Baking Soda and Laundry Odors

Woman smelling clean laundry
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Baking soda can help remove pungent odors from laundry even when they linger after repeated washing.

Smoky Smells

Smoke tends to cling to the fibers within our laundry. Whether it's smoke from a campfire or second-hand cigarette smoke, the key to removing tough smoke odor is soaking. Try soaking clothes that smell of smoke in a baking soda/water solutions before washing in the washing machine. Mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda into a sink or bucket full of water.

Add in the smoky laundry and periodically stir the mixture as the clothing soaks.


Washable hats, gloves, scarves, headbands, etc can be soaked in baking soda/water solution to rid them of the "sweat" smell. A baking soda soak can work wonders on many sweaty smells. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda into a sink or bucket full of water. Allow the sweaty items to soak. Stir periodically. If the sweat is a really tough or older odor, you may need to use a thicker baking soda paste before soaking in water.

Mechanical Smells

If you have clothing with gasoline, oil, or other mechanical smells, place them in a bag with baking soda. Leave the bag sealed for a day or two before washing. Also, these items usually do best with hand washing. Be warned it may take a baking soda soak to really remove the smell thoroughly.

In a Hurry

Sometimes your smelly laundry can't be fixed right away. If smelly clothes cannot be washed immediately, sprinkle baking soda directly on them.

When you have time, wash as is. Remember, though, that the longer the clothes sit, the more likely they are to need a little extra treatment to thoroughly remove smells.


Dry baking soda rubbed directly on clothing can remove the smell of vomit or baby spit-up. And because it's baking soda, you don't have to worry about any harsh residues being left on your babies clothes.

Baking soda also brightens and whitens. Using baking soda as a stain remover is a great choice on baby clothes.