Clothing, towels and other fabric items used in your home may begin to develop odors over time. Clothing may smell due to perspiration or foods. Cooking or smoking also leaves undesirable odors behind, as will clothes that are mildewed. However, eliminating these odors is simple and requires only a few natural ingredients from your kitchen cupboard.
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Vinegar is an effective deodorizer for fabrics. To freshen an entire load of laundry, add 1 cup of vinegar along with your regular detergent. If this is not effective, wash again using 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of baking soda and laundry detergent. To remove the smell of cigarette smoke from clothing, fill your bathtub with hot water and add 1 cup of vinegar. Hang your clothes above the tub so that the steam will deodorize and freshen them.
Baking Soda and Borax
Baking soda and borax not only eliminate odors but also improve the efficacy of your laundry detergent. For a full load of laundry, add one small box of baking soda or 1 cup of borax in the wash cycle along with your regular laundry detergent.
Ammonia or Lemon Juice
Ammonia will remove odors in laundry. However, when mixed with bleach, ammonia creates a toxic gas, so do not use ammonia and bleach together. To remove odors, add 1 cup of ammonia to your laundry rinse cycle. Alternatively, lemon juice may also be used to remove odors; add a small amount to the rinse cycle.
Homemade Liquid Detergent
Create your own liquid laundry detergent and personalize it with your favorite scent. Add 2 cups each of borax, washing soda and melted natural bar soap to 1 qt. of boiling water. Once the ingredients are dissolved, add 2 gallons of water. Personalize your laundry detergent by adding several drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender.
Water Temperature and Drying Methods
Hot water will eliminate odors better than cold water. However, some clothing items cannot be washed in hot water. Always check the label on your garments before washing. Whenever possible, hang your clothes outside in the sun to dry. The fresh air and sun will eliminate odors and give your clothes a fresh, natural scent. Always dry clothes thoroughly before folding or hanging, to prevent mildew and an accompanying musty odor. Avoid hanging wet clothes to dry in an enclosed area like bathrooms, or use fans or open windows to allow air flow and help clothes dry completely.