How to get rid of bad odour on clothes

Updated February 21, 2017

Clothes can harbour odours from perspiration, mildew, dirt and oil stains. Even if the garment looks clean, smells may remain in the fabric if washing powder does not lift the odour along with the stain. For tough odours, your clothes may require an odour absorbing product that pulls the smell from fabric and washes it away in the laundry. Rid your clothes of bad odour by removing the smell along with the stains.

Separate the clothes with the bad odours from other clothing. Place the odour-filled clothes into the washer.

Set the water temperature to warm and start adding the water. Pour 2 to 3 tbsp of heavy-duty liquid washing powder into the water. After the washer has filled, add 65 g (1/2 cup) of sodium bicarbonate to the water.

Pour 60 ml (1/4 cup) of white vinegar into the rinse water during the rinse cycle. Smell the clothes after washing. If the odour remains, repeat the cleaning process.


For clothes with a mildew odour, lay the clothing in the sun for three to four hours. The sun's rays kill any mould or mildew on the garments. Clean the clothes with washing powder, as well as sodium bicarbonate and vinegar.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty liquid washing powder
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • White vinegar
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.