How to remove sweat smell from shirts

Written by kathryn milner
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How to remove sweat smell from shirts
A perspiring man sitting on a bench. (r u tough enough? image by paul prescott from

Let’s face it, everyone perspires. Sweating is the release of salty fluid from the sweat glands that allows the body to stay cool. As natural as the process may be, the smell can be overpowering and can linger on your favourite garments. You can remove perspiration odours from clothing by using simple household items and pretreating your garments before washing.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 tbsp ammonia
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • Spray bottle
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 saucers
  • 1 spoon
  • Cotton balls
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

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  1. 1

    Pre-treat your shirt with diluted ammonia. Mix 1 tbsp of ammonia and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Pour the ammonia and water into the bottle and shake it to mix the ingredients. Spray the diluted ammonia onto odorous areas of your shirt, and let it soak into the fabric for one hour. Wash the shirt as usual and place it in the sun to air dry.

  2. 2

    Use the odour-eating powers of baking soda. Create a paste by pouring 2 tbsp of baking soda combined with 1/ 2 cup of water into a small saucer. Stir until a lumpy, grit-like consistency forms. Soak cotton balls in the baking soda paste, and blot the perspiration scented areas on your shirt. Allow the baking soda paste to soak on the areas for 20 minutes, then launder.

    How to remove sweat smell from shirts
    A spoonful of baking soda. (baking ingredients image by Bettina Baumgartner from
  3. 3

    Pour 3 tbsp of white vinegar into a saucer, dip one to two cotton balls into the vinegar and apply to your shirt. Lightly blot the areas that smell of perspiration and let the vinegar soak for 20 minutes before laundering.

Tips and warnings

  • When laundering your garments, try washing in hot water to help dissolve the ammonia and vinegar.
  • Lightly blot the areas to avoid working the odour further into the fabric.
  • Avoid breathing in the ammonia vapours when pretreating clothing. Ammonia is a powerful solution that can damage the lungs when inhaled.

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