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- The world can be a pretty smelly place and lots of that stink can cling to your laundry.
- We’ve rounded up the best products to help you get rid of laundry odors.
- OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is the best laundry odor remover we’ve tried.
- When added to a load of stinky laundry, it tackles everything from greasy cooking odors to teenage sweat and cigarette smoke.
It is so frustrating to spend your time and efforts doing laundry only to find it still smells funky. Even worse is when a shirt smells okay right out of the dryer but then you put it on and wear it for an hour and the funk returns. What’s up with that?
Quite often the problem is that your laundry isn’t really clean. Trapped body soil and bacteria emit odors especially when warmed by body heat and the same thing happens with cooking odors, cigarette smoke, and mildew.
The first thing to do is up your laundry game by using a heavy-duty detergent that contains enough enzymes to break down soil and odors so they can be washed away. You should also give your washer a good cleaning to remove any mold and mildew build-up and to remove bacteria-trapping residue especially if you usually wash in cold water only. But if that still isn’t enough, you need a laundry odor remover.
I’ve been testing laundry products for many years for publications and companies as a housekeeping and laundry expert. I started testing odor removal products with cotton fabrics and farm workers, and have moved on to gym enthusiasts and high-performance fabrics. So I know about stink.
Here are the best laundry odor removers you can buy:
- Best laundry odor remover overall: OdorKlenz Laundry Additive
- Best laundry odor remover spray: Febreze Heavy Duty Fabric Refresher
- Best laundry odor remover for diapers: Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer
- Best laundry odor remover for activewear: FunkAway Odor Eliminating Spray
- Best laundry odor remover for non-washable fabric: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best laundry odor remover overall
Why you’ll love it: If you are looking for an effective laundry odor removal product that is safe for all washable fabrics and tackles a wide range of odors, OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is your best bet.
Whether the odors that cling to your washable clothes are perfumes, sweat, grease, mothballs, or pet urine, OdorKlenz Laundry Additive can remove them.
Manufactured from a combination of magnesium, zinc, and titanium oxide, the minerals attach to and react with pollutants to destroy or neutralize the odor. The product contains no added scents so it won’t compete with your favorite detergent.
It is safe to use on any washable fabric in any water temperature and in both standard and high-efficiency washers.
Just 1/4 cup added to the wash load with your regular detergent will remove almost all problem odors. If you have some really stinky laundry, the product can safely be used as a pre-soak for white or colored clothes.
Amazon shoppers agree with my recommendation after testing. Some 81% of online reviewers give OdorKlenz Laundry Additive a 4 or 5 rating. Buyers found it effectively removed odors ranging from the chemical odor of new clothes to mothballs to mildew.
While OdorKlenz is more expensive than some other odor removal products, it delivers what it promises if used correctly. OdorKlenz Laundry Additive comes in liquid and powdered formulas in a variety of sizes and can be ordered online from the company’s website or from Amazon.
Pros: Removes every type of odor from all washable fabrics, free of dyes and perfumes, non-toxic to the environment
Cons: Not readily available in mass market stores
The best laundry odor remover spray
Why you’ll love it: If you don’t have time to wash your favorite shirt and it doesn’t smell very fresh, Febreze Heavy Duty Fabric Refresher can get you through the day with no embarrassment.
I’m not a big fan of heavily-scented air or fabric refreshers that simply mask offensive odors with another odor. All that usually does for me usually is cause an allergic reaction, and I can still smell the original offender.
Febreze fabric refresher works a bit differently by trapping offensive odor molecules within the chemical molecules of the formula. The product contains ring-shaped cyclodextrin molecules that bind the odor molecules inside the ring to make them imperceptible to the human nose. Then the corkscrew-shaped duo-PSB provide the fragrance you have chosen to replace the bad odors and citric acid holds it all in suspension until you decide to wash or dry clean the garment.
Since its introduction by Proctor and Gamble in 1996, Febreze has grown into a huge product line. For laundry, I prefer either the unscented or crisp clean formula so that it doesn’t compete with my perfume or body chemistry. When I want to quickly and effectively remove odors, the heavy-duty formula is going to do the best job.
On Target, one mom shared a review that says it all, "If you need to get rid of odors that have a life of their own, you need Febreze Heavy Duty. If it can kill my teenage son’s stinky sneakers smell it’s worth every penny!" On both Target and Amazon, hundreds of others agree with Febreze ranking 4.3 stars on each site.
To get the best results, spray the offensive garment on the inside and on the outside then allow it to dry completely before wearing. This will prevent wrinkling and allow the Febreze formula time to trap the odor molecules before you accidentally rub it off putting on the clothes.
Pros: Heavy-duty formula works well to trap odors, readily available online and in mass-market stores, safe to use on washable and dry clean only fabrics
Cons: Does not permanently remove odors, not effective in masking all odors
The best laundry odor remover for diapers
Why you’ll love it: Environmentally-friendly Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer removes residual urine odors from diapers but is gentle enough to protect sensitive skin.
Besides its cool name, I chose Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer as the best odor remover for diapers because it works. And not just on diapers for a baby.
Urine, whether from pets, babies, or adults with incontinence problems is a distinctive and difficult odor to remove. Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer uses natural minerals to break down the odor molecules and flush them out of washable fabrics.
The key to success in using this product on fabrics that retain an odor from urine even after washing is to first do a pre-soak. By adding the Funk Rock to a sink of the hottest water recommended for the fabric and allow the garment to soak for at least one hour, the natural minerals can strip away the ammonia molecules. Then, add one tablespoon of Funk Rock along with your usual detergent to every wash load to maintain the freshness. It is safe to use in both high-efficiency and standard washers.
There are more than 500 reviewers on Amazon and 65% of them give Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer 5 stars.
Pros: Mineral-based ingredients are environmentally-friendly, effective as a presoak and laundry additive to remove urine odors from washable fabrics, works well on human and animal urine odors
Cons: Not readily available in mass market stores, the plastic bag may spill and is not childproof
Buy Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer in a 16-ounce (30 loads) bag on Amazon for $17.95 (originally $18.95)
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