If you’re an active person who likes to work out and do physical activities, or you're just a guy who has smelly pits, you may have noticed that some shirts trap odor even after you’ve washed them. You’re probably wondering, “How do I get the BO smell out of my t-shirts and dress shirts?” There’s no need to be embarrassed because this is a common problem that a lot of people have… and there are many solutions to get rid of the odor.
In this article, you’ll learn a few tips and tricks on how to remove underarm odor from clothes so you can wear them with confidence each time. But first, let’s talk about body odor. What causes body odor and why does it stick to shirts?
When your body temperature rises, your apocrine glands produce sweat to release some of that heat. The sweat then interacts with the bacteria that are already on your skin. This interaction often results in an unappealing odor, and it is the most common cause of body odor.
However, some people experience body odor that is caused by a medical condition called bromhidrosis.
When the bacteria on your skin are embedded into the fabric of your shirt, the body odor (BO) that it produces also sticks to your clothing. The secret to getting sweat smell out of shirts is to kill the bacteria that lead to it.
Now that you know where body odor comes from and why it sticks to shirts, let’s talk about solutions. Here are the six most effective ways on how to get sweat smell out of shirts:
The most obvious solution on how to get underarm smell out of clothes is to wash them immediately. You want to remove the bacteria from your shirts before they have a chance to cling onto the fabric.
The secret to getting sweat smell out of shirts is to kill the bacteria that lead to it.
Although this is the easiest and quickest way to address the problem, it is not the most efficient or environmentally sound solution. Most of us only do our laundry once or twice a week to conserve water and to fit it in our busy schedules. If this is not the best solution for you, that’s okay. There are still five other ways to get rid of the smell from your shirts.
Note: After performing a rigorous workout or physical activity, you can choose to wash your workout clothes immediately. There are some clothes that you just have to wash as soon as you take them off. Alternatively, you can plan your laundry time around your most intense workout sessions so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Here’s a trick that not a lot of people know: If you can’t wash your sweaty clothes immediately, use your freezer. Yes, you read that right. Freezing your sweaty clothes can eliminate odor because the low temperature destroys the bacteria that cause it. If you want a more creative way on how to remove underarm odor from shirts, you can put them in a Ziploc and stick them in the freezer until you’re ready to do your laundry.
Baking soda is not only great for baking and cooking; it is also a natural deodorizer that absorbs and eliminates unpleasant smells. Because baking soda is an alkaline, it cancels out sweaty odors that are usually acidic. Moreover, it draws in the natural oils from your skin that transfer onto your clothes, which is another reason why bacteria and smells get trapped in the fabric.
Just add a cup of baking soda into the washing machine when you’re doing a load of laundry. Alternatively, you can sprinkle and rub baking soda on the underarms of your shirts (both inside and outside) if you’re not ready to wash them.
White vinegar is another common ingredient that you probably already have in your pantry. Aside from cooking, you can also use it to remove BO from your shirts, especially stubborn smells that don’t go away even after several washes.
Combine a cup of white vinegar with half a gallon of cold water and soak your shirts for about 15 to 20 minutes before washing them. Even though white vinegar also has an unpleasant smell, it’s easy to get rid of detergent and fabric conditioner. You will notice after doing your laundry that the white vinegar smell is completely gone.
As you already know, the key to removing body odor from shirts is to eliminate the bacteria that have clung onto the fabric. Lemon juice contains citric acid that has antibacterial properties. Therefore, it can get rid of stubborn smells by directly attacking the source. It also breaks down your natural body oil which, as mentioned earlier, is one of the culprits that embed smell into the fabric. So instead of masking the smell like a fabric conditioner would, it actually removes the oil that traps the bacteria that causes the smell.
To use lemon juice, grab a lemon, cut it in half, and directly squeeze out the juice into the laundry machine. You can also dilute it in water first just to distribute it more evenly.
Regular laundry detergents use chemicals that are not friendly to the environment. These chemicals are also not good for the fabric of your clothes in the long run—they lead to the deterioration of the fabric, which shortens the lifespan of your clothes. Moreover, they often mask the smell that sticks to your shirts, instead of eliminating it.
Regular laundry detergents often mask the smell that sticks to your shirts, instead of eliminating it.
If you want to lengthen the wearability of your clothes and effectively remove BO from your shirts, use a natural laundry detergent with antibacterial ingredients like baking soda and lemon juice. These products are cruelty-free and organic so you know that they are gentle enough for your clothes.
We’ve highlighted some of the most popular, effective and natural ways to get BO out of shirts. However, if you want a different solution to remove the unwanted smell from your clothes, try out an Ejis sweat proof undershirt (buy in our shop or on Amazon).
The fabric fibers of all Ejis undershirts are permanently infused with real silver. This process keeps you feeling - and smelling - fresh all day long… and it keeps the BO smell off of your shirts! Check out our selection of Ejis sweat proof undershirts, available in micro modal and cotton fabrics.
To learn more about keeping your laundry fresh, check out our blog “Laundry Hacks for Smelly Clothes.”
*Do not use vinegar when laundering any Ejis sweat proof product; it can damage the sweat proof layer.