Remove Perspiration Odor from Clothes

lov2gardenSeptember 2, 2005

My job requires me to be in and out of car. When it's really hot and humid, I can't find any deodorant to help me. I've tried Mitchum, etc. Even worse, I noticed that there was a lingering odor under the arms of my knit tops even after they were washed.

The good news is I found a way to get that lingering odor out of my clothes---by adding 4 cups of table salt along with my detergent to a full load of clothes. After they agitated a few minutes, I turned the washer off and let them soak overnight. Next morning, I turned the washer back on and let it finish.

Yayyyyyy, all of the perspiration odor is gone from my clothes! A nice, cheap, easy way to solve the problem. Now I'll be picking up the large box of salt at Costco.

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Baking soda also works

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 8:22AM
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Would white vinegar help?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 7:29PM
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Unfortunately I think salt would be very hard on the washer.
Baking soda might be a better choice or a baking soda based detergent.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 2:46PM
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I'm not sure how salt vs baking soda affects the washer. Fortunately, the weather has cooled off and I only had to do this once with 2 loads. I'd be glad to use baking soda. I read that vinegar wouldn't work because perspiration and vinegar are both acids and you need a base to neutralize it. For future reference, how much baking soda would it take to do the job? It took 4 cups of salt for a large load.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 8:57AM
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I am afraid salt would eventually damage your washer. I always heard that ammonia does in fact get perspiration stains out of clothes. I also think vinegar even though it is acid might work too. I would try both of those first before baking soda. Use about a half or quarter cup of ammonia, do NOT mix with chlorine bleach. big BOOM!
And vinegar about a cup. Try those and let us know.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 10:50PM
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Something that works for some people in eliminating the "source" of the problem, is to have several different deodorants and wear a different one each day.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 11:41AM
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I've heard the ammonia trick works, too. If you have excessive perspiration you might try an antiperspirant designed for excessive sweat. There is one called Certain Dri.

There are also prescription antiperspirants for people with hyperhidrosis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Certain Dri

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 4:12PM
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My husband is a seriously sweaty guy and beyond deoderant, I pay attention to the type of fabrics he wears. Trying to avoid polyester/acrylic and sticking to natural fabrics.

Synthetics seem to hold the smell in a bad way. I have no problem with cotton.

What detergent and water temperature are you using? I don't need extra additives to get the smell out.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 6:52AM
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Try 20 Mule Team Borax, if it can get urine smell out, it can get that out.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 10:24AM
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You would not have to soak in the washing machine; you could soak in the sink or a bucket. Also, Carbona makes a product which supposedly works against perspiration. It's the same one which works on coffee/tea. I find them at the grocery store.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carbona

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 9:04AM
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A replier cautioned not to mix chlorine bleach and ammonia to avoid a "big boom" Yes, that's possible. More likely is the release of chlorine gas which can quickly kill if inhaled. Many have died from it. Best never to mix anything with chl. bleach.

Here is a link that might be useful: Danger of Ammonia/bleach mixing

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 6:23PM
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Thanks for posting all thie tips..reading this has helped quite a bit! :0)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 4:28PM
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I use Oxyclean for all organic related stains and smells. I'm using it right now to take the skunk smell off my dog.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 11:17PM
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Does anyone know if these tips apply to washing dark colored clothing? I have several black shirts that I'm struggling with perspiration odor even after washing them. I use the hottest water recommended for them and still they aren't coming out clean. I would like to try these tips (putting baking soda and vinegar in the wash and/or sprinkling borax in the wash), but I wasn't sure it would affect the color of my clothes?

Please advise and thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 7:04PM
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What about clothes that require dry cleaning? I have a wonderful black silk mix turtleneck sweater that I cannot get the odor out - for some reason, it's the only one with this problem out of the several different ones I have (same sweater/manufacturer/style, just different colors). I once got a tip from a sales rep at Vanity Fair magazine, who said placing the magazine inside a plastic grocery bag inside my freezer would kill the assorted odors from all the perfume ad inserts, and that worked, but I haven't tried it on the sweater yet (it's still packed away with the winter clothes).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 11:07AM
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20 Mule team borax is baking soda unrefined, I use it in my wash with soap and my clothes smell good and are brighter.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:38PM
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So do you use borax for both dark and light loads of clothes? I just wanted to see if anyone else has used these tips on dark colored clothing before I try it.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 7:11PM
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Borax and baking soda are different compounds. You can interchange them in many of the same cleaning formulas, but never ever eat anything containing borax.

Yes, I have used Borax [or Borateem] when washing dark materials. I am careful -as when using any powder in the washer- to be sure the powder is diluted in the water before adding the clothes, and that the clothing is very loosely packed in the machine. If in doubt, I use the high water setting for a medium-sized load. I use borax in conjunction with detergent, and put 1 cup vinegar in the rinse water.

debrastl - the problem with washing a silk mix garment is in determining whether or not it is washable. The material itself might be washable while the threads or decorations are not, and thus dry cleaning would be required. I hand or machine-wash all my silk and silk-blends with no problem, but you have to be willing to risk total loss of the garment in order to find out if it can be washed. I use woolite or sofsoap in the wash water, do a plain rinse, and then put a mild dilution of vinegar in the next rinse, and lay flat to dry. The smell in your sweater might be due to the dye used in coloring, if so, the vinegar rinse *might* be of help. I have never used borax when washing silk, and would be hesitant to try it... probably because I only use borax for the really dirty clothes.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:21PM
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I cut the amount of salt per load back to 1 cup and it did the trick just as well. A long time ago, when bleeding madras first came out, adding salt to the water was recommended to help set the dye. I don't see how mildly salted water can damage the washer or hoses.

At any rate, I have tried the new Clinical Strength Secret and it has completely stopped the problem at the source.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:39PM
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debrastl, you might try puting charcoal, not the charcoal with the lighter fluid built in, in a used butter dish with holes punched in the lid, in a bag with the sweater, and seal it shut for a few days. The charcoal will absorb the oder. I once had milk leak in the back of my car, all over the carpet. I thouroghly cleaned it,even tho it was Feb & freezing out. Two days later, all you could smell was spoiled milk. I used the charcoal in the car, and a few days later the smell was gone. Later that summer, even sitting out in the sun in 90+ heat, the smell never came back. Just be careful that the charcoal dust doesn't get on the sweater.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 8:49AM
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For me, the best way to remove tough perspiration odor from clothes is good old fashioned vinegar and baking soda. I had such a tough time removing those tough, set-in odor on the armpits. But a simple soaking in vinegar, baking soda, and some water worked. I soaked for 1/2 hour to an hour and then throw in the wash. My shirts were either cotton, polyester, or lycra. Not sure if this would be too harsh on silk. I haven't tried it yet.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 11:50PM
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I remember from junior high, if you mix vinegar (acidic) with baking soda (basic) , it creates a chemibal reaction and foams up. Not that it's dangerous, but it could get messy.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 9:19AM
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Jannie, mixing vinegar (acidic) with ammonia (basic) would create a chemical reaction, too. I don't know how strong it would be, but the two would work against one another.

Better to use very diluted ammonia in the wash and use the vinegar to restore the ph balance in the rinse.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:47AM
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I am wondering about a combination of fresh hydrogen peroxide and baking soda along with dish detergent and letting the clothes soak. If it can get out skunk smell (works great!) I don't see why it won't get out residual sweat smells.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 7:06AM
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Hi guys, I'm currently living in a very warm country where sweating is very common over here. Some of my cotton shirt( most of them are black in color) would tend to smell after a few hours of wearing them. Especially at the back of my shirt. It's a very bad oder. Any advice you guys can give to remove the stench?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:54AM
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Try powdering with baking soda and carry an extra shirt.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Today I filled my washing machine with cold water to which I added a concoction of 1 cup of vinegar, a bit of Oxyclean and some Arm & Hammer laundry detergent. I then added 4 well worn and somewhat faded black T-shirts that had a funky smell. Well... the stink is gone but 3 of the 4 shirts are so splotchy now that I'll never be able to wear them! One escaped having the color ruined... but of course it was the one that already had some holes in it. Ha! Oh well, I can always use some more grease rags in the garage... So it goes...

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 6:06PM
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Amesville, I've been sticking to adding only good old salt and it doesn't change any colors of the clothing.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 7:32PM
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thank you dchall. i tried the oxyclean on my daughter's black wool blazer. it had a horrible perspiration odor. i sprayed the oxyclean stain remover on the inside and outside then let it air dry and the smell is gone. it's a miracle. it just went thru her whole closet and sprayed all her woolens. i tried the natures miracle, the vinegar and water and dry cleaning twice, i even put it in the freezer for an hour hoping to kill the smell. the oxyclean spray was only thing that worked. thank you, thank you. replacing her clothes would have cost me a fortune! poor girl sweats a lot.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 8:22AM
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My husband had the same problem when I cut back on my Tide. I just went back to my normal amount. Someone told me that All laundry soap will not remove the smell.

We are either trying to save money or falling for the hype the manufacturers put out, cutting back on soap and using specialty items. Soap and water cleans every thing in my house except for the soap scum at the base of the shower. I have been skipping that area when I wipe it down after a shower. When I get that off I will make sure I get the corners and won't need the Fantastic.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:40PM
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I don't know if it's true, but I heard Tide and Borax had the same detergent-boosting compound. Regardless, I react badly to both. I have a lot of allergies and sensitivities. I'm trying Oxy-Clean. It got most of the odor out of an impossible nylon/spandex blend. If it doesn't make me itch I'll use it on all my problem clothing.

A word of advice: if you plan to try a new combination of chemicals, try it first on a single garment you can afford to lose. And someone said it but it bears repeating; never mix chlorine bleach with anything but plain old detergent. It could kill you.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:11PM
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