How to Get Sweat Smell Out of Clothes

February 21, 2020 5 min read

how to get sweat smell out of clothes

You probably first noticed a lingering stench on your clothes when you were a teen, especially on your gym clothes. That’s when body odor starts to be a part of your life. While having a little sweat smell is perfectly normal, it can be particularly upsetting when the smell lingers on your clothes, even after washing. To prevent any further embarrassment or frustration, it is essential that you learn how to get sweat smell out of clothes. In this article, we will discuss exactly how to do it with four easy treatments and four simple tips.

What causes body odor?

Body odor, or sweat smell, is typically caused by the interaction of your sweat and bacteria on your skin. Sweat is typically odorless and evaporates quickly. However, when you sweat excessively, the sweat builds up and bacteria quickly find the opportunity to multiply and break down the sweat, making it acidic and smelly. That acidic smell is what is known as body odor – or sweat smell. Keep reading to learn how to get sweat smell out of clothes.

4 Treatments to Remove Sweat Smell

While there may be several reasons for your body odor, figuring out how to get body odor out of clothes can be difficult. Here are four treatments to try at home to effectively remove sweat odor from clothes.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a household ingredient that is typically used to cook and bake. However, it is also widely used to remove sweat odor from clothes. This deodorizing quality is due to the alkaline nature of baking soda, which reacts with the acidity in most sweat-soaked items. Its alkalinity also pulls up the oils that were transferred from your skin to your clothes, leaving them completely odor-free.

To use, mix in a cup of baking soda along with your laundry soap when putting your clothes in the washing machine. You can also rub some in the armpits of your shirts if you do not want to wash them immediately.

Just like baking soda, salt is an alkaline substance that effectively neutralizes the acid in perspiration.

2. Salt

Salt may be one of the most widely used substances in the world. It is used for many purposes, including cooking, preserving, glass making, water treatment, making petroleum additives, and more. One lesser-known use for salt is getting BO out of clothes, which is something it does very well. Just like baking soda, salt is an alkaline substance that effectively neutralizes the acid in perspiration.

To remove sweat smell from your clothes, pour up to four cups of salt in the washing machine while loading it up. By the time the spin cycle is done, the smell of sweat will have dissipated.

3. Vinegar

Another common household ingredient used for cooking and for sweat smell removal is white vinegar. It is particularly useful when your shirt has an especially stubborn smell that lingers even after several washes.

To use, add a cup of white vinegar to about two liters of water and soak your clothes in it for about 20 minutes, then wash clean.

4. Lemon Juice

Among the household items already suggested, the common factor has been their alkalinity. However, some items can be used for their acidic qualities. For instance, the citric acid in lemon juice contains antibacterial properties and when applied to clothes, directly attacks the odor forming bacteria inside them. As with baking soda, lemon juice also breaks down body oils and removes them from clothes.

To use, simply cut a lemon and squeeze the juice into the soap section of your washing machine before washing your clothes.

You may also want to make sure your washing machine is clean. Over time, your washing machine may accumulate build up from detergent and hard minerals, or a musty smell from not being aired out after each wash. 

getting BO out of clothes

4 Tips for Sweat Smell Removal

If you have been wondering how to remove sweat smell from clothes, the four treatments we outlined above should help. Here are four tips to prevent odor from settling into your clothes in the first place.

1. Wash immediately.

Coming home from a basketball game where you and your team dominated the court? Or perhaps you had a particularly hot and crowded commute home from work. Take your sweat-soaked clothes and immediately throw them in the washing machine when you get home. This stops the sweat, odor and odor-causing bacteria before it has a chance to permeate into the fabric. If you can’t immediately wash your clothes, keep reading for additional tips on how to remove perspiration odor from clothes.

3. Avoid fabric softener.

Many people like to use fabric softeners in their clothes, hoping to make them feel softer, more fragrant and static-free. However, fabric softener is probably the worst thing you can use to treat sweaty clothes. When used on sweaty clothes, softeners have the unwanted effect of trapping the bacteria and odor inside them, making them smell even worse. Fabric softeners may also compromise the moisture-wicking power of some fabrics. What is worse, fabric softener can also break down the stretchy nature of clothing containing Spandex or Lycra.

3. Use the recommended amount of detergent.

Using more than the recommended amount of laundry detergent is not the best way to get sweat smell out of clothes. When used in excess, detergent may get stuck in the fabric, adding to the buildup of bacteria and smells. Additionally, using too much detergent increases the water's viscosity, making it more difficult for the water to penetrate the fabric and remove dirt and odors. To avoid this, only use the recommended amount when washing.

Fabric softeners trap bacteria and odor on dirty clothes making them smell even worse.

4. Let sweaty clothes air dry before throwing into the hamper.

If your clothes are not too soaked in sweat when you take them off, you do not necessarily have to wash them immediately. However, you will want to make sure that they are thoroughly dried out before you throw them into the hamper with the rest of your clothes. Putting a sweat-soaked tee into a hamper with other clothes will cause the rest of the clothes to take on the smell from that one item. Instead of just flinging your sweaty tee into the hamper, turn it inside out and put it somewhere to dry out first.

Another great way to prevent sweat smell lingering on your clothes is to wear an Ejis sweat proof basics. The fabric fibers of all Ejis clothing are permanently infused with real silver to keep you feeling - and smelling - fresh all day long. Check out our selection of sweat proof, anti-odor products (buy in our shop or on Amazon).

(Note: Some of these treatments are not safe to use on EJIS sweat proof undershirts. Avoid using products containing bleach, vinegar and lemons as they can damage the sweat proof layer. )


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