The best laundry detergent for removing odors

Updated February 21, 2017

Doing the laundry can many times become a more difficult task when strong clothing odours are involved. Typically, odours develop from perspiration and body oils that are emitted during daily wear, and can be hard to remove from clothing once set in. The best laundry detergent for tackling odours requires adding a few extra elements to the wash that may not be included in a basic laundry detergent. Make your own detergent, or simply add an extra splash to a laundry detergent you already have on hand.


Ammonia is a natural ingredient that dissolves odours that have set into clothing and linens. Place soiled clothing in the washing machine, and add one cup of non-sudsing ammonia and one cup of washing soda. Ammonia can be located with cleaning products in the grocery store, while washing soda can be found with laundry detergent products. Wash and dry as you normally would, and odours should be gone. Use this solution when necessary to prevent odours from developing on clothing and linens. If you prefer to substitute washing soda for your normal laundry detergent, simply replace the cup of washing soda with a capful of laundry detergent, and add the one cup of ammonia to the solution. Both combinations are equally effective.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another deodorising agent that is inexpensive and highly effective in removing odour from clothing and linens. Place soiled garments in the wash and add one cup baking soda and one cup washing soda. Substitute washing soda for your normal laundry detergent if you like and wash on your normal machine cycle. Add baking soda to each wash cycle to keep clothing fresh and odour-free.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has a mild acidic quality that works perfectly for removing odour from clothing and linen. Add soiled garments to the washing machine, then add one cup lemon juice and one cup washing soda. Substitute washing soda for your normal detergent if you like, and wash as you normally would. The lemon juice will not only break apart soil and odour, but also leave clothes with a clean, citrus-fresh scent.


Table salt also works to break up stain and odour that the body emits onto clothing during wear. Place clothing in the wash, then add one cup table salt and one cup washing soda. Wash as normal, and substitute your regular detergent for the washing soda if you prefer. Add table salt to the wash when necessary to remove stubborn set-in stains and odours.

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About the Author

Mel Frank is a professional freelance writer with over 15 years of writing experience. She has completed a wide variety of writing assignments for a number of publications that include CNN and various websites. Frank received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a prestigious university in Pennsylvania.