How to get the stink out of your clothes

image credit unknown! If you know the source let me know!

OK, so this post might be a little TMI for some folks but I feel like I really can’t be the only person who this has had this problem. Today I am offering my expertise on the removal of body odor from clothing. Yes, I know, this is over-sharing at it’s best (worst?) so read on if you dare. If you are too grossed out you can skip this, but remember this post as it will be waiting for you that fateful day you forget to put on deodorant.
I have a few favorite t-shirts. One of my favorite shirts is a vintage Batman tee from the 80’s. I always get compliments on it and wear it often.  At some point in the not so distant past I forgot to put deodorant on when I wore the shirt and then proceeded to wear it for about 3 days straight.  It was a weekend when I was feeling under the weather and barely crawled out of bed  the entire time. Well, sometimes you don’t notice how bad you smell until you shower and you don’t notice how bad your clothes stink until you wash them. Except this shirt. I  washed it several times but noticed the shirt still smelled bad. Even when I was perfectly clean and wearing antiperspirant just wearing the shirt made me smell like I had really bad B.O.! It was just the stink caught in the fabric!  I decided once and for all to get rid of the stench no matter what it took. Here’s what worked:

Baking soda and white vinegar. The Batman and Superman of the kitchen pantry. Is there anything these two can’t do?

First take a small bowl and fill it with plain distilled white vinegar. Take the armpits of your shirt and dip them into the vinegar. Make sure they are thoroughly soaked and then set the shirt aside until the vinegar has air dried.  Once dry, run the dried vinegar areas under hot, hot water until it is rinsed clean. Sniff you shirt. Still stinky? Mine was a bit too so I made a thick paste or baking soda and water and smeared it onto the affected areas.  Let the baking soda paste dry and rinse again under hot water. Then take liquid laundry detergent and apply it straight to the pits of the shirt. Toss it into the machine on a cycle with hot water.

When the laundry cycle is done do a sniff test. My shirt was completely fresh smelling! If you still have lingering smells do the vinegar and baking soda dips again while the shirt is still wet. Don’t put it into the dryer unless you know the smell is gone.  The smell on my shirt was pretty set in.  I had washed and dried it several times before I realized regular laundering was not going to cut it. I’m pretty confident this method will work for  you too. For best results do the vinegar and baking soda as soon as you can once the shirt has become soiled. Got any tips for getting rids of smells? Feel free to share in the comments!

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7 Responses to How to get the stink out of your clothes

  1. Awesome reminder of how vinegar and baking soda are super awesome at cleaning just about everything! Thanks for the how to.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to try this tonight. Right out the dryer, the pits still reek in my husbear's tshirts… Thanks for the tip!


  3. Anonymous says:

    I'll try this on a jacket I got at a vintage store! Oh boy what a surprise to find such an alarming stench! I had to bathe and I didn't even try this jacket on! Luckily it was only $6.00! I hope this works! Also some people are saying aspirin rubbed in to it or added to the wash will also work! If not I'm taking jackets and shirts off my vintage list! Lol!


  4. Anonymous says:

    So the vinegar and baking soda don't discolor the fabric? I, unfortunately, in the last few years, have developed a really stinky problem in the pits of my shirts. I never had this problem before. I am a sweaty person, but regular anti-perspirant seemed to at least control the odor, for the most part, until the last few years. I now use clinical strength stuff, which is doing the trick. But now all my favorite clothing is contaminated with this awful stench that won't quite wash out. Ten minutes after putting the shirt/jacket on, I smell so bad I have actually seen someone step aside when I got too close. 😦 I have been nervous to try anything in fear of ruining my clothes. Yet, I can't wear them because of the odor. I think I have a problem…


  5. no it didn't have any effect on the fabric. No fading or anything! Good luck!


  6. Do you think this method is safe to use on a silk dress I have? It's a “dry clean only” piece….. It's my favorite dress! 😦


  7. Anonymous says:

    Just as a side note, sometimes body odour gets worse because of our diet. An increase in green leafy vegetables and cutting down on suspected culprits like sugar and alcohol can help.


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