How to Get Sweat Smell Out of Clothes with Simple Steps

After hitting the gym, or using your barbells, the first thing we do is get out of our sweaty clothes and put them in the laundry. However, even after washing them, the sweat smell doesn’t go away, and the next time you wear your favourite items, the stinky odour hits you.

If regular washing doesn’t work, what are you going to do? You can’t throw out your sweaty clothes. Don’t worry – we got your back. In this article, we will tell you how to get sweat smell out of clothes with simple steps, along with some bonus sweat stain removal tips for prevention! And although you may think you are a cleaning expert, knowing how to bleach your white clothes and keep them from turning yellow, this is different! Without further ado, let’s get started!

Woman with sweat stain on her t-shirt

Why does sweat smell remain on your fabrics?

We all experience body odour, and it isn’t something to be embarrassed about. However, you can certainly limit it by using a probiotic or an antiperspirant deodorant that will control the bad smells.

Wondering why the sweat smell in clothes comes back when you iron it or wear it again? The sweat smell is caused by butyric acid. When the sweat dries, the butyric acid remains. The butyric acid produces a stench and is most active when it is warm. Therefore, if it isn’t completely removed during laundry when you iron the garment or wear it again, you start smelling bad again. 

It is a common conception that the bad stench will be gone if you wash the stinky clothes. However, body sebum is sticky and nuzzles into the fabrics, making them hard to clean. Therefore, you not only have to wash the clothes but treat them as well.

We have listed a few tested and tried home remedies that will easily remove the foul odour and will leave your clothes smelling freshly laundered!

How to get sweat smell out of clothes step-by-step

There are a couple of different methods that you can try. Depending on what you prefer and the items that you can find around your home, here are the most effective ones:

Using aspirin and cream of tartar

You can get the stinky sweat out of your clothes using aspirin and cream of tartar (Potassium Bitartrate). Cream of tartar is acidic, and this makes it useful for neutralizing bad odours. Plus, aspirin has salicylic acid in it, which is also helpful in removing sweat odours.

Cream of tartar spilled from a teaspoon

Things you will need

  • Three aspirin pills (non-coated)
  • Cream of tartar
  • Warm water
  • Old toothbrush

DIY steps

  1. Take a cup of water and mix 3 non-coated, white aspirin pills in it thoroughly.
  2. Add one tbsp. of cream of tartar.
  3. With the help of an old toothbrush, scrub this solution into the underarm area.
  4. Let it sit for over 20 minutes.
  5. Wash it as usual.
  6. You can repeat, if need be.

Using baking soda

Seriously, is there anything that baking soda can’t do when it comes to cleaning? It works great for neutralizing the stinky odours embedded in your clothes. 

Things you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Water

DIY steps

  1. Take one tbsp. baking soda.
  2. Add some water to it and make a thick paste.
  3. Rub this paste into the sweaty areas.
  4. Leave the paste for 20 minutes
  5. If the smell persists, repeat the procedure and leave the paste for a more extended period of time.Baking soda and lemons on a table

Using lemons

Who doesn’t love a glass of fresh lemonade in hot, sweaty summers! Most of us don’t know that lemons are great for getting rid of the sweaty smell in your clothes because they are acidic in nature.

Things you will need

  • A couple of lemons
  • Hot water

DIY steps

  1. Take the juice from a couple of lemons.
  2. Mix the lemon juice in 2 litres of water.
  3. Pre-Soak your clothes in this mixture for almost 30 minutes.
  4. Wash using cold water.
  5. Let the clothes dry.
  6. If the smell is still there, you should repeat the process.

With the help of salt

Since salt is antibacterial, you can use it to kill the bacteria that is causing your clothes to stink. 

Things you will need

  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Warm water

DIY steps

  1. Take a large bowl and add ½ cup of salt to it.
  2. Add some warm water to it and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  3. Soak your clothes in this solution for 20 minutes.
  4. Wash normally. The smell should be gone!Washing soda ,vinegar and gloves on white table

Using white vinegar

White vinegar is acidic as well, and this makes it a great deodorizing tool to get smells out of the Barbour jacket but also to take the sweat smell out of clothes. It has a slight smell itself, but once you wash the clothes, it will go away. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil, such as tea tree oil.

Things you will need

  • White vinegar
  • Cold water

DIY steps

  1. Take 1 litre of water.
  2. Add one cup of vinegar to it.
  3. Soak the clothes in this solution for 20 minutes.
  4. Launder as usual.

Using washing soda

Washing soda, known as sodium carbonate, is different from baking soda but is equally effective when it comes to removing the smell of sweat and stains. We recommend that you wear protective gloves while using washing soda as it can irritate your skin.

Things you will need

  • Washing soda
  • Water
  • Protective gloves

DIY steps

  1. Take ¼ of washing soda and sprinkle it onto the problematic areas.
  2. Add some water and work it using your hands until a paste is formed.
  3. Let the paste sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your clothes normally, and the armpits smell would be gone!

Getting rid of it with mouthwash

We all know that mouthwash leaves us with a clean, fresh, and often minty breath. But what most of us don’t know is that it can be used to kill bacteria and neutralize sweat odours in your smelly clothes as well.

Mouthwash and toothbrushes on a wooden table

We suggest that you spot test your garment to make sure that the mouthwash doesn’t stain it. Check the fabric care label on your clothes as well.

Things you will need

  • Mouthwash
  • Water

DIY steps

  1. Pour a couple of caps of mouthwash on the sweaty areas.
  2. Leave the mouthwash for almost 30 minutes.
  3. Wash with cool water and launder your clothes as usual.

Bonus tips for preventing sweat smell

Want to keep your workout attire smelling fresh? Use the following helpful tips to make sure the stinky smell stays gone.

1. Let Your Sweaty Clothes Dry

It is very tempting to toss your smelly clothes in the washer. However, if you do so, it will breed bacteria. Let your workout clothes dry before you toss them into the machine. This will keep the bad odour from setting in. Plus, don’t let the clothes stay in the gym bag for long. Take them out and hang them as soon as you are home.

2. Wash Your Clothes Inside Out

Your workout clothes are going to be the dirtiest on the inside since they are in direct contact with your sweat. Turn your clothes inside out while washing so that the detergent will have better access to the dirty areas.

Hands wash clothes with sports detergent

3. Buy a Sports Detergent

Instead of regular laundry detergent, invest in a good-quality sports laundry detergent that can work better with sweat stains and odours. Sports detergents have special polymers that trap odour-causing compounds and stop them from sticking to your garments.

4. Don’t Use Fabric Softener

Don’t use fabric softener for washing your gym clothes. Gym clothes are made of synthetic fabrics which are moisture-wicking. The fabric softener will leave a coating on your clothes that further traps odours and bacteria. If you must use fabric softener, use it after you have thoroughly washed the gym clothes and all the musty smell is gone.

5. Clean Your Washing Machine

It is easy to forget to clean your washing machine. Make sure that you clean your washing machine regularly to ensure no bacteria remains in it. Some machines come with self-cleaning options. However, you can add 2 cups of vinegar in there and run the machine on a regular wash cycle and at the hottest temperature to clean it.

Even though we all sweat, no one likes bad odours. Whether it’s after a hard workout session or just because it was a hot day, you can use the easy-to-follow methods that we have discussed above and learn how to get sweat smell out of clothes.

Here’s to fresh-smelling, sweat-free clothes!

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