6 Odor Removers for Stinky Laundry

Mixed race woman smelling clean towels in laundry
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Some odors can be particularly difficult to remove from clothes, even after washing properly. Scent boosting products like Gain FireworksDowny 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 smoke, mildew and perspiration. Some do an excellent job, while others don't work as well. These six products will make a big...MORE difference in cleaning your stinky clothes.

  • 01 of 06

    Since it's introduction, Febreze spray-on odor remover has become a must have to refresh clothes and fabrics like upholstery and drapes that can not 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...MORE so the are flushed away in the rinse cycle. The product does not add 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.

  • 02 of 06

    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 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...MORE 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.

  • 03 of 06

    OdorXit Concentrate can be used on any washable fabric and is safe to use with plain laundry detergent. It should not be combined with 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...MORE minutes. After the wash/soak time, finish the normal cycles.

    For odors on dry clean only fabrics, spray with OdorXit Concentrate diluted 1 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 over night. 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.

  • 04 of 06

    DeFunkit is a three-step-system for washable fabrics developed to remove odors and then coat fabric fibers to prevent odor from forming through 20 wearings and washes. Odors that cling to fabrics are caused by molecules that cling to the fibers. To remove the odors, you must get the molecules out of the fabric by using the correct type and amount of detergent/chemicals to break the bond.

    Unfortunately, some detergents will not cut through the natural body oils or synthetic oils that trap the odor...MORE molecules. In fact, some detergents actually make the situation worse by remaining in the fabric if not rinsed away well. DeFunkit provides the chemicals needed to break odor bonds.

    The three-step process includes a prewash, the odor removal chemicals and the final odor preventer to coat fabrics. Since most front load washers will not allow you to open the door after the water is added, deFUNKit has a unique way to the final step. Simply toss the entire unopened packet into the washer with the pre-washed clothes. There is a dissolvable seal on the packet that will release the contents after an appropriate exposure to water. Once the cycle is finished, simply remove and discard the empty Step Three packet.

    Each packet will clean and protect about one pound of fabric per load. That is equivalent to four average t-shirts, around 20 pairs of running socks, one bath towel, five dish towels, or 10 washcloths. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    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...MORE 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.

  • 06 of 06

    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...MORE odor-causing bacteria.