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After a few months of doing this in polyester polo shirts (provided by the company), we had a situation on our hands. These same shirts, even after regular laundering, smelled permanently of what I can only describe as rotting death. It was so SO bad, and I had no idea why or how to get rid of it!
I first ran the shirts through my vinegar rinse, which has worked before with mildew, but it didn't completely eliminate the odor. After some internet research, I realized that while synthetic polyester fabric is great for repelling sweat and water, it's not so great at washing. That's also why sweaty wadded up gym clothes reek and get that stale funky smell if you don't wash them right away.
Another thing I was unaware of, is that fabric softener can also leave behind a coating that prevents clothes from being fully cleaned. We don't currently use fabric softener, but we do use dryer sheets, which chemically coats the clothes in a similar way. We've since switched to wool dryer balls, but it still didn't get rid of that stinky smell!
As a last resort, I decided to try yet another method, pretty sure that wouldn't work either. Imagine my surprise when it not only worked, but eliminated the odor 100% — now I refuse to use anything else!
Interested in learning my secret?
How to Remove Odor from Clothes:
Step 1: First, figure out what sort of smell it is. If it's mildewy, use my vinegar method, if it's rotting death kind of stinky, keep following these directions.
Step 2: Isolate stinky clothing and put only those pieces in your washing machine. Fill with HOT water and add detergent as you normally would.
Step 3: The secret de-smelling ingredient is found in a tiny essential oil blend called Purification. Add 5 drops to your washing machine and let wash. This blend neutralizes the smell and then eliminates it entirely!
Step 4: Hang dry, or put in dryer on low with wool dryer balls to eliminate static. Dryer sheets will just add that nasty layer of coating that won't allow the clothing to breathe and maintain it's fresh clean smell.
After our first trial wash, I may or may not have called Joseph multiple times through his work day and pestered him with questions like,
“Did you sweat yet?”
“Are they stinky?”
“Are you sure they don't smell? At all?!”
I'm proud to say these shirts lasted ALL day without a single odor, and I'm able to send them through a handful of regular washes before I have to treat them with oils again. How cool is that?! I was honestly shocked at the difference Purification made, and 5 drops was all it took. No pre-soaking or expensive detergents needed!
Purification is not sold on Amazon or in retail stores (at least not the real stuff), so the best way you can get your hands on a bottle is to follow the instructions on this page. This is by far the most cost-effective way to dip your toes into essential oils and try them for yourself.
Believe me, I am the absolute last person who ever thought I would try essential oils, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how effective they are, and am actually having a lot of fun learning about them, how they work, and what to use them for!
If you liked this post, I have even more cleaning and organizing goodies for you:
- The 10 Best Household Cleaning Products You Have to Try
- 31 Household Hacks to Clean, Streamline and Organize Your Home
- 5 Tools I Use to Organize My Entire Life
- How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes – a super easy trick!
I also wrote a workbook called, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, which shows you how to run a successful home in the 21st century. It’s the resource I WISH I had when I first learned how to manage a home!
What have you tried to remove odor from clothes?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.