How to Get Smell Out of Polyester: Tips for Removing Odors from Polyester Fabrics in 2023

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how to get smell out of polyester

Common Causes of Unpleasant Odors in Polyester Fabric

Polyester fabric can sometimes develop unpleasant odors due to a variety of reasons. Some common causes include:

  • Sweat and body odor: Polyester is not as breathable as natural fibers, so sweat and body odor can get trapped in the fabric.
  • Bacteria and fungi: Moisture and warmth can create an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi, leading to unpleasant smells.
  • Smoke or cooking odors: Polyester fabrics can absorb odors from smoke or cooking, which can linger even after washing.

Sweat and Body Odor

Polyester is a synthetic material that does not allow air to circulate easily through the fabric, trapping sweat and body odor. The odor-causing bacteria thrive in this warm, moist environment, resulting in lingering smells. Additionally, polyester tends to hold onto oils from sweat more than other fabrics, exacerbating the problem.

Tips to prevent sweat-related odors:

  • Wear breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton or linen when possible.
  • Use antiperspirants or deodorants to minimize sweating.
  • Avoid wearing polyester garments for extended periods without washing them.

Bacteria and Fungi

The combination of moisture and warmth in polyester fabric provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms can cause unpleasant odors that are difficult to eliminate. Regular washing alone may not be enough to completely remove these smells.

Tips to prevent bacterial and fungal odors:

  • Avoid leaving damp polyester garments in a closed, humid environment for extended periods.
  • Allow polyester items to fully dry before storing them.
  • Consider using antimicrobial laundry additives or sprays specifically designed for polyester fabrics.

Using Regular Laundry Detergent to Get Rid of Smells in Polyester

When it comes to eliminating odors from polyester, using regular laundry detergent can be an effective solution. Start by checking the care label on your polyester garment to ensure that it is safe to wash in a machine. Then, add the recommended amount of detergent to the washing machine along with your polyester items. It’s important to use a detergent that is specifically designed for removing odors, as some regular detergents may not be as effective.

To further enhance the odor-eliminating power of your laundry detergent, consider adding a cup of white vinegar or baking soda to the wash cycle. These natural ingredients can help break down and neutralize stubborn smells in polyester fabrics. Additionally, make sure to set the washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle and use cold water, as hot water can sometimes cause polyester to shrink or lose its shape.


  • Check the care label before washing polyester garments.
  • Use a laundry detergent specifically designed for removing odors.
  • Add white vinegar or baking soda for extra odor-fighting power.


If the smell persists after washing with regular laundry detergent, you may need to try alternative methods or consult a professional cleaner.

Effective Washing Techniques and Products for Eliminating Odors from Polyester

When it comes to effectively eliminating odors from polyester, there are several techniques and products that can help. Firstly, pre-treating any heavily soiled areas or stains on your polyester garment can help prevent lingering smells. Use a stain remover or spot treatment product specifically designed for polyester fabrics and follow the instructions provided.

In addition to pre-treating, using a laundry booster or odor-eliminating product can enhance the effectiveness of your regular detergent. Look for products that contain enzymes or bacteria-based formulas, as these can break down and eliminate odor-causing bacteria in polyester fabrics. Simply add the recommended amount of the booster or odor eliminator to the wash cycle along with your detergent.


  • Pre-treat heavily soiled areas or stains before washing.
  • Use a laundry booster or odor-eliminating product for enhanced odor removal.
  • Follow the instructions provided on stain removers and boosters.


If the odors persist after using these techniques and products, it may be necessary to seek professional cleaning services or consider alternative methods.

How Vinegar or Baking Soda Can Remove Smells from Polyester

Vinegar and baking soda are both effective natural remedies for removing odors from polyester fabrics. The acidic properties of vinegar help to neutralize and eliminate unpleasant smells, while baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer. To use vinegar, simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the polyester fabric, focusing on areas with strong odors. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before blotting the area with a clean cloth. For baking soda, sprinkle a generous amount directly onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then, vacuum or brush off the baking soda.


  • Test the vinegar or baking soda solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the polyester fabric before applying it to larger areas.
  • If the odor persists after using vinegar or baking soda, repeat the process or try combining both solutions for maximum effectiveness.


Avoid using vinegar or baking soda on delicate or silk-like polyester fabrics, as they may cause damage. Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer before attempting any odor removal methods.

The Role of Fabric Softener in Combating Odors in Polyester

Fabric softener not only helps to make polyester garments feel softer and more comfortable but also plays a role in combating odors. When washing polyester items, adding fabric softener to the rinse cycle can help eliminate lingering smells and leave your clothes smelling fresh. Fabric softeners work by coating the fibers of the fabric with a thin layer that helps reduce static electricity and improve overall softness.


  • Choose a fabric softener specifically designed for use with polyester fabrics to ensure compatibility and optimal odor removal.
  • Follow the instructions on the fabric softener bottle for the correct amount to use based on the load size and water hardness.


Avoid using excessive amounts of fabric softener, as it can leave a residue on polyester fabrics and potentially contribute to future odors. Stick to the recommended dosage provided by the manufacturer.

Steps to Maximize Odor Removal When Washing Polyester

To maximize odor removal when washing polyester items, follow these steps:

  1. Pre-treat any visible stains or heavily soiled areas on the polyester fabric before washing. Use a stain remover or spot treatment product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent specifically formulated for polyester fabrics into the washing machine. Refer to the detergent packaging for guidance on dosage based on load size.
  3. Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to prevent excessive agitation that could damage the polyester fabric.
  4. Use cold water instead of hot water, as high temperatures can set in odors and make them more difficult to remove.
  5. If possible, add vinegar or baking soda during the rinse cycle as an additional odor-fighting measure. Follow the instructions mentioned earlier for using these substances effectively.
  6. After completing the wash cycle, promptly remove the polyester items from the washing machine and hang them up or lay them flat to air dry. Avoid using a dryer, as heat can sometimes intensify odors.

Hanging Polyester Garments Outside to Eliminate Unwanted Smells

Hanging polyester garments outside is an effective method for eliminating unwanted smells. The fresh air and sunlight help to naturally deodorize the fabric. Find a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, and hang the polyester items on a clothesline or hanger. Allow them to air out for several hours or even overnight.


  • Choose a sunny day with good airflow to maximize the odor-eliminating benefits of hanging polyester garments outside.
  • Turn the garments inside out before hanging them to expose the inner layers of fabric to fresh air and sunlight.

Specialized Odor-Eliminating Sprays or Powders for Treating Polyester Fabrics

There are specialized odor-eliminating sprays and powders available in the market that are specifically designed for treating polyester fabrics. These products contain enzymes or other active ingredients that break down and neutralize odors at a molecular level. To use these sprays or powders, simply follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Typically, you would spray or sprinkle the product onto the polyester fabric, allow it to sit for a specified amount of time, and then either rinse it off or proceed with regular washing.


  • Read customer reviews and choose reputable brands when purchasing specialized odor-eliminating sprays or powders to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Always check if the product is suitable for use on polyester fabrics before applying it.

Frequency of Washing Polyester Items to Prevent Lingering Odors

The frequency of washing polyester items plays a crucial role in preventing lingering odors. Regular washing helps remove sweat, oils, dirt, and other substances that can contribute to unpleasant smells. As a general guideline, polyester garments should be washed after every few wears or whenever they become visibly soiled or emit an unpleasant odor.


  • Consider using a laundry bag or mesh garment bag to protect delicate polyester items during the washing process and prevent damage.
  • Avoid overloading the washing machine, as it can hinder proper cleaning and odor removal.

Tips and Tricks from Professionals to Remove Stubborn Smells from Polyester

Professionals in the textile industry have shared some tips and tricks to remove stubborn smells from polyester:

  • Add a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle when washing polyester items. The vinegar helps break down odors and leaves fabrics smelling fresh.
  • For particularly strong odors, soak the polyester garment in a mixture of warm water and baking soda for at least an hour before washing. Then proceed with regular laundering.
  • If the smell persists after washing, place the polyester item in a plastic bag along with a fabric softener sheet. Seal the bag tightly and leave it overnight. The fabric softener sheet will help absorb any remaining odors.


Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer when attempting any odor removal methods on polyester fabrics. If unsure, consult a professional cleaner for guidance.

In conclusion, removing smells from polyester can be achieved by utilizing simple and effective methods such as washing with vinegar, baking soda, or using odor-absorbing products. With these techniques, unpleasant odors can be eliminated, leaving your polyester garments fresh and odor-free.

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