After a sweaty workout session or a busy day, there’s nothing quite like getting home and jumping into the shower to wash off the sweat and odor. Unfortunately, your clothes from the day may not wash up as well as your body. Although they’ve gone through an entire wash cycle, have you ever found that they just don’t look or smell that good?
Body odor can often settle into clothes, especially for those who experience excessive sweating. To compound the problem, the stench of body odor tends to linger on synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon... popular fabrics for workout clothing. Sometimes a wash cycle with regular detergent is not enough to freshen up your clothes.
We’ve compiled this list of the best detergents for sweaty clothes and body odor, to help you freshen up those clothes you invested in. If you’re looking for the best laundry detergent for body odor, keep reading for 9 highly rated contenders. We’ve also featured a couple of boosters that you can add to your regular detergent.
This post was originally published in July 2020, and was updated and expanded in May 2021.
If you're looking for household brand names you know and trust, there's no better combo than Arm & Hammer Plus Oxiclean detergent. Arm & Hammer works on odors – just like their primary baking soda product – and OxiClean helps remove stains, even sweat stains from workout clothes and dress clothes. Buy on Amazon.
Biokleen's natural sport laundry detergent is a great choice if you're eco-conscious, though removing some of the stronger chemicals in other detergents on this list makes it less effective in removing odors, according to some reviewers.
This one is worth trying though if you're trying to reduce the chemicals in products you use; it also comes in possibly the most appealing scent of any detergent on this list: Lavender & Eucalyptus. Buy on Amazon.
One small scoop of Defunkify Active Wash releases its odor crushing power. This product qualifies as the best laundry detergent for removing body odor due to the strength of its high-performance formula. Defunkify Active Wash uses enzymes to deep clean any build-up of old odors. It’s also free from fragrances, dyes, and fillers. Buy on Amazon.
Hex Performance Advanced Laundry Detergent penetrates even ultra tight-knit fabrics, like workout clothes. This detergent goes beyond cleaning and eliminating odor. It actually creates an invisible shield to protect threads against future odors, stain re-absorption, and damage (like pilling and loss of elasticity). Buy on Amazon.
If you're looking for another option that's less heavy on the harsh chemicals, the line of concentrated liquid detergents from Method are good contenders. Their Free + Clear scentless detergent is highly rated but their scented detergents will be better at tackling odors, lifting stains with plant-based treatment, and adding a nice scent (like Ginger Mango or Sage) too. Buy on Amazon.
Another of the best deodorants for body odor is Nathan Sport Wash Detergent. This detergent takes care of body odor without irritating additives, like dye and fragrance. The formula does not leave any residue (where odor-causing bacteria tend to reside) and the all-natural ingredients recondition fabrics. The cap and spout bottle design also minimizes any mess. Buy on Amazon.
OUT ProWash Workwear Odor Eliminator Detergent helps to remove heavy-duty odors and stains from all types of fabrics. The detergent is great to use on activewear, uniforms, towels, and more. The formula is made to fight tough stains and remove bad odors, transforming sweaty fabrics into fresh-smelling laundry. Buy on Amazon.
Persil ProClean possibly the best best laundry detergent for sweaty clothes. This powerful detergent is tough on stains with a thorough deep cleaning formula. The stain-fighting enzymes and fresh scent will return your clothes to their original splendor.
The detergent is safe for colors, whites and can be efficiently used for everyday laundry as well as your super sweaty apparel. An added bonus is that it works in all types of washing machines. Buy on Amazon.
Rockin’ Green Platinum Series Active Wear is a great laundry detergent for sweaty clothes. This all-natural detergent uses plant-derived enzymes with an extra kick of tea tree oil, a known antimicrobial. There are no phosphates, bleach, brighteners, dyes, or parabens.
The formula was specially designed by athletes to combat odors in high-tech sports brands. This is also a perfect choice for those following a vegan lifestyle, as the formula is plant-based and never tested on animals. Buy on Amazon.
Roux Maison presents the best laundry detergent for body odor made for specialty fabrics and fine washables. This is great as an alternative to expensive dry cleaning that is typically required for fabrics like wool, cashmere, and silk. The formula is all-natural with a neutral pH, meaning that you can apply it using just your fingers. Buy on Amazon.
Sport Suds Laundry Detergent works hard to eliminate deeply entrenched odors, and is perfect to use on technical sports fabrics. The detergent is made from natural ingredients without added perfumes, dyes, softeners, or fillers. The hypoallergenic formula makes it suitable for those with sensitive skin. Sports Suds gently but thoroughly clean clothes without leaving any residue, to avoid harboring future odors. Buy on Amazon.
Sweat X Sport Extreme is one of our picks for the best detergent for smelly clothes. While the product is made for activewear, it effectively removes questionable odors from all fabric types. It also has the added benefit of protecting and restoring fabric performance, such as moisture-wicking and breathability properties. The specially designed formula uses NANOVASIVE™ technology to exfoliate lingering sweat stains to transform sweaty garments to fresh ones. Buy on Amazon.
Tide Plus with Febreeze Sport Laundry Detergent combats stubborn stains and can remove lingering odors even up to one week old. The detergent boasts a new formula using scent-renewal technology, which releases freshness as you move. Tide Plus is great for use with athletic wear. It is available in two formulas: regular and high-efficiency washing machines. Buy on Amazon.
Vapor Fresh Sports Laundry Detergent earns its place in the running for best detergent for body odor. The hypoallergenic formula is safe for sensitive skin, yet effective for all types of clothes including gym clothes. This detergent doesn’t contain any additives, which can clog up wicking fabrics and cause bad odors. Buy on Amazon.
Win Sports Detergent is perfect for those who sweat frequently, as well as parents with active kids. Win’s formula removes the oils that cling to fabrics and cause bad odor, so your clothes will smell good for the next wear, over and over again. They even have a formula with powerful stain removers designed especially for teenagers. Buy on Amazon.
For a little extra help with particularly musty and sweaty items, OxiClean Odor Blasters is a strong choice. The formula is chlorine-free and safe to use with colored fabrics. OxiClean can remove the toughest of odors and replace them with a crisp and clean scent. It works for any type of washing machine. Buy on Amazon.
Tide Odor Rescue In-Wash Laundry Booster goes straight to the source to eliminate robust odors. The formula fights stains and odors at the fiber level when added to detergent. Buy on Amazon.
As you can see, there are many laundering products available to help get odors out of your clothes. We've also collected a few easy tips and treatments to remove sweat smell from clothing.
If you are struggling with body odor and want to protect your clothing from it, you may also benefit from clothing designed to fight odors, such as Ejis basics. All of our undershirts, boxer briefs, and dress socks have silver anti-odor technology to combat odor-causing bacteria. (Buy in our shop or on Amazon.)
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