of warm water to create a paste.

Identify the problem area on your garment and apply the paste to the fabric using a soft brush or your finger.

If necessary, turn the item inside out. Allow the paste to dry completely; it shouldn’t take more than an hour.

Once it’s dry, brush off the powder with a brush. Wash the garment as normal with detergent.

Using Baking Soda with a Large Bag

Place the garment into a large garbage bag and pour in half a cup of baking soda. Close the bag and shake it vigorously for 5 minutes – that will distribute the powder onto your clothes. Allow it to sit in the bag for at least 15 minutes.

Remove the garment from the bag afterward and check for any smell. Remember to brush off the powder before putting it in the washing machine!

Create a Paste with Uncoated Aspirin

removing odors with aspirinBuy a bottle of non-coated aspirin. Take out a few tablets and grind them into a powder in a small bowl.

Add a cup of warm water and mix to create a paste. For extra deodorizing power, you can also add a teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Using an old toothbrush or your finger, carefully apply the paste onto the problem area (e.g. underarm, groin, neck, etc). Make sure the spot is completely covered.

Let the paste sit on the fabric for at least 30 minutes. The salicylic acid in the aspirin will penetrate the fabric, allowing it to break down the stain, which in return, will eliminate the smell.

Launder your garments as normal either by hand or by machine.

Use Table Salt

Salt is incredibly versatile and when used properly, can help to get rid of musty-smelling clothes.

Start by filling a tub or a container with warm water. Add half a cup of table salt and dissolve the compound by mixing the liquid with your hands.

Place the garment in the tub once the solution is thoroughly mixed, ensuring that the problem area is completely submerged in the salt mixture.

Allow the garment to soak for at least 30 minutes (longer if necessary). The salt should help to lift the odor.

Launder the item as normal.

Tips on How to Prevent Sweat Smells on Clothes

Here are a few things that you can do to prevent musty smells from developing on your clothes.

Air Out Your Clothes

prevent sweat smells by airing out clothingAiring out your clothes will help prevent the build-up of moisture, something that contaminants love.

Never leave your dirty clothes in a pile on the floor – that will only encourage the odors from developing, which will lead to a sweat smell. Hang them up instead.

Do Not Use Too Much Detergent

Laundry detergent is great, but you don’t want to add too much to your clothes, otherwise, they can do more harm than good.

For one thing, it’ll cause the fabric to cling to grime and dirt, both of which can result in odors.

The same goes for fabric softener; using too much can also cause odors to develop.

Never Leave Your Laundry in the Machine For Long Periods

Take your laundry out as soon as possible once the wash cycle is complete.

Never leave them in the washing machine overnight; the moisture levels inside the washer can easily cause foul smells to develop within the fabric.

Wash Damp Clothing Immediately

Damp clothing should be washed immediately – that will help to prevent the development of odors. At the very least, let them air dry in a well-ventilated area.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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