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How to Remove Tough Odours from Your Clothes

One of the most frequent problems when doing the laundry is figuring out how to remove odours from clothes. Odours tend to become embedded in fibres and seem to lurk there for a long time.

Five of the toughest odours that get trapped in our clothes are:
• Perfumes and fragrances
• Sweat
• Petrol and diesel fuel
• Cooking and grease odours
• Mothballs and musty odours

Perfume odours

No matter how nice a scent is, some odours are rather strong and can cause excessive sneezing and a variety of other health problems. If the garment is washable, fill a large sink or bucket with cool water.

Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda in four cups of hot water and add the solution to the cool water. Completely immerse the garment and allow to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Once this step is done, wash as directed using a heavy-duty unscented laundry detergent. If you can still smell the fragrance, repeat the steps. If the odour is gone, dry as directed by the care label.

Sweat Odours

Even after washing clothes, body soil and perspiration still remain trapped in the fibres and start to smell when our body heats up the fabric and the odour molecules are released.

Start by treating underarm areas to remove excess deodorant build-up that can trap odour and cause fabrics to yellow or feel stiff. After, use a heavy-duty detergent that has the proper level and type of ingredients to remove body soil. As for stronger odours, mix a solution of 2 cups baking soda in a washer tub of lukewarm water. Add the shirts and allow them to soak for at least 24 hours, then wash as per usual.

For gym wear, add 1 cup of baking soda or white distilled vinegar to your load each time you wash exercise clothes. The baking soda or white distilled vinegar will help neutralize odour and make your detergent work more efficiently.

Petrol or Diesel Odours

This one’s a tough one, since such odours are very pungent. The solution? Wash the garment in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric. Inspect the item before drying and repeat treatment if necessary. For any persistent odours, soak the clothes in cool water with 1 cup baking soda for at least four hours or overnight. For heavy odours, fill the washing machine with warm water and add 1 cup of non-sudsing household ammonia. Allow to soak for several hours. Drain the machine and wash as usual. Avoid any chlorine bleach at all costs!
Cooking Odours

Fabrics can quickly absorb odours and hold onto them even if there aren’t any stains. This is especially true when cooking fried food. There are microscopic grease particles in the air and become embedded in the fibres. Again, grab the heavy-duty laundry detergent and use the hottest water recommended on the care label. Increase the cleaning power by adding 1 cup of baking soda to the machine. If the odour is light, hanging the garment outside on a breezy day may do the trick.

Moth Ball Odours

This one’s a pretty strong and unpleasant smell, but can still be tackled. For washable clothes, add 1 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle along with detergent. Mix well and allow the clothing to soak for at least 1 hour before completing the wash. Then add 1/2 a cup distilled white vinegar to the final rinse. Hang freshly washed clothing outside to dry. Fresh air is perhaps the best refresher of all.

When it comes to odours on clothes, some tend to be rather stubborn to remove, but hopefully our tips and tricks have helped you tackle a few of the worst odours your clothes might retain. Remember, you can even hang ‘dry clean only’ clothes outside – away from direct sunlight – to air. Nevertheless, most will still require a trip to the dry cleaner to remove the odour. For dry clean only clothes, a professional cleaner should be used because they would have the right equipment and techniques to remove the odour.

If you have any clothes or textiles that have a musty or bad smell and desperate for a good cleaning, contact Portughes Dry Cleaning today. And get this: you don’t even need to bring them to us yourself – we offer pickup and delivery services for free – it’s really that simple! Call us now on 2144 4444 for more information.

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