- 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.
Ever do a load of laundry and only to find it still smells funky? You do another load, in hope of removing the odor, but it’s still there. 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.
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 to 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. Try washing with vinegar, as the natural solution can do wonders in removing odor. 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 farmworkers, and have moved on to gym enthusiasts and high-performance fabrics. So, I know a lot 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: Funk Away Odor Eliminating Spray
- Best laundry odor remover for non-washable fabric: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Updated on 09/03/2019 by Les Shu: Updated links, formatting, and prices. Added related buying guides.
The best laundry odor remover overall
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
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 when 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
- Rockin’ Green
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
The best for activewear and sports gear
If you are guilty of trying to get one more gym session out of your activewear before heading to the laundry room, Funk Away Odor Eliminating Spray will keep others from running away when they smell you coming.
Okay, ‘fess up. How many times have you sniffed your gym clothes and decided you could wear them again? Nearly everybody has done it. Now that doesn’t mean that the guy or gal on the next treadmill didn’t run faster just to get away from you. Next time, keep some Funk Away Odor Eliminating Spray in your gym bag.
While its effectiveness in removing odors from fabrics and non-washable gear is the main reason I love this product, I also like that you can get the non-aerosol formula in several sizes and in an aerosol formula that makes treating larger equipment like yoga mats and hockey pads easier. There’s even a small size that the TSA will approve in a carry-on bag.
Funk Away works great on gym shoes, pet areas, diaper pails, work boots, and car upholstery. Just give the offending item a spray and allow the area to dry before using or wearing.
Around 73% of reviewers on Amazon with odor-challenging gear rated it as a 5-star product. One reviewer named Sheila writes, “I have fur-lined slippers that were smelling pretty rank and couldn’t be washed. They weren’t worn, so I didn’t want to throw them away. This solved the problem.” And, here’s a great part, the product has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Pros: Effectively removes odors from fabrics and non-washable sports gear and shoes, pleasant scent that is not overpowering, available in several sizes, 100% satisfaction guarantee
Cons: Not widely available in mass-market stores
The best for non-washable fabrics
- Moso Natural
Not every garment that is stinky can be tossed in a washer, Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag will remove odors naturally without adding another scent or damaging fabrics.
Even if a non-washable garment is clean and free of odor-causing stains, it can still not smell fresh. The problem could be absorbed odors from storage in a musty-smelling space, sitting next to a cigarette or cigar smoker, or dry cleaning chemicals. As a natural fiber, wool is particularly susceptible to the absorption of odors.
The most non-toxic and easiest way to remove those odors without damaging fabrics or adding more chemicals is to use the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag. The small fabric bag contains 200 grams of moso bamboo charcoal. To remove odors, simply place the garment and the Moso bag in a sealed container for several hours or overnight depending on how strong the odors are and the charcoal will absorb the odors.
Moso bags come in several sizes and fabric colors and will last up to two years. They do need to be “recharged” by placing them in the sun for one hour per month. This helps remove the moisture that has accumulated in the charcoal so it can absorb more, along with odor molecules, from the air.
In addition to removing odors from fabrics, the bags can be hung in closets, pet areas, kitchens, cars, anywhere odors linger to act as an air freshener. Since this is a natural product, after two years the charcoal can be composted for the garden.
I use them to freshen clothes and linens in every closet and in my car to combat odors then add them to the compost pile.
Pros: Non-toxic, natural product containing no petroleum-based chemicals, products, available in a variety of sizes, reusable for two years per bag
Cons: Does not remove odors immediately, takes several hours to work well
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- Best mopping system overall: Libman Spin Mop and Bucket
- Best budget mop: Libman Wonder Mop
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- Best mop for ceramic tile floors: Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop with Scrub Brush
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- Best appliance cleaner overall: LemiShine Multi-Purpose Appliance Cleaner
- Best dishwasher cleaner: Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner
- Best garbage disposal cleaner: CLR Garbage Disposal Foaming Cleaner + Freshener
- Best washer cleaner: LemiShine Washing Machine Cleaner
- Best oven cleaner: Easy Off Professional Max Fume Free Oven Cleaner
- Best glass stovetop cleaner: Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max
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- Best disinfecting cleaner for kitchen counters: Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray
- Best disinfecting cleaner for laundry: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive
- Best disinfecting spray for nonwashable goods: Lysol Disinfectant Spray
- Best disinfecting wipes: Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes
- Best disinfecting cleaner for toilet bowls: Method Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner