8 Proven Tips to Remove Common Odours from Household Textiles and Clothes

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removing household odours

Odours are a part of life. Whether they’re from cooking smells, pets or laundry. Unfortunately, these common odours can linger on your household textiles and clothes long after the source of the problem is gone. Try some of these 8 proven tips to remove common odours from your household textiles and clothes to leave your house smelling great. Best of all these tips are kind to the environment too.

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#1. Sunshine

tips to remove common odours

The simplest solution to remove musty mildew odours from clothes and textiles is sunshine. The UV rays destroy the spores and bacteria responsible for causing the musty odours, and it’s gentle enough to use on any fabric or item.

Mattresses can also benefit from time spent out in the sun and in fresh air, and they are often one of the most common household items that are sanitised least often, but contain a significant number of odour-containing bacteria. To remove musty-smelling odours, remove the bed linen and stand your mattress upright in a sunny space either indoors with the windows open or if possible, outdoors in the garden.

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#2. White Vinegar

It’s non-toxic, inexpensive and is a product that most people will have in their pantry. White vinegar is mildly acidic and reacts with most odour-causing substances. You can use it on almost any surface to not only remove odours, but to also to disinfect, which makes it especially effective on eliminating odours caused by pet urine.

Simply use a spray bottle to mist undiluted distilled white vinegar onto the surface where the pet has urinated (if it happened recently, be sure to blot up any excess urine first), then leave to dry.

Though the vinegar has a pungent smell to begin with, it quickly dissipates, leaving your home smelling fresh.

You can also mist vinegar onto musty-smelling clothes that have stayed in the washing machine too long, and it is also a great way to remove odours and event stains from soiled clothes.

So keeping a spray bottle of vinegar in your laundry room will get two jobs done with half the effort.

Vinegar is also gentle, but effective enough to get cooking smells out of curtains. Add a cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry cycle and set it to “delicates.”

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#3. Borax

Borax is ideal for when your brand-new clothes don’t smell so fresh. New t-shirts and other clothes that come directly from the factory often have a chemical smell due to the treatment process used to keep the clothes hygienic during manufacturing and transport.

Washing your clothes in a regular washing cycle can remove some of the smell, but to really eliminate the unpleasant chemical odour once and for all, add a cup of Borax to a single laundry load to help absorb the odour.

Borax is also a bleach-free way to remove yellowing from white t shirts.

#4. Baking Soda

baking soda tips to remove common odours

Carpets take a lot of punishment from years of foot traffic to pet odours to spills. Which can make them prone to bacterial built up in the fibres. These can leave your carpets smelling awful. While it is recommended you have your carpets steam cleaned every three months or so to prevent smells, there is an easier way to keep your carpets fresh between cleans.

Baking soda is a common household product that can neutralise any odour. Simply vacuum up any lingering particles from the carpet, then sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the area and leave it for a minimum of two hours. Use the brush attachment of the vacuum to suck up the baking soda, along with the odour.

You can add lemon peel or a few drops of your favourite essential oil to make your carpets smell amazing. This method works equally as well for upholstery.

You can also use baking soda on urine-soaked mattresses to soak up and dry out the urine, before using vinegar or bleach to disinfect it.

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#5. Steam

The high heat of steam kills bacteria and mould spores and has the added benefit off removing wrinkles and renewing old clothes. It is ideal for upholstery, which can be notoriously difficult to clean, or other chemical-sensitive items that can be damaged by commercial laundry products.

You can add a few drops of essential oils to your steam cleaner to help cover up any lingering smells. Depending on the severity of the odour, you may need to make a few passes over the item to fully remove the odour.

#6. Activated Charcoal

Another strong odour absorber is activated charcoal. This heat-treated charcoal product can be used to remove strong smells, such as pet odours or the chemical Naphthalene, which is commonly used when storing used clothes in thrift stores.

You can find activated charcoal at most pet stores, usually in the aquatic section, or you may order it online. To remove smells from fabrics, place a block of charcoal inside a sealable bag or container with the offending item and leave for at least 24 hours, or up to one week, depending on the severity of the odour.

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#7. Essential Oils

tips to remove common odours essential oils

Occasionally, odours linger even after being treated with fabric deodorants and laundry products. As an added barrier against foul odours, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to cover up the odour.

Essential oils last longer than commercially available deodorants and are kinder to your household textiles and clothes. Some oils, such as oil of cloves or tea tree oil, also have anti-bacterial properties that can help prevent odour-causing bacteria from multiplying, keeping your clothes fresher for longer.

#8. Bleach

Bleach is a powerful disinfectant, and while it is highly effective at removing strong pet urine odours and the organisms that cause them, from fabrics, the chemical can damage certain textiles, so you need to use caution.

When using bleach, always ensure the area is well ventilated, as the fumes are toxic. Always dilute one-part bleach in 10 parts water and test the mixture on a small area first.

For pet urine odours, soak up excess urine with baking soda, remove the soda, then spray the area and leave for 30 minutes. Use a damp cloth and warm fresh water to rinse the area clean.

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tips to remove common odours from your household

Remember…
Prevention is better than a cure. The best way to keep your home smelling fresh is to have a regular cleaning schedule to prevent foul-smelling bacteria and mould from building up in the fabrics of your home.

However, odours are going to happen, so for a sweet-smelling home between cleans, try some of these proven tips to remove odours from your household fabrics and clothes.

Over to you now. Do you have any tips to remove common odours from your home? Please share them with us in the comments box below. 

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