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How to Remove Odor in Synthetic Fabric

Synthetic, or man-made fabrics, absorb odours just like natural fibres. Cigarette smoke, body odour and food odours, amongst others, are absorbed into the fabric fibres, causing odour to linger long after the source is gone. When the odour is heavy, a normal washing may not be sufficient to remove it. Simple techniques using supplies readily available help remove the odours trapped in the fibres of synthetic fabric without damaging your garments.

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  1. Lay the synthetic fabric with unpleasant odours on a flat surface. Sprinkle baking soda over the fibres to cover the smelly areas. Let the baking soda remain on the synthetic fibres overnight to absorb unpleasant odour.

  2. Hold the garment over the trash and allow the baking soda to fall into the garbage.

  3. Wash your synthetic fabrics in the washing machine with washing powder. Deodorise the clothes by adding 1 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle along with the washing powder.

  4. Hang the clothing to dry on a drying rack out of direct sunlight. Allow the synthetic fabrics to air-dry completely to remove any remaining unpleasant odour.

  5. Tip

    Hang a scented sachet, such as lavender or vanilla, in your closet to absorb unpleasant smells and keep clothes smelling clean. Substitute activated charcoal for baking soda to absorb odours from clothing. Use caution on light-coloured clothing to make sure the charcoal doesn't leave a stain.


    Ensure synthetic garments are always dry before placing in a small space, such as a dresser or storage container. The slightest amount of moisture can cause mildew to develop, which results in musty-smelling clothes. Heat can damage synthetic fibres such as polyester. Avoid placing these garments in the dryer and never put them in direct sunlight to avoid absorption of heat from the sun.

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Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Washing powder
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Drying rack

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.

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