The 6 Best Odor Removers for Smelly Laundry of 2020

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Some odors can be particularly difficult to remove from clothes, even after washing properly. Good-smelling laundry detergent and scent boosting products like Gain Fireworks, Downy Unstopables, or Snuggle Scent Boosters do not remove odors; they only cover them up with added fragrance.

Laundry product manufacturers have addressed odor issues with products designed to remove and reduce odors like cigarette smoke, mildew, and perspiration. Some do an excellent job, while others don't work as well. These seven products, in alphabetical order, will make a big difference in cleaning your stinky clothes.

Downy Fresh Protect

Downy Fresh Protect


Downy Fresh Protect is an in-wash scent booster that also promises to protect clothes from odors while you wear them. The Downy Fresh Protect formula has dual microcapsules that are activated as you move throughout the day. These microcapsules burst and release perfume and a chemical to bind to and neutralize bacteria molecules that cause bad odors.

The product works much like Febreze sprays to encapsulate odor molecules until you can properly wash or dry clean the fabrics to remove the odor-causing bacteria.

Febreze In-Wash Odor Remover

Febreze Odor Eliminator


Since its introduction, Febreze spray-on odor remover has become a must-have to refresh clothes and fabrics like upholstery and drapes that cannot be machine washed. 

But there is another Febreze product that is better for effectively removing odors like perspiration, cigarette smoke, and cooking odors from washable clothes, Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator. 

The in-wash Febreze product uses the active ingredient beta-cyclodextrin, a carbohydrate molecule to trap and bind the odor molecules so they are flushed away in the rinse cycle. The product does not add an additional scent that will interfere with your favorite laundry detergent fragrance.

Febreze spray works by binding odor molecules with the chemical molecules in their formula. The cyclodextrin molecules are ring-shaped and trap the odor molecules inside the ring to make them imperceptible to the human nose. The duo-PSB molecules are corkscrew-shaped to trap odors and they also hold the fragrance you choose to replace the bad odors. Citric acid transforms the trapped odors into water that is held in suspension until the fabric is washed or dry cleaned later to remove them permanently.

Fresh Wave

Fresh Wave


Fresh Wave Odor Removing Laundry Booster is recommended for neutralizing odors in washable fabrics using natural extracts like lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedarwood. It can also be used to clean pet areas and accidents, freshen room humidifiers, as a carpet cleaner additive for steam cleaners as well as a washer cleaner for eliminating mildew odors.

The product is safe to use in both high-efficiency and standard washers in all water temperatures. Fresh Wave products are available online and in many local hardware stores and markets including national chain stores. 

Other Fresh Wave products include odor-removing sprays, gels, and candles. There are odor-absorbing packs to stow in closets and gym bags as well as pet shampoo and odor removers and vacuum cleaner beads. Fresh Wave is the official deodorizer of the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Team.

Hex Anti-Stink Detergent and Anti-Stink Spray

Hex Spray


Hex products are clearly geared for the active lifestyle of athletes, those that workout, and today's high-performance fabrics. However, don't overlook them if you simply have a hard worker that comes in with greasy and/or farm odors or just a sweaty adolescent. 

Hex offers Anti-Stink Detergent that works well in all types of washers and an Anti-Stink Spray for quick relief and gear that can't go into the washer like yoga mats.

You can find Hex in many mass marketers or buy it online.

OdorKlenz Laundry Odor Remover



OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is a non-toxic odor elimination product made from a blend of natural earth-friendly metal oxides including magnesium oxide (MgO), zinc oxide (ZnO), and titanium dioxide (TiO2) that trap and neutralize molecules that cause odors. OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is recommended for the removal of odors including mold and mildew, smoke, urine, vomit, sweat, and cooking odors.

Safe to use on all white and colored washable fabrics, OdorKlenz Laundry Additive contains no detergents and is fragrance-free. 

The product comes in a powder or liquid formula and should be added directly to the washer tub, not through an automatic dispenser. Safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers in all water temperatures, it should not be used with chlorine bleach.

In addition to the Laundry Additive, there is an extensive line of OdorKlenz products to help eliminate odors in your home that are safe to use around all pets.

Odor Xit

Odor Xit


OdorXit Concentrate can be used on any washable fabric and is safe to use with plain laundry detergent. It should not be combined with a detergent that contains additional products like bleach or fabric softeners. The product must be diluted with water following the product instructions. 

For use in a washer, add several caps full of Odorxit Concentrate at the beginning of the wash cycle with the normal dose of detergent. Allow the wash cycle to complete but delay the first spin cycle for 30 to 60 minutes. After the wash/soak time, finish the normal cycles.

For odors on dry-clean-only fabrics, spray with OdorXit Concentrate diluted one part concentrate 30 parts water. These odors are usually eliminated with one or two applications. Mist the garment—do not overwet—and allow the solution to dry overnight. Test the garment for odor by lightly spraying the area with water. If the odor returns, re-treat with the OdorXit. When the odor is completely eliminated, spot clean any stains and press the garment.

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