Store Returns: How to Remove Odor From Clothing

Store Returns: How to Remove Odor From Clothing

Posted by Big Brand on 26th Mar 2020

Everyone who has ever bought store returns has had a piece that smells.  Sometimes the smell is good, sometimes the smell is neutral and other times it's a terrible perfume smell or just a bad odor in general.; but either way, you don't want to sell scented clothing!  In today's article we are going to discuss removing the smell from clothing.  Let's begin!

First, PLEASE do not follow the awful advice online that says to add Scented Fabric Sheets to the parcel you are shipping.  

The reasons you don't want to do this:

  • Some people (like me) HATE the smell of most fabric sheets.  
  • Some people are VERY sensitive to chemicals.  My buddy is so severely chemically sensitive that he can't even go through the laundry soap section at the grocery store and can't even walk by a candle store in the mall.  It drives me insane, but I get it!
  • THE GOAL IS TO GET IT TO SMELL LIKE NOTHING.  Adding a stupid fabric sheet makes it smell like Lavender (which I hate), Floral (which is my most hated scent of all time) or "Fresh" (which I can tolerate.  Some are even nice smelling.) 
  • And lastly, it's friggin tacky and unprofessional.  Like seriously, a laundry sheet?  Come on now. 

Ok, so now that we have agreed that not all advice online is good advice, let's discuss REAL options for removing odor. 

First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hanging the item outdoors!  Fresh air can do an item WONDERS.  Just make sure it is in shade because sun can bleach the heck out of fabric.  Also, make sure its covered in some way so that birds can't land on it and twigs wont fall on it.  Under an awning is awesome.  I'm also sure you could rig an umbrella up or hang it under your patio unbrella. 

You CAN use an Odor Eliminator Spray, but PLEASE get a "neutral" or "unscented" product.  Febreze makes a product called FREE NATURE that is 0% perfume!

You can also try the Dry Cleaning option.  There are DIY Dry Cleaning kits that do not require taking the garment to a Dry Cleaner.  Dryel offers a full kit that is under $13 that gives you everything you need to perform a full at-home DIY dry cleaning. 

BAKING SODA!!! Remember how your mom used to put it in the fridge to absorb odors?  The same can work with clothing! Take a trash bag, open it up and bring a hanger through to the bottom.  Poke a hole in the bottom using the hanger so the top of the hanger is sticking out of the bottom of the bag.  Put the shirt on the hanger.  put the bking soda in the bag.  Make sure the baking soda inside of the bag is sitting on a table so it doesn't spill.  Kind of like this:

Here's a super cool option that I accidentally discovered - 

In our boutique we used to sell oil warmers.  Because of this we would keep the oil warmers turned on all day, 7 days a week:

Within only a couple weeks of being open, repeat customers would come in and ask "What do you spray the clothing with?  It smells so awesome but I can't figure out what it is!"  ... I had no idea WTF they were taking about because we obviously never sprayed the clothing with anything.  

Eventually I discovered that by running the oil warmers every day, the fragrance would permeate the material without actually leaving a real odor.  It is really hard to explain but merchandise smelled like nothing with a hint of AMAZING.  ...perhaps you could call it "Amazing Nothing Scent" LOL!  So if you have the garmet hung up in your home and you burn oil, it will change the fragrance of the fabric without actually making it smell like perfume. 

If you still can't remove the smell you're going to have to launder the item.  Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar (the apple cider kind could stain because it's brown) to your normal wash cycle, either hot or cold water. It will freshen and deodorize all of your clothing in your normal wash.

If it STILL smells, do the vinegar wash a 2nd time.  

You can also try products like Tide Odor Rescue (designed for really bad smells!)

If you want an All Natural option, Rockin Green makes a 5-Star detergent that is made to fight the strongest odors without harsh chemicals or perfumes:

NEXT: Read STORE RETURNS: What to do about HOLES in clothing

AND: STORE RETURNS: What to Do About STAINS on Clothing

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