can't get rid of body odor in clothes

cheesecurlgurlNovember 15, 2009

My job requires me to wear polo shirts. So i went and bought several shirts that are exactly the same, only different colors. Now the funny thing is, that all the light-colored shirts retain my perspiration odor even after laundering, but the dark colors come out just fine. I checked them, and they are all made of the same material, so what gives? I tried using detergent with Febreeze, but that did nothing. I have a HE washer, so i am not sure what additives are safe to use in it. Does anyone know what I can do and why this happens only to the light colors?

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Hi Cheesecurlgurl, can't tell you why it's only with the lights, but you could try baking soda and the hottest wash the fabric can stand. HTH,

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 9:39PM
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Must be something to do with the dyes that are used in the clothing. Perhaps you should change polo shirt brands.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 9:40PM
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Take some plain old white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray into those areas and saturate the fabric. Then, put them into a plastic bag overnight and let sit. In the morning launder as usual and the perspiration odors and/or stains should be removed from those shirts.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 10:30AM
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Liquid chlorine bleach also removes perspiration odors amazingly well... when used properly, it's generally safe to use on white and pastel-colored cotton shirts as long as they don't contain nylon or spandex.

Follow the directions on the Clorox bottle and for your particular washing machine.

*Never* combine bleach with vinegar or ammonia.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:41AM
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FWIW, I have found that those crystal deodorants eliminate B.O. smell (but not wetness) much, much, much better than standard antiperspirants like Mitchum.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:59AM
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One thing I would recommend is NOT to put any clothes which still have odor in the clothes dryer. Instead, hang them to dry on plastic hangers if you cannot re-wash them immediately.

Dryer heat can "bake in" odors (and stains, OT for this thread), thus making it very difficult, if not impossible, to remove them in the next wash.

The vinegar tip given above is a very good one. I would also recommend that you use at least a half-cup of baking soda when you wash the light-colored shirts, in warm water, not cold, along with your regular detergent.

Let the clothes agitate for a few minutes, then press Pause on the washer to let them soak for at least an hour -- perhaps even overnight. Then press Start on the washer to finish out the wash cycle.

White vinegar in the final rinse (about 1/2 - 1 cup per full load) can also help.

When the clothes are finished and you cannot detect any odor, you might want to hang them on plastic hangers and hang them outside in the fresh air to dry. Then check to be sure the odor is completely gone.

I have done laundry for guys who worked long hours outside in broiling summer heat, and I have had to do these things. They really worked!

I hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 12:40PM
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I would recommend prewash w/extra detergent for every smelier or dirtier load. It works well for us.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:55PM
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My Hubby is a garbage man. For really stinky uniforms, I soak them with a 1/2 to full dose of laundry detergent in a bucket with warm water. Let them soak for a couple of hours to over night, drain, rinse, and launder as usual.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 6:57AM
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Wash at 120F or higher and use 1/4 cup of baking soda in the first rinse.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 3:05PM
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I recommend something easier. Wash in HOT water and Arm & Hammer POWDER detergent ("Clean Burst," if possible. It has baking soda in it. It is wonderful, in my humble opinion.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I'm not messing, I used to soak some of my work clothes in CocaCola before washing. Not only killed odours, but also completely gets rid of grease, oil and anything tough. After seeing what it can do to heavily soiled clothes, I cant bring myself to put inside me any more...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:49AM
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Aidan, how much coke did u use, and for what kind of washer?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 1:38PM
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If your clothes are smelling, you are not using enough laundry detergent. I tried cutting back one time and my husband's shirts were smelling. I went back to using what the box said, no more problem.

I don't understand using things to get rid of smells. Just use more soap. My Dad's clothes always smelled when I ironed them, but there was an excuse for that. Mom had a wringer washer, she washed all of the laundry in one tub of water. When she got a reg. washer no more smells.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 7:01PM
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@vala55, the answer for some body odor is not more detergent. Glad that worked for you but it will not work for everyone. Especially those trying to rid special work out wear of odor. Those fabrics hold on to smells and regular detergent can actually make the problem worse.

I have neighbors who run iron man and they had a huge problem with odor. When they switched to a special detergent for work out wear the problem went away.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:13PM
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I notice with my work out clothes, especially when I do a grueling work out & I am drenched, odors can be tough to totally remove. For me, I've found it is the anti-perspirant and deodorant that glues itself to the fabric.

About 2 weeks ago, we swtiched to the first "natural" deodorant that has ever worked. I mean, we are in the middle of a whole week of 100-105F weather, and NO smells and almost totally dry. Deodorant has no alcohol, aluminium. Herbal Clear. I got mine at Whole Foods, I think about $5/6.

Since the Deo is not sticky, it washes out of my workout clothes, just using the Warm wash setting in my Miele. I generally have been using Tide Total Care he, Tide with a Touch of Downy or Method Fresh Air. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 11:13AM
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I've had pretty good luck with Tide Sport. The scent isn't overpowering on the dried clothes and it seems to be keeping the stink at bay.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:26PM
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@ larsi

What is the brand of deodorant?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 8:24PM
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Herbal Clear Sport is the brand and name. It is formulated with Swiss Lichen and Tea Tree Oil (but has NO Tea Tree smell). My, my partner and my BFF are all using it...and we are amazed.

We did a Killer 1.15 hour high impact class at the gym today...dripping wet, and NO smell. This stuff is amazing, and so much better for you that all those chemicals smeared under your arms, leaching into our bodies. Too bad, I have used regualar deodorant for like 20 years now!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:14PM
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larsi, is it strictly a deodorant or is it an anitperspirant as well? While no odor is important, I don't like the feel of wetness in my armpits and sweat circles under arms are not pretty!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:11AM
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@izeve, it would be a deodorant.

I doubt there are any natural antiperspirants since aluminum is required to "clog" your pores and temporarily stop sweat.

I stared using a natural deodorant about a year ago. I really like it. If it's really hot, I'll still use antiperspirant but I find for a lot of normal days the natural deo is all I need. No smell and it doesn't ruin my bras and shirts - I hate what regular antiperspirants do to my things.

The trick is finding a natural product that works for you to control odor. It must be able to control the bacteria that causes the odor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Herbal Clear Sport

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:30AM
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@ izeve & livebetter...

Herbal Clear makes MANY deodorants, but the SPORT version does help with wetness. There is NO aluminium, yet I am feeling dry all day, even during heavy work outs. Yesterday was about 103F, and at 10:30pm last night, it was still 82F...and I was still dry!!

I do not know if it is the Swiss Lichen or Tea Tree, but this is the BEST deodorant and natural anti-perspirant I have ever used. It works better than any other product I have EVER used, including clinical strength products!!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 10:21AM
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My guess is that the tea tree oil is helping fight the odor, which is caused by bacteria. TTO is an anti-fungal and I remember reading somewhere that during WWII, it was used in some countries on wounds, due to a lack of other antibiotics available.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 2:50PM
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Generally, antiperspirants cause several laundry problems, so a trial of deodorant could help with the sleuthing. The whole dark vs light thing is very curious. If it were the opposite direction, I would think that you were washing the darks in cold and the lights in hot. (Is there any reason you're doing the opposite??)

Borax is really good for odors and is a laundry booster.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Here's a trick used by my friend who works in the theatre business. He has to deal with the inevitable sweat and accompanying odour from costumes worn by many people for many shows:

1) Put some vodka in a spray bottle.
2) Spray vodka on affected areas after wearing/pre-laundering.
3) Spray vodka in mouth for extra fun. : )

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Living in South Florida my yardwork shirts get really smelly. The thing that works for me is Dawn dishsoap.
I just do a quick hand washing of the shirts in the sink, rinse them well and throw them into the machine with the rest of the laundry.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 12:50PM
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I put Borax along with detergent in the washer with my husband's dirty and smelly work clothes. They come out clean and no odors.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I tried many of the suggestions above for perspiration odor and stain without good results. I finally found Bac-Out enzymes by Bi-o-kleen. It has a mild lime smell when wet but the smell is gone when clothes are dry. I don't use fragranced laundry products but this does not leave a smell and gets bo out. I use Bac-out for other things also. It is great stuff. NFI.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Haven't read all the responses, so this may have been mentioned:

I have washed some really rank (phew!) workout clothes that were left in a locker room for weeks. I tried various things, and this is what worked best, taking the stench completely out:

I poured detergent (either Wisk or Tide Sport Febreze HE) directly onto the areas that smelled worst - usually, the underarms. I washed the clothes inside out.

I used the hottest water the fabric could stand. (Sometimes it's worth a shot to use hot water even when you're not 'supposed' to, if you'll have to throw the clothes out otherwise.)

I poured in 1/4 c. baking soda.

After the wash cycle was underway, I paused the washer to let the laundry soak. Sometimes an hour or two is enough. At times I've soaked it all night and finished the cycle the next morning.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 1:48PM
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