7 Easy Ways to Remove Body Odour and Sweat Stains From Your Laundry


Let’s be honest there’s nothing really great about body odour and sweating up a storm in your favourite shirt can lead to disaster if left untreated. From a tradie’s work gear to smelly teens, workout gear and even funky smelling bedsheets – here’s how to bring all of your laundry back to smelling fresh as a daisy!

There are several ways to ensure that your clothing can come back from the brink of body odour death and not forever be steeped with a lingering smell. And they’re all easier than you may think!


1. Address the root of the body odour source

Go straight to the source of the body odour. And I can confidently tell you teenage boys can smell. A lot. And sometimes really bad. If they seem to be skipping the soap or their deodorant just isn’t cutting it, get them to try washing their armpits with a clarifying shampoo and back it up with a heavy-duty deodorant. Crazy as it seems, it’s like hitting a reset button!

2. Baking soda is a powerhouse in the laundry

Baking soda (BiCarb Soda) can also help. You can make a paste with water and rub it into sweat-stained clothes, leave it for 15 minutes and then wash as per normal. Alternatively, presoak your items with ½ a cup of baking soda in a laundry sink of water.

Uses for bicarb soda FI
Bicarbonate Soda is useful for SO many things, including tackling smelly sweat stains! Source: Bigstock

3. A vinegar soak for the win

Vinegar is an unsung hero when it comes to cleaning, am I right? It just doesn’t get enough cred. Vinegar has odour-neutralising properties which makes it a force to reckon with in the laundry. Add a splash of white vinegar to a water-filled soaking bucket and soak smelly shirts for 20 minutes before washing as per usual.

4. Tackling hardened armpits on your shirts

Yep, we’ve all been there. Your favourite shirt over time now features hard, crusty pit stains and WHAT ON EARTH? Friends, this hard patch is a dreaded build-up of deodorant having worked its way into fabric fibres and setting. If the fabric is up to the challenge, soak them overnight in hot water and oxygenated bleach, such as Vanish Napisan Oxi Action Powder, ($8 at Woolworths) to help loosen and open up the fibres.

During the soaking, scrub at the build-up with a brush (even an old toothbrush) to help remove some of the gunk. Then drain the water and wash as per usual. You may need to repeat the process more than once… or you may just need to come to terms that you need to throw that shirt away.

body odour sweat stains
Soak for at least an hour, preferably overnight. The longer, the better! Source: Bigstock

5. Pretreat with a spritz and then wash

For ease of just getting the laundry done in a timely manner, there are products you can buy at the supermarket too. I swear by Sard Sweat & Deoderant Stain Remover Spray, $6 at Woolworths. It’s a stain remover spray with specialised technology to remove underarm stains caused by the chemical reaction of deodorant and sweat. Ewwww. Bonus is that it can be used on both white and coloured fabrics.

6. My sheets smell SO bad

Funky smelling sheets? Night sweats, hot summer nights and not washing your bedding frequently enough will all make your sheets a bit whiffy. There are a few ways to get around this. Firstly, don’t be in such a rush to make your bed in the morning, instead pull your quilt and sheets right back so they’re exposed to the air and can ‘dry out’ a little before you make it.

Secondly, wash your bedding on a long, heavy-duty wash cycle, add ¼ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle and dry them in the sun.  This will give them the all-natural germ-killing and odour lifting that only Mother Nature can do by the means of sunlight. Finally, a linen spray can help ‘mask’ any odours between washing.

cleaning tips
Dry bedsheets in the sunlight for even more natural disinfection! Source: Bigstock

7. Prevention will save you work in the laundry!

When it comes to busting body odour, personal hygiene matters, and so too does the need to change and wash your clothes regularly on regular cycles. Don’t ALWAYS use a short washing machine cycle!

Wear loose, breathable fabrics and don’t wear your clothes too tight. If your armpit is full of fabric, of course, it’s going to smell and stain! The same goes for your bedsheets. Keep your bed fresh by changing your sheets on a weekly cycle (more if you’re super sweaty!). SO DREAMY AND FRESH!

How damn good are fresh, clean sheets though? via GIPHY

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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