How to Get Perfume Out of Clothes: 6 Methods to Try

By Leanna Serras August 15, 2019
image of How to Get Perfume Out of Clothes: 6 Methods to Try

In order to get perfume out of clothes, you’ll need to wash them shortly after they become saturated with a scent. After a night out or a day at work, getting a little carried away with a fragrance is a common occurrence. Luckily, there are a few methods you can try.

Here are five methods that will get scents out of your finest garments. Even when it comes to dry cleaning, these methods will make any scent disappear — should you so wish. 

Method 1: Hang Clothes Outside

First thing to try is simply leaving your clothes outside for a night. It’s possible the wind and sunlight will naturally wash away any lingering perfume from the day before. Keep the morning dew in mind, as this can leave your pieces wet for a while. 

two shirts and two skirts hanging on a clothesline to dry

Method 2: Wash with Vinegar 

Our go-to method for getting virtually any scent out of clothing — perfume or otherwise — is to use vinegar. The chemical makeup of the substance makes it a fantastic everyday cleaner, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health. Plus, it’s a great green option.

Step 1: Make Sure the Clothes Are Dry

It’s important to make sure that the garment you’re attempting to wash is free of moisture — like sweat. If this isn’t done, the moisture’s molecules could disrupt the reaction that will take place when vinegar is applied.

Step 2: Add Approximately 240 mL of Vinegar 

Once you’ve loaded your garment into the washing machine, add vinegar instead of soap — we recommend 240mL. No need to keep the piece of clothing separate from the rest of the load. Feel free to wash the whole load with vinegar.

Step 3: Wash the Load

After adding vinegar, simply wash normally. Set the wash cycle as if it were detergent that was in the machine. Vinegar will act as your cleaning agent and dryer sheets can be used during drying to add a desired scent. 

Step 4: Dry Completely 

After the cycle is over, throw the load into the dryer with a scented or unscented dryer sheets. Be sure to run the cycle until the clothes are completely dry. Otherwise, more musty smells can develop if the garments are left damp and crumpled in the dryer.

lady putting clothes into a dryer

Method 3: Use Castile Soap and Wash by Hand

Originally from the Mediterranean, Castile soap usually has a vegetable or fruit base (e.g. coconut, olive oil or hemp oil). Not only is this detergent eco-friendly, but also extremely versatile. 

From cleaning wounds to washing out scents, a bottle of this soap is a cupboard essential — especially when getting perfume out of clothes. For this reason, it’s a good mixture to have handy for all sorts of cleaning.  

Step 1: Make Sure Your Clothes are Dry

For the same reasons as with washing with vinegar, make sure your clothes are dry before washing with this method.

Step 2: Add 4-5 Drops of Castile Soap to a Bucket of Water

Usually, when using this detergent, you’ll want to dilute it. To do this, simply add the soap to a paint bucket filled with water. You’re good to go with a few drops of straight soap — make sure to distribute them throughout the bucket to avoid any spots of high concentration.

Step 3: Wash/Rinse Clothes by Hand with Warm Water

In order to activate the natural soap to the fullest, make sure to wash your load with warm water by hand. You’ll want to let the clothes soak in the bucket for about an hour. After, swish them around and wash again.

Step 4: Dry Outside

Once you’re done washing the garment, leave it outside to dry in the sun. The mixture of the heat and sun rays will help activate the Castile soap’s effect even further. Leave the clothes outside for at least 24 hours to ensure complete dryness.

a bottle of Castile soap being added to water

Method 4: Use Laundry Detergent and Booster

If the above two methods don’t work, it doesn’t hurt to try simply wash your clothes traditionally – the classic solution. Not only will the clothes be primed from the two previous attempts, but now you’ll be introducing artificial scents that could neutralize the fragrance you’re trying to remove. 

Step 1: Add ½ Cup of Detergent, Booster and/or Baking Soda.

You know how to do this part. Just like you were washing any other load of laundry, add your desired amount of detergent or go-to cleaning aid. Baking soda is a little unorthodox but can help add extra scent-erasing strength. 

Step 2: Wash Clothes in Warm Water

Again, by doing this instead of cold water, you’re helping release the detergent’s full power, meaning you have the greatest chance of getting a smell out of a garment. 

Step 3: Dry Outside in the Sun

Same as with previous methods, the combination of heat and sun rays reacts with the chemical composition of the undesired scent stays and helps to lock it out after washing.

mom and daughter hanging clothes on a clothes line

Method 5: Wash with Lemon Juice and Water

Lemon juice mixed with water, another natural solution.  can remove scents as well. Due to the juice’s acidity, it helps erase scents from clothing while smelling fresh and clean at the same time.

Step 1: Make a Solution of 1:1 Lemon Juice and Water

In any spray bottle, mix a 1:1 solution of lemon juice and water (so if you have 100mL of lemon juice, add 100mL of water). Make sure to mix thoroughly but don’t overdo it — this can break the solution’s chemical bonds and render the scent remover useless. 

Step 2: Spray Garment With the Solution

Spray your lemon water solution onto the piece of clothing where the scent is concentrated. No harm is done if you want to spray the entire piece to give it a new, fresh scent. 

Step 3: Use a Soft Brush to Scrub Areas of Application

By brushing the piece of clothing with a soft-bristled brush, you’re ensuring the solution gets to the fabric’s core and does its scent-removing job. This step also helps distribute the light scent of lemon evenly throughout the garment. 

Step 4: Let Dry Outside

Note: This is only recommended for dark and old clothes — lemon juice has the potential to wash out lighter fabrics. 

While the sun is again important to effectiveness, this step is more so ensuring the lemon scents get absorbed into the garment. A leading benefit of this method is the natural scent you get afterward, and harshly drying a piece in a machine will negate the lemon scent.

Solution to make lemon juice cleaner

How to Remove Perfume from Dry Clean Only Clothes

Dry clean only clothes should be handled differently when it comes to getting perfume out of them. Because of their delicate nature, normal water-based methods will be too harsh and leave them saturated in moisture. Instead, here is a more gentle scent-removal method.

Step 1: Place Garment in the Sun and Leave for 24 Hours

This step comes first for dry clean only garments. The sun and wind may completely remove much of the scent, and if nothing else it will dilute it before moving onto the next step.

Step 2: Put Clothes in an Enclosed Box or Wardrobe

If step one doesn’t work, hang the clothes into an enclosed cardboard box or wardrobe. This will ensure the entire piece of clothing gets treated by the scent-remover that you’ll add next.

Step 3: Add a “Scent Sucker”

Place a crumpled up pieces of newspaper or a box full of baking soda at the bottom of the box or wardrobe. Both newspaper and baking soda are household items that naturally attract and neutralize scents. Leave your clothes enclosed for at least 72 hours, preferably more. 

sweaters hanging up on hangers

There’s a fine line when it comes to fragrances. While they can serve as an enhancement to any outfit, adding too much will ultimately do more harm than good. However, with these methods you’ll able to refresh any garment and be ready to reapply your favorite scent again the next time. Check out our newest fragrances and don’t worry if you go a little overboard with them, with this newfound knowledge it’s nothing you can’t fix. 

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