Smell of Sweat Remains after Washing? These Methods and Home Remedies Fix This Problem!

by Kremy

The smell of sweat remains after washing? If you’re reading this article, it’s obviously happened to you too! But what is the cause and how you can deal with it, you will find out in a moment!

Have you ever put on a freshly washed t-shirt and just a few minutes later you can smell the sweat without even sweating! And even if you wash and iron it a second time, the smell of sweat is still there! By now you are probably highly confused and even upset! Don’t worry, here you will find the answer to the question – why the smell of sweat remains after washing and what can you do about it?

Why the Smell of Sweat Remains after Washing?

smell of sweat remains after washing these methods and home remedies fix this problem

You might be surprised to learn that typical underarm sweat, and fresh sweat in general, doesn’t stink on its own. The odor appears when sweat comes into contact with bacteria. These bacteria are on your body as well as on your clothes. In the presence of moisture, they are activated and bind to the source of moisture (sweat), creating the familiar, unpleasant odor.

That means that if the smell of sweat remains after washing, not all the bacteria have been removed from your clothes in the washing machine. The reason for this is often regular washing at a temperature of just 80F/30C degrees, but there are other factors that can affect this.

One of them are the synthetic fabrics that sportswear is mostly made of. While these fabrics are excellent at expelling moisture away from the body, they are not breathable (like cotton, for example), making it difficult for water to properly penetrate and wash away both the sweat and the bacteria it contains.

The result is a sweat odor that has nothing to do with how clean your body is or that your clothes have just been washed.

Also read: Can You Wash Bed Sheets and Towels Together?

Your Clothes Smell Like Sweat after Washing – What to Do?

why the smell of sweat remains after washing


So, your t-shirts smell of sweat after washing – what to do? As we mentioned earlier, certain fabrics, like cotton, tend to retain moisture. Others, like polyester, keep the skin cool and wick moisture across the surface of the fabric. But no matter what material your clothes are made of, it’s possible that the stubborn bacteria that cause sweat odor may still be present after a wash. Here’s what preventative measures you can take!

Be Economical with the Detergent

detergents can leave residues on clothing in which bacteria and thereby odors accumulate

Using more detergent won’t necessarily lead to better results. In fact, laundry detergent can be counterproductive if overused. Detergents and laundry boosters can leave residues on clothing in which bacteria and thus odors can settle. Use the recommended amount of detergent, but avoid adding more.

Tip: keep your washing machine clean. Sometimes, among other chores, it’s easy to forget that you need to clean your washing machine once a month. Some machines have a self-cleaning function. If your machine doesn’t, simply add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to the dispenser and run the washing machine on its hottest setting on a regular cycle.

Skip the Fabric Softener

laundry smells of sweat replace fabric softener with essential oils

Like laundry detergents, fabric softeners can leave a layer that can harbor bacteria and unwanted odors over time. Therefore, we advise you to replace them with essential oils. Here’s how to make your own fabric softener without any chemical ingredients. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water and 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice in a glass bottle. We recommend rosemary or lavender oil. Add a capful to the fabric softener compartment when washing clothes.

  • Tip: Sweaty clothes should never be placed directly in a closed laundry basket. They should either be washed immediately or allowed to dry thoroughly before throwing them in the laundry basket.

Wash Clothes Inside Out

to remove bad odors it is more effective if you wash your clothes inside out

Since odor-causing bacteria tend to accumulate in sweaty areas like the armpits, it’s more effective to wash clothes inside out. In addition, the choice of fabrics is another way to prevent odor buildup in the long run. Choose natural fabrics like silk, cotton and wool.

  • Tip: Although it may seem convenient and practical to wash towels, sweatshirts and jeans together, avoid washing clothes made of different fabrics together.

The Smell of Sweat Remains after Washing – These Home Remedies Will Fix the Problem

So how can you remove the smell of sweat from your clothes? We suggest several techniques with home remedies that you can try!

Soak the Clothes in Vinegar and Baking Soda

the smell of sweat remains after washing soak laundry in vinegar and baking soda

Combining two basic household products, white vinegar and baking soda, can be an effective way to fight odor and bacteria. White vinegar is a natural deodorant and baking soda has alkaline properties, both of which help deodorize and sanitize clothing.

Before putting the clothes in the washing machine, fill the sink or a similarly sized container with cold water. Then add 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. Soak the sweat-smelling clothes and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before putting them in the washing machine.

If you don’t have time to pre-soak laundry with vinegar and baking soda, simply add a cup of white vinegar directly into the washing machine with the detergent. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell staying on clothes – it will wash out in the machine.

Also read: How to Wash Underwear Properly – Simple Rules That You Need to Know

The Smell of Sweat Remains after Washing – Lemon Juice Comes to the Rescue

your laundry smells of sweat lemon juice comes to the rescue

Does your laundry smell of sweat? Lemon juice can help you with this problem! Just follow these instructions:

  • Squeeze the juice from 3 to 4 lemons.
  • Mix the juice with 0,5 gallons/2l of warm water and let the mixture cool.
  • After cooling, soak the smelly clothes for at least 30 minutes.
  • Rinse them with cold water.
  • Hang them outside to dry.

Salt and Mouthwash Can Kill Bacteria

salt and mouthwash can kill bacteria in the laundry

Salt is known for its powerful antibacterial properties. It can kill bacteria that could be responsible for the odor in your sweaty clothes. Try this trick to remove the smell of sweat from fabrics.

  • Pour 3,5 oz/100g of salt into a bowl and fill halfway with warm water.
  • Stir to dissolve the salt.
  • Soak the affected areas of your sweaty clothes in the solution for at least 20 minutes, then wash them in the washing machine following the directions we gave you earlier in this article.

The smell of sweat remains after washing – how can mouthwash help? Mouthwash has the ability to kill bacteria and neutralize odors in the mouth. So it makes sense that it would do the same to the bacteria on clothes that cause unpleasant odors.

  • Put a few capfuls of mouthwash on the areas of your t-shirt or other clothing where the smell of sweat is coming from.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • Machine wash as above.

Gall Soap Eliminates Unpleasant Odors

gall soap contains active substances that can dissolve bacteria

The smell of sweat remains after washing – it’s time to treat the textiles with gall soap. Because it contains active substances that can dissolve bacteria. Simply apply it to the smelly areas with a brush and let it soak in. Then wash again in the washing machine.

Summary: Sweat odor appears when bacteria and moisture combine. This means that if you put on washed clothes and smell sweaty odor on you after a while (without having sweated), it’s a sure sign that bacteria remained on your laundry. However, you don’t have to resort to chemical solutions to deal with the problem. Not only are they harmful to the environment, but also to your skin. Use the methods, prevention tips and home remedies listed in this article and enjoy a pleasantly smelling laundry!

Also read: How to wash pillows properly and remove yellow stains, dirt and odors


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