How to Remove Bad Smell from Clothes Without Washing?

You wake up one morning…you have a class to attend, an important meeting to attend, a day out with friends…whatever it is.

You open your wardrobe to look for clothes to wear. Unfortunately, you find out you have no clean clothes.

What do you do next? Rush to the nearby store and buy a new shirt? That’s not a wise idea, economic-wise.

A better idea would be trying to get rid of the smell from your clothes to make them smelly as if they’re clean, without necessarily washing them.

How to do that?

This is precisely what this post is going to teach you.

We’ll show you some highly effective tricks you can use to get rid of unpleasant smells from your dirty clothes without having to wash them.


7 Effective Tricks of Getting Bad Smell Off Your Clothes:

1. Nature works best!

When it comes to getting rid of bad odor from your clothes, nothing can do it better than fresh air combined with sunlight.

If you have a cloth line at your backyard, simply hang your clothes there so that the moving air can easily aerate your cloth and naturally clean it.

Sunlight, on the other hand, will help kill the bacteria responsible for the bad smell with its ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Needless to mention, this method will only work when the weather is right. That’s on a sunny day with some gentle breeze is blowing.

2. Dry sheet method

This is, without a doubt, one of the most popular methods folks use to neutralize the bad smell of their clothes.


It’s pretty easy, quick, and effective…and involves spinning the smelly clothe(s) in the dryer with some dryer sheets. This method will clean your clothes and make them smell good again in a couple of minutes.

For the best results, toss the cloth you want to wear in the dryer accompanied by 3-4 sheets. Your shirt will not only come out smelling like “mounting air” or “spring flowers,” but it’ll also be wrinkle-free.

3. Try baking soda

Baking soda is one of the substances that have countless uses around the house, including absorbing bad smells in your fridge or freezer.

But did you know you can also use it to soak up the bad smell from your clothes to let you wear them without washing them?

Well, this is how it works;


Simply make a paste of baking soda plus water. Turn the smelly cloth inside out and apply the paste onto the smelly parts of the cloth. Hang the cloth to air dry. Afterward, use a stiff brush to get rid of any paste residue from the fabric.


Place the smelly cloth in a plastic bag. Add half a cup of the baking soda itself into the bag, close it, and shake the two together. Let the bag stay for approx. 10 minutes, then open it, get the clothing, shake it off to get rid of baking soda…and it’s ready to wear!

4. Vodka does magic

Straight vodka (no need to dilute too) works wonders when it comes to taking that bad smell off your cloth.

The method vodka is quite easy as you just need to put the undiluted vodka in a spray bottle and then spritz it over the smelly spot, or over the entire cloth.

Once you have applied it, hang your cloth in the open to dry.

As the alcohol in the vodka evaporates, it takes with it the smell from your shirt, leaving you with a clean cloth to wear for the day.

5. The White vinegar hack

White vinegar has many, many uses, and getting the unpleasant smells off your clothes is just another way you can make use of it.

This is due to its low acidic pH level. To use it, you simply need to mix it with water in the ratio 1:1 in a spray bottle.

Then, turn the garment you wish to work on inside out and spray on the smelly spot (if you have doubts, you can spray the mix on a small area first and see if it’ll change the color or appearance of your cloth; if it doesn’t, it means it’s entirely safe for use).

Spritz the mixture on the entire area you wish to clean and then hang it outside and let it dry. The vinegar smell will go away as your cloth dries.


You can use distilled white vinegar mixed with up to 10 drops of your preferred essential oils.

The vinegar in this mix will kill 98% of the bacteria, while the essential oil will help mask the vinegar smell.

If you wish, you can spritz your whole cloth with this mixture.

6. Lemon juice can kill the smell too

Lemon juice, too, can be used to kill the odor from your clothes without having to toss it in the washer.

The procedure for using lemon juice is almost similar to that of vinegar, as discussed below…

Mixture a tablespoon of lemon juice plus a cup of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and mist it all over your garment. Then, hang it in an area with good air circulation to dry.

Just like vinegar, lemon juice can discolor some fabrics. So, you should test it on a small part of the cloth before you apply it all over.

7. Use the air freshener

If you want a quick, temporary fix for smelly clothes, say when going for an outdoor event, then an air freshener will come in handy.

Just like it masks the unpleasant smell around your house, it also masks the bad smell coming off your shirt or garment and makes it smell good.

Using the air freshener method is as simple as spraying it over your clothing, both the front and back parts.

Remember to hang it out to air out for approx. 10 minutes before to allow it to air out before wearing it.

Final Verdict

When you want to attend that important class, event, business meeting, etc. and all your clothes are dirty, what do you do?

In the above guide, we have provided you with some of the most effective methods of removing bad smell from your clothes without having to wash them.

These methods are pretty easy and fast, and you’ll just need to use materials that are readily available around your home.

Which other method do you know that can remove bad smell off clothes without washing them?

  • Updated December 28, 2019
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