How To Get Smells Out Of Clothes Without Washing

I love sustainable fashion but what I find is left out of the conversation is how to care for your garments after you’ve bought them. Washing less means longevity with your clothes and less energy waste, so naturally, I had to do an article about how to take the smell out of clothes without washing them, here I will teach you some tips and tricks on how to get that smell out!

You all know how passionate I am about the environment and finding sustainable alternatives to energy wasters, especially knowing that washing and drying your clothes accounts for 120 million tonnes of CO2 annually. The energy waste from using your washing machine accounts for 350 – 500 watts of electricity per load. There is probably nothing I hate more than PLASTIC and every time you wash your clothes microplastics shed off the materials that make up your garments and pollute into the ocean, and even worse, end up in the stomachs of our sea creatures.

Eco Fact: North Americans send over 10 million tonnes of clothing to landfills each year… that’s A LOT of waste!

What’s even worse is almost all of this textile waste could be reused or recycled like old bras. Fast fashion has only contributed to this ongoing issue and is a huge reason why slow fashion is the next biggest fashion trend. Learning how to get the smell out of clothes without utilizing so much energy is so important for the environment, and a bonus perk when applying these tips you can relieve some pressure off your wallet (who doesn’t love saving money!).

Of course, you have items like undies that need to be washed and items that just have to be washed because of a stain. There are a lot of ways to make your laundry eco-friendly, air drying your items like lingerie and athleisure reduces the environmental impact of CO2 and energy.

Swapping out traditional laundry detergent for zero waste laundry detergent or natural laundry detergent prevents harmful chemicals from poisoning marine life, a great alternative is laundry detergent sheets. Just swapping out some of your everyday items for more sustainable options can lead to such a massive change in your carbon footprint, so let’s dive in and learn how to get odor out of clothes.

1. Let them breathe

After you’ve worn something and it has a faint smell, leave it to hang outside your closet and let your garment have a breath of fresh air. Letting your clothing air out after wear helps remove odor from clothes, this gets them out of your dark closet where garments can be closely packed together. A way to take this tip further is to let your garment air out in the sun (be sure to read your labels, the prolonged sun can damage some clothing).

T-shirt with recycle logo drying.Pin

2. Spray with lemon juice

A simple trick on how to remove underarm odor from clothes without washing is to mix a tablespoon of lemon juice and one cup of water in a spray bottle, and spray that garment down! This is a great way to reduce your carbon impact and use a natural way to get smells out of your clothes… it can also help you use up some of those lemons you might have laid out.

3. Freeze Them

Yes, you read that right. Freeze them. Throw your garments in your freezer for a short period of time (an hour or so) and take it out before wear, this helps to remove any smell that might come from your garments. Be sure to take the item out at least 15 minutes before you need to wear it because it will be cold and stiff (brrrr!)

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great way to deodorize clothes without washing, I’ve used baking soda to clean my washing machine and washing soda (the brother of baking soda) to strip my laundry, it’s a great way to get pesky smells out of your clothes without wasting water or energy. Just coat your garment with a little bit of baking soda and similar to how baking soda takes the smell out of your fridge, it will do the same for your clothes.

Zero waste eco friendly cleaning concept. wooden brushes, lemon, baking soda, vinegar.Pin

5. Use White Vinegar

This is a great treatment for how to get smells out of clothes, specifically when a certain spot is a little funky, mix in a little bit of white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and shake the bottle to mix it together. You can also add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils to add a bit of fragrance to your clothes, this method is perfect when there is one area of clothes that is a little smelly.

A final thought on how to get smells out of clothes without washing

Fashion is such a major part of anyone’s life, and an ever-growing industry, buying sustainable fashion and following tips like the ones I have listed are great ways to reduce your carbon impact on the environment. It is up to us to improve the world and reduce our waste so that the future generation can enjoy the world as much as we do now.

I hope these little tips and tricks help you out! I have learned a new way to get smells out of my clothes with that freezing trick, who knew that could help? If you have any solutions that you’ve used, please feel free to share them with me. I absolutely love hearing your creative ideas and learning from other people. If you happened to have learned something new and think someone you know could benefit from this article, I encourage you to share it! Your continued support means so much to me.


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