12 Unpleasant Laundry Odors You Can Banish With Baking Soda

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When it comes to household staples, you won't find any product that's more versatile than baking soda. This powerful ingredient can tackle a wide range of offensive odors, making it a must-have laundry supply. Baking soda is able to deodorize clothing, towels, and linens by neutralizing and then eliminating the bad smells. Considering that a box of baking soda costs less than $1 at Walmart, you'll find it's just as cost-effective as it is eco-friendly.

Whether you have an outfit from a recent spin class, a urine-soaked toddler sheet, or a sweater that reeks of cigarette smoke on your hands, baking soda will come to the rescue. It's even strong enough to rid clothing of skunk odor, should you accidentally have an encounter with one of these cute and fluffy (yet unbelievably smelly) creatures. If you're ready to banish a world of repugnant laundry odors, including vomit, mildew, and food smells, grab a box of baking soda from your pantry shelf and get to work!

Use baking soda to banish vomit smells

Illnesses, seasickness, overeating, and drinking too much can all lead to episodes of vomiting. Making it to a toilet, sink, or trash can isn't always possible. This is especially true for little ones who haven't yet learned to communicate that their stomachs are about to relieve themselves. Oftentimes, the vomit ends up on one's clothing. Because the smell is extremely pungent, you'll want to treat the clothing item immediately. Whether it's you, your child, or your spouse that gets vomit on a garment, you can get the odor out with baking soda.

To remove funky vomit smells from your clothing, you'll first need to hold the garment over a trash can and use a spoon to scrape away any solid foods. Proceed to wash your vomit-stained clothing in cold water. Don't toss it in the dryer afterward, however, because you need to create a paste out of baking soda to rub over the vomit stain first. To do this, simply add water slowly to a tablespoon of baking soda until it has a consistency similar to that of glue. Spread the mixture over the vomit stain and wait 30 minutes before laundering it again.

Use baking soda to banish urine smells

It isn't uncommon for toddlers learning how to use the potty to wet the bed, leaving parents urine-soaked clothes and linens that need to be cleaned in the morning. Additionally, pets, such as cats, may end up spraying urine on a pile of laundry. Either way, urine has a strong smell of ammonia because it contains uric acid, so you won't want to wait to treat the soiled item. In order to banish the terrible stench, you'll need to head to your pantry and grab a box of baking soda.

To remove urine smells from clothing, fill your tub (or sink if your laundry room has one) with warm water. Sprinkle in some baking soda, stir the water, and then add the urine-soaked items. Wait 15 minutes to give the baking soda time to work its magic and release the urine from the fabric. Drain the tub and give the clothing a rinse before tossing it in your washing machine. Use your preferred detergent to clean the item as you normally would.

Use baking soda to banish mildew and musty odors

Clothes that are damp for an extended period of time may begin to smell musty or even start to grow mildew. Perhaps you forgot to move your laundry from the washer to the dryer, or maybe your kids left a few pool towels bunched up in a corner. Simply drying the clothes won't get rid of the odor either. Mildew is actually caused by a fungus that can exacerbate both respiratory and immune issues. The best way to treat clothes with a musty or mildew odor is to use baking soda.

You can quickly create a spray and apply it to any clothing that smells a bit musty. Pour 1 cup of water in a bowl and add the juice of half a lemon. Stir in a teaspoon of baking soda. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle to easily treat your garments. If the entire load of laundry smells musty, you'll need to wash the clothes again, but this time, add half a cup of baking soda during the wash cycle and half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. When it comes to mildew, you'll need to add 1 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle and then use the "extra rinse" setting to thoroughly clean the clothes.

Use baking soda to banish workout gear smells

There's nothing more energizing than an intense workout. Working up a sweat, however, can leave your exercise gear quite smelly. Because this type of odor comes from bacteria mixing with the moisture secreted from your body as you exert yourself running, lifting weights, or using an elliptical, you won't be able to completely get rid of it with laundry detergent alone. To deodorize your smelly workout gear, you will need a box of baking soda.

Baking soda is excellent at getting workout gear, or any sweaty clothes for that matter, fresh once again. Start off by giving your exercise outfits time to breathe. Afterward, pretreat them with a baking soda soak that consists of a few gallons of water and half a cup of baking soda. When the baking soda has penetrated the clothing, you can go ahead and wash the items as you normally would.

Use baking soda to banish smoke smells

Whether you're smoking a cigarette or tending to a bonfire, smoke is sure to cling to your clothing. In fact, smoke smells are so strong that they may even linger on your outfit after dining out with a friend or family member who was enjoying a cigar. Just as it is for your sweaty workout gear, laundry detergent alone won't be able to get your clothes smelling fresh and clean. You'll need to remove the odor using the absorption powers of baking soda.

There are two ways to remove smoke odors from your clothing. You can presoak the items in a bucket by mixing a few gallons of water with half a cup of baking soda. Make sure you agitate the clothes in the deodorizing solution so that it gets deep down into the fibers of the fabric. Then launder the items with regular detergent. Another option is to pour 1 cup of baking soda into the washing machine as it's filling up. Do this along with your detergent and your clothes will come out smelling great!

Use baking soda to banish body odor smells

According to Harvard Medical School, body odor isn't just caused by bacteria. It can also be the result of a variety of diseases and conditions, such as menopause and an overactive thyroid. Additionally, eating foods like garlic and cabbage can change the way your body smells. Showering can remove the bacteria and unpleasant odor from your body, but you'll need the deodorizing properties of baking soda to freshen up your clothing.

To remove body odor from your clothing, all you need to do is toss 1 cup of baking soda into the washing cycle with your preferred laundry detergent. When it comes to outfits that are especially offensive, you can pre-soak them first using 2 gallons of water and 1 cup of vinegar. Then wash them with the baking soda and detergent. Afterward, hang the clothes up to air dry in the sun. As Healthline warns, dryers may make body odor smells harder to remove.

Use baking soda to banish fecal odors

Cloth diapers and toddler potty training accidents are unavoidable and tend to result in foulest smelling laundry. It's not uncommon for pets to relieve themselves indoors from time to time either, which may just happen on a shirt or pair of pants you had lying on the floor. No matter how the feces got on your outfit, you can put your trust in baking soda to get the clothing smelling fresh once again.

Put on a pair of gloves and use a disposable spoon to scoop any remaining feces off of the clothing and into the trash. Place the garment in the washing machine and add a full box of baking soda to the water. Baking soda both deodorizes and removes stains. Pour in your laundry detergent and you're good to go!

Tip: For larger poop stains, you may need to add an enzyme cleaner to the wash as well. Enzyme cleaners break up the proteins that are causing the stain. You'll find this type of cleaner is readily available on Amazon for under $10.

Use baking soda to banish food smells

Whether you are a chef or home cook, working with odorous foods, such as garlic, onions, and fish, can leave your clothes quite stinky. While you may need to change out of those clothes before hosting your dinner, you can freshen up the clothes with the funky food smells later on. You can accomplish this task by using a steamer or by allowing the clothing to air out; however, it's much easier and more time-efficient to launder the items with baking soda.

Fill a bucket three-quarters of the way with cold water. Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda in 4 cups of hot water and then pour this mixture into the bucket of cold water. Give the water a stir and then add your stinky clothing items to the bucket. Let the garments soak for approximately 4 hours before transferring them to your washing machine. Launder them as you normally would with your preferred detergent.

Use baking soda to banish foot odors

If someone in your home has smelly feet, you'll know it's sure to affect their socks, slippers, and sneakers. Foot odor can be downright funky, but getting rid of it isn't hard if you have baking soda on hand. This is because baking soda can absorb the moisture in your shoes while also removing any smells your sweaty feet behind. Additionally, it works to deodorize socks and slippers that are machine washable.

To freshen up your sneakers, pour ¼ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of cornstarch in a clean sock. Place a rubber band at the open end to keep the deodorizing powder from spilling out. Repeat this so that you end up with one sock for each shoe. Tuck the socks into the shoes and let them sit for a full 24 hours. To wash your socks and slippers, add them to your next load of laundry with half a cup of baking soda tossed in during the wash cycle and half a cup of baking soda thrown in during the rinse cycle.

Tip: Consider soaking your feet in a baking soda foot bath for 15 minutes each day. This will help prevent your feet from smelling in the first place, eliminating the need to constantly deodorize socks and shoes.

Use baking soda to banish skunk smells

Should you run into a skunk in the backyard or while walking your dog around the neighborhood, you'll need an effective way to remove the pungent odor from your clothing. When skunks spray, they release the compound thiol, which causes the putrid rotten egg smell that the furry creatures are best known for emitting. Getting rid of that odor isn't easy, but it is possible with a little help from baking soda.

Soak skunk-scented clothing in a bucket filled with 6 cups of water and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Wait 1 hour before transferring the clothing to your washing machine. Launder the items using half a cup of baking soda and your normal amount of detergent. When clean, allow the clothing to air-dry on a clothesline outside.

Warning: For delicate garments, refrain from using the hydrogen peroxide and move right on to adding baking soda to the wash.

Use baking soda to banish laundry hamper odors

In many households, it makes sense to dedicate one day a week to catching up on laundry. This means the hamper is busy collecting soiled clothing items for seven days before it's emptied. By then, some of the foul odors sticking to the garments are now clinging to the hamper. Baking soda not only has the power to remove those offending smells, but you can also use it to keep your hamper smelling fresh all week.

Start off by cleaning your hamper with a little hot water and a dash of baking soda. When the hamper no longer smells, you can move on to preventing future odors from forming. You can accomplish this by cutting the feet out from of a pair of pantyhose. Fill each foot with baking soda and add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Tie a knot in the open end of each foot before placing the deodorizing sachets inside your laundry basket.

Use baking soda to banish sour washing machine odors

Over time, washing machines themselves can become quite odorous. This is often due to mold growth behind the washing gaskets but may also occur in homes that have hard water. Hard water deposits draw bacteria, which in turn produces a foul smell. When you treat the underlying issue, such as by cleaning up the mold or softening the water, you can begin to tackle the sour fumes coming from your machine with baking soda.

Measure out 2 cups of baking soda and pour them inside your empty washing machine. Use the hot water setting and let the machine run through a full cycle. The washer should now smell fresh again, but on the off chance that you can still detect a lingering scent, you can use white distilled vinegar to eliminate it. Add 2 cups of vinegar and 20 drops of your preferred essential oil to the empty washing machine and run it one more time using the hot water option.