remove fabric softener smell from clothes

How to Get Fabric Softener Smell Out of Clothes?

In Cleaning, Home Tips by Jamie

Although fabric softener can be a benefit to many laundry cycles and clothing, sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. If you notice that your clothes smell like fabric softener to an extreme degree after washing, what can you do? So, how to get fabric softener smell out of clothes?

You can use white vinegar, baking soda, or laundry detergent to help you remove the smell. Hot water cycles and simply using less softener can also help combat this issue.

But are there any other solutions to get fabric softener smell out of your clothes? And what is the step-by-step process for removing the smell from your favorite garments? Read on to learn more!

Can I Use White Vinegar to Remove Fabric Softener Smell?

One of the best ways to remove fabric softener smell from your clothes is to use white vinegar in your washing machine while you are washing your load of laundry.

Vinegar is commonly used in many household cleaning remedies, such as carpet cleaner, pet stain removal, and even homemade ice melt Solutions. You can also use vinegar to remove the sickly smell of fabric softener!

Plan on adding one cup of white vinegar to your washing machine cycle with your stinky clothes. Allow the vinegar to soak into your clothes for at least half an hour, potentially more. You should also plan on putting these clothes through an extra rinse so that the vinegar comes out.

The last thing you want is to replace one smell for another. Allowing your clothes to have an extra rinse will prevent them from smelling too much like vinegar. If you still notice a lingering fabric softener smell, you may need to repeat the process.

This technique also works with other solutions on this list.  Let’s go over some of those other solutions now.

Can I Use Baking Soda to Remove the Fabric Softener Smell?

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda Shaker - 12 Oz

You can use baking soda to remove fabric softener smell from your clothes. This process usually takes longer than when you use white vinegar, but it is still an effective solution.

In your washing machine or bathtub, add your clothes to warm water and make sure they are entirely submerged. Then, add at least one cup of baking soda to the bath or washing machine. Allow your clothes to soak for a few hours, overnight, or more than a day.

Depending on the severity of the smell, the longer you can let your clothes soak, the better. Baking soda is an excellent household remedy for soaking up excess moisture or assisting with stains. It is also a good tool for acidic staining or smells.

Be sure to put your clothes through an extra rinse cycle to ensure there is no baking soda residue left on your clothes. If strong fabric softener or baking soda smell still remains, you may want to continue on with some of the solutions on this list.

Does Washing with Laundry Detergent Help Remove Fabric Softener Smell?

Washing your clothes with standard laundry detergent to remove fabric softener scents can be useful. However, sometimes these detergents are not powerful enough to combat the heavy perfume that comes with fabric softener.

You can always try washing your clothes with detergents, hot water, and an extra rinse cycle. This might be enough to remove any lingering fabric softener smells. However, you may still want to try to remedy your problem with white vinegar or baking soda.

Try Using Extra Hot Water Setting on Your Washing Machine

If your washing machine is equipped with a hot water or extra hot water setting, you may want to try this on your fabric softener clothes. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit more hot water, especially if you have the time to let your clothes soak in it or get an extra hot water rinse.

Keep in mind that using hot water in your washing machine isn’t appropriate for all clothes or dyes. You run the risk of damaging your clothing if it isn’t designed to handle extremely hot water. Always check your recommended wash settings for each article of clothing before moving forward with this step.

Hot water also tends to make dyes bleed, and you can end up with unattractive or damaged clothing during this process. Always wash your clothes with similar colors, and take care before tossing everything into a washer.

Let the Clothes Dry Outdoors in the Fresh Air

hung dry clothes outdoor

Everyone loves the smell of clothes that have been left out to dry outside in the sun. No matter the season, letting your clothes air dry in fresh air can help you with any lingering scents.

Fresh air isn’t a miracle worker- you won’t be able to hang your clothes up to dry and expect them to be free of cigarette smells or worse. However, fabric softener scents are more likely to dissipate when hung outside, especially if you have used a baking soda or vinegar soak on them already.

If you have a clothesline and the weather is nice, remove your clothes from your washing machine and allow them to fully dry in the sun and fresh air rather than your dryer. Not only will this allow for fewer scents to linger- hang drying your clothes has been known to extend the life of most fabrics too!

Wearing the Clothes Outdoors Can Help

Did you know that just wearing the clothes in fresh air can help remove unwanted scents? If you put on your favorite tee and notice a very strong fabric softener smell, try walking around for a while and see how it changes.

Just like hang drying your clothes can help combat strong odors, wearing your clothes outside can help too!

Use Less Fabric Softener Next Time

Sometimes we may not need as much fabric softener as we think. You may consider using less product next time you wash your clothes, even if you were only using the recommended amount of fabric softener in the first place.

Don’t Overfill Your Washer

Oftentimes, soap and fabric softener have trouble distributing evenly in a load of laundry if the load is too large. Knowing how much your specific washer can handle is key to getting your fabric softener ratio right.

Try to only fill your washer to half capacity if you are struggling with laundry soap and fabric softener scents lingering on all of your clothes. Sometimes these liquid products clump on one specific article of clothing if your washer is filled too full- this could be a solution to your problem.

Purchase Fragrance-Free Fabric Softeners

The final solution? Plan on buying fabric softeners without fragrance or dyes. This can help if your existing fabric softener is consistently a nuisance or troublesome scent on your clothes.

There are many fragrance free options on the market today, all with the same powerful ability to soften your clothes. You can expect the results you want without any overpowering smells or dyes!

Final Thoughts

Getting fabric softener smell out of your clothes is easier than you think. Depending on the severity of the smell, you can use any one of these solutions (or multiple combinations) to make your clothes how they once were!

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.