Gym, a sweaty hot day, or a day of hard work, your clothes bear the work (and the smell!), especially when it’s underarm odor, which can still linger even after washing the affected clothes.
Continually washing your clothes can ruin the fabric and the quality of your favorite shirts, so can you really take out the odor without washing? I’m here to tell you yes, yes you can! With a few hacks and store-bought ingredients, you can finally get rid of that underarm odor.
Related Article: DIY Tea Tree Oil Deodorant With Lavender
What Makes Underarm Odor Stick to Clothes?
Underarm odor is something we all experience; however, it is pretty embarrassing when it leaves a lingering smell. This odor is caused by apocrine glands in the armpits, which release lipids and other molecules that attract bacteria. These multiply and release the odor.
Since the sebum is released, it becomes stuck into the fabric of your clothes, making the smell hard to remove. While washing clothes in hot water would do the trick, gym clothes, for example, are made from synthetic materials, which cannot be washed with hot water.
Knowing how to remove perspiration odor from your clothes without washing them constantly will help lengthen their lifespan while smelling fresh. Plus, you’ll save water, electricity, and your laundry detergent (which can be a pretty penny!).
Quick and Easy Ways to Remove Underarm Odor from Clothes
While there seems like no way out from your odor-ridden clothes, there are actually a lot of ways to tackle them without popping them into the washing machine.
1 Let Your Affected Clothes Air Out
Airing your clothes should not be underestimated, as it can really eliminate odors. Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent and can combat the underarm odor. Natural breeze promotes more airflow through the clothes, which carries the smell away.
Hang your garment in a window or a clothesline (if you’re allowed to have one) on a sunny day. Leave it for about an hour or longer if you like. Watch the weather, so your clothes don’t get caught in the rain!
This is a great way to recycle old newspapers. Newspaper material has the ability to absorb moisture and sweat that is trapped in the armpit areas of your clothes. Ball up pieces of newspaper, shove them in these areas and leave them to sit for a couple of hours or overnight. The newspaper will absorb the odor and the moisture.
3 Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is yet another household staple that helps with deodorizing, from the house to the aircon and even your clothes! If you’re in a hurry and want to use the affected clothes, you can make a baking soda paste.
Combine baking soda with water to make a paste. You may need to add more baking soda or water to get it to the correct consistency. Add the paste to the armpit areas and let it dry. Flake the paste away with a stiff brush after 20 minutes.
You can also mix some baking soda with water and put the solution in a spray bottle. Spray your clothes with the solution and allow them to sit for 15 minutes. Brush off any residue, or put the clothes in the dryer. You can also leave it to air dry.
4 Coffee Grounds
While this is the more expensive option, coffee grounds are also able to absorb nasty odors within hours. Simply place dry, unused coffee grounds in a bowl. Fold the affected garment and place it on top of the bowl of coffee. Make sure the coffee doesn’t touch the clothes, as it may leave a stain, especially if it is a white shirt! Leave it overnight for the best results.
Vodka has stain-busting and bacteria-killing properties, besides contributing to a fun night out! Since vodka kills odor-causing bacteria, it removes the unwanted smell and leaves a fresh scent in its place.
Combine ½ cup of water and 1½ cups of vodka and add some into a spray bottle. Turn the shirt inside out and spritz the surface with the solution. Don’t worry; the alcohol smell will fade once the air dries.
Soak the shirt in diluted water if the underarm odor is very bad. Leave it to air dry on the railing or by a window.
6 White Vinegar
Vinegar has a low (acidic) pH level, which removes strong-smelling odors from your clothes. You should mix equal water with vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Turn your shirt inside out before spraying the solution.
You can test your fabric by spraying a little on the bottom of your shirt. If nothing happens, then you’re safe to go! Spray the vinegar solution throughout the shirt, focusing especially on the underarm areas. Hang the shirt near a window, outdoors, or even in a spacious cupboard.
*Don’t use red or balsamic vinegar, as it will leave stains!
7 Steaming Your Clothes
A steamer is known for smoothing out wrinkles and making your clothes look sharp. But did you know that it can also make your shirts smell fresh?
The steamer works at extremely high heat to turn water into steam, which kills any odor-causing bacteria. Use the steamer on the armpit area of the shirt. If you do not have a steamer, you can hang the garments in the bathroom while you have a hot shower. This does not work as well as the steamer, but it helps!
8 Freeze ‘Em
Just like how extremely high temperatures can kill bacteria, very low temperatures can also do the trick. Fill a freezer bag with your clothes and seal it. Place the bag in the freezer for a couple of hours to allow the freezer to deodorize your clothes. Take the bag out, and leave them to warm up for a while before wearing them.
9 Fabric Spray
Fabric sprays are a great way to combat underarm odor; however, this is a quick fix to masking the odor, not exactly removing them. These sprays are available in a range of scents, so there is plenty for you to choose from. Gently spritz your clothes and hang them to dry.
The spray is very strong and will last a while on your clothes, so make sure you like the scent.
10 Essential Oils
You can use essential oils as a natural alternative to fabric sprays and air fresheners. Have a spray bottle with water halfway, then add some drops of your chosen essential oil. Spray the solution on the clothes and ‘smell’ the magic!
There are various essential oils to choose from, such as lemon, lavender, and grapefruit, which are perfect for removing underarm odors from your clothes. However, don’t mix your essential oils, as it may cause an unpleasant smell that will be difficult to remove.
Tips to Prevent Underarm Odor in Your Clothes
Underarm odor happens to everyone, but there are ways to prevent it from lingering too long on your clothes. These tips will also help if you sweat a lot.
Change Your Clothes Everyday
Even if your clothes don’t seem sweaty, chances are that it is. It would help if you always change your clothes every day. Masking the smell with deodorant won’t always work and can sometimes make you smell worse.
Not washing your clothes can make sweat build up, making them harder to wash and get rid of the odor. Having an unwashed washing machine can also contribute to smelly clothes.
Wash Your Underarms Daily
Washing your armpits daily is very important, especially if you sweat profusely. In this way, you remove the bacteria that cause the underarm odor and prevent the sweat smell from getting into your clothes.
Using antiperspirant deodorant instead of regular deodorant prevents sweat smells on both you and your clothes. They contain substances that block the sweat glands, so there is less sweat in your clothes.
Don’t Ignore Damp Clothes
Avoid leaving freshly washed clothes or damp clothes in the washing machine or basket. They will not be able to air out, which causes the odor to build up and worsen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What neutralizes body odor in clothes?
Soaking your clothes in baking soda and water or vinegar and water can neutralize the body odors and leave them smelling fresh. You can also use lemon juice or diluted vodka to eliminate unpleasant smells.
Why do the armpits of my shirts smell after washing?
Your underarms sweat more than other parts of the body, so the underarm area of your shirts collects more odor-causing bacteria. Washing detergents may clean your clothes, but they may not get rid of the smell. You can use items such as vinegar or baking soda to get rid of underarm odors.
How can I keep my clothes fresh while traveling?
You can reduce odors by placing a small container of baking soda in your suitcase. You can also hang your clothes by an open window before packing can also reduce all types of odors, such as underarm odor. Placing a sachet of fragrant herbs, such as lavender in your suitcase can also combat odor.
Can baking soda ruin clothes?
Baking soda is completely safe to use to clean and freshen up your clothes. However, you should always use the recommended amount and do a spot test on an inconspicuous area of your clothes before using the household item.