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How to remove stubborn sweat odor from clothing

How to remove stubborn sweat odor from clothing How to remove sweat odor from clothing (photo: Freepik)

Sometimes, after several washes, unpleasant odors and stains remain on clothes. If stains, as is known, are difficult to remove, then strong odors, such as sweat, can be no less challenging. However, several methods can help with this, according to Martha Stewart.

Why is it difficult to remove the smell of sweat

According to microbiologists, the key role in turning sweat from an odorless liquid into a source of an unpleasant aroma is played by bacteria that live in the most sweaty parts of the body.

These bacteria thrive in a warm, moist environment - like sweat - so they work actively, breaking down proteins and acids in sweat into smaller molecules, causing a strong odor.

In addition, bacteria can cling to fibers, especially in synthetic materials such as polyester, which provide an ideal environment for bacterial growth due to poor ventilation compared to natural fibers.

Moreover, bacterial waste products can penetrate deep into the fabric fibers, especially in tightly woven or thick materials, making them difficult to remove during regular washing.

Another factor that can contribute to the appearance of an unpleasant odor is the residues of laundry detergent and fabric softeners, which trap odors and bacteria, exacerbating the problem over time.

How to remove the smell of sweat from fabric

There are several methods that can help remove the smell of sweat from fabric. However, always test a small hidden area of the garment first to ensure that the fabric is not damaged.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is a mild alkali that helps neutralize acidic odors. It also acts as a gentle abrasive that can remove stains from fabric. To remove the smell of sweat using this method, it is recommended to do the following:

  • make a baking soda paste by mixing several tablespoons of baking soda with water;
  • apply the paste to areas of clothing that absorb unpleasant odors, typically under the arms and in the décolletage area;
  • leave the baking soda paste on for 30 minutes to absorb odors;
  • after 30 minutes, launder the clothing as usual in the washing machine.

During washing, you can use regular laundry detergent or try using a product specifically designed to eliminate odors.

Remove sweat odor with vinegar

The acid in vinegar breaks down residues that cause unpleasant odors and can also act as a natural fabric softener, leaving your clothes clean and soft. To use this method, it is recommended to do the following:

  • mix one part vinegar with four parts water in a basin or bucket;
  • soak the clothing in the mixture, ensuring it is fully moistened;
  • leave the clothing in the mixture for 30 minutes to allow the vinegar to break down odor-causing bacteria;
  • after 30 minutes, launder the clothing as usual in the washing machine with regular laundry detergent or an odor-eliminating product.

Use an enzymatic laundry detergent

To get rid of sweat odor, try using an enzymatic laundry detergent or a laundry disinfectant.

Enzymatic detergents are specialized additives to laundry detergents that use natural enzymes to break down proteins, fats, and starches found in sweat.

Laundry disinfectants are specifically designed to destroy bacteria and viruses that survive during washing and cannot be effectively removed by regular detergents.

Some of these products may be in powder form and require further washing of the clothes, while others are in the form of a spray that does not require rinsing. In this case, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions.