How To Remove Excessive Fragrance Perfume Odors From Clothes

Hanging clothing
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Perfume can enhance or it can overwhelm. Many people are highly sensitive to perfumes and scents and some of us just don't want to smell like a gardenia, patchouli or the entire perfume counter.  If you need to remove perfume odors or excessive odors from detergent or fabric softeners, follow these tips.

How To Remove Excessive Fragrance Perfume Odors From Washable Clothes And Linens

As you know, some scents are much more difficult to remove from laundry than others.

Fabric softeners and dryer sheet odors are some of the worst because the product uses a silicone formula to coat every fiber (that’s what makes them feel smooth and soft). This method may not remove all of they odor on the first try; but it is the most economical and reliable way to attack scents. Remember, this is for washable fabrics only.

  1. Air out the clothes. Hang the scented clothing, even newly purchased clothing, in the open air. If you can’t hang things outside, hang the clothing in a breezy (you can use a fan), warm and sunlit room filled with lots of green leafy plants. The plants will help absorb the odors. The length of time the clothing needs to air depends upon how saturated the clothing is with scent and the sensitivity of the wearer. The length of time can be as little as a few hours to a couple weeks.
  2. Use the soak. Soak clothing in a sink or washing machine filled with warm water and one cup baking soda before washing. Be sure the soaking vessel is large enough to completely submerge the smelly garment or linen. Overnight is usually sufficient time for soaking although some people will suggest up to several days. Rather than soaking for several days, it is probably more effective to repeat the airing – soaking – washing – drying cycle several times if necessary.
  1. Time to wash. After soaking, wash the clothing as usual following the care label guidelines either in a clothes washer or by hand using an unscented laundry detergent. Add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle and stop the cycle. Let the laundry soak for an hour before completing the rinse cycle. To insure that all detergent has been rinsed from your clothing, select your washing machine’s extra rinse cycle if it has one and add nothing – just water – to this extra rinse.
  1. Drying and airing again. For best results, dry the freshly washed clothes on a clothes line or clothes rack in the fresh air and sunlight. Sunlight will help remove odors and smells but bright sunlight can cause dyes to fade; so hang dark colors in the shade. The line drying will also provide a final opportunity for clothes to air out. If you must dry in a clothes dryer, use a low temperature setting like permanent press because excessively high temperatures can actually cause any remaining odor molecules to adhere more deeply with the fabric by bonding with fibers and dyes.
  2. Store away properly. If it is time for a change of season, you really should not store clothes away with a strong perfume odor. But, if you must, you can place the fragrant garments in a sealed plastic tub or heavy-duty plastic bag with a box of baking soda. Leave them sealed for a week or so. The baking soda will absorb the odors - similar to what it does in your refrigerator.
  3. Repeat if necessary. Once through this process will effectively remove smells and irritants for most people. If your clothes still have bothersome odors or are chemically irritating, you can repeat the process as often as necessary.

How To Remove Fragrance Perfume Odors From Dry Clean Only Clothes

If clothing is labeled as dry clean only clothing, follow the same steps for airing as those for washable clothes.

If it is a garment is unstructured and can be hand washed, follow the same steps as above. Use the correct methods and detergents for hand washing. The baking soda and distilled white vinegar will not harm the fabrics.

You may find that a fabric refresher like Febreze, which is offered in both scented and unscented formulas, may remove odors from dry-clean only garments with great success. Take the clothing to an outside area and spray lightly and allow to continue to air. Febreze traps odor molecules and keeps them suspended until the garment can be cleaned.

When you take the items to a dry cleaner tell the manager about the odors and about any fragrance sensitivity that you may have. Some dry cleaning chemicals can also contain perfumes.

For more stain removal tips: Stain Removal A to Z