The Essence of Laundry

The Essence of Laundry

Stains and tears in your favorite garments are surely annoying. Yet there are many ways in which the damaged clothes can be restored. But if there is something that we have learnt from The Little Prince is that What’s essential is invisible to the eye. We imagine that Antoine de Saint-Exupery was not referring specifically to laundry, but the point prevails. Here, we are talking about those unpleasant odors that impregnate into your most precious items. Fashion is supposed to make you feel good, and there is nothing more uncomfortable than an unwanted scent in your coolest outfit. Others may not perceive it, but if your attire smells, you probably cannot think of anything else but where it comes from and how you can fix it. Read on to find the answers.


This natural human secretion is supposed to cool you down, not to stress you out. But when it comes into contact with certain bacteria, it releases that unique most-hated aroma. There are ways in which you can prevent your clothes from holding on to this scent. Ideally, you will anticipate situations in which you will sweat and dress accordingly. That implies, for example, wearing breathable, moisture absorbing fabrics on very hot days or when you are about to do some exercise. You might think that absorbing moisture sounds counterintuitive, but actually those clothes that repel sweat tend to heat you up, making you produce more of that awkward secretion. Plus, they trap odors a lot more than natural fibers. This is ironic, considering that acrylic and nylon are very popular among athletic wear. We recommend that you use cotton, linen or other fabrics that are purely made from natural fibers and are not mixed with any plastic or other manufactured materials.


You may have enjoyed a bonfire, but when you can still smell it a week later, it can damage the memory of the lovely experience. When the fumes of a fire pit become embedded in the fibers of your clothes, the smell can linger for months if left unattended. The smoke from cigarettes is a concoction of tar, oil, ash and other chemicals with sticky particles that tightly adhere to fabrics and hair. Fortunately, letting your clothes sit under some sun and fresh air as soon as possible can do miracles.


One thing is a freshly applied fragrance over a clean body dressed in clean clothes. But another, totally different situation is when the perfume you used the day before leaves a stale trail on your garment. Perfumes have preservatives, alcohol, oils and other additives that stick to fabrics. These not only cause the permanence of concentrated smells but they can also stain or discolor your clothes, and even produce migraine headaches and allergic reactions in your skin. One way to prevent this is to apply perfume on your skin and let it sit for a while instead of spraying it on your clothing. This not only protects your clothes but also helps the perfume last longer and react with your body producing a unique, personal scent. There is also the possibility that the perfume in your clothes comes from your laundry detergent. In that case, you should start using a different product without fragrance.

Mold and mildew

A musty smell on your clothes is the result of spores and other microbial organic compounds growing on your fabrics. Some people with respiratory conditions are especially sensitive and can show symptoms like wheezing, coughing or itching when there is mold in their clothes. A poorly ventilated closet is the perfect brewing environment, so keeping your closet organized is the best preventive method, as well as washing your clothes regularly, especially when they are damp (like used towels and gym clothes).

Final words

In this article, we have pointed out the most common explanations behind those frustrating smells holding on to your clothes. We have also mentioned some preventive measures, hoping that you can avoid dealing with this uncomfortable situation. However, there are high chances that you will encounter one of these odors that love to stick to fabrics at some point. When that happens, we recommend that you follow the following steps:

1- Soak the smelling clothes overnight in one cup of vinegar to four cups of hot water, or one cup baking soda to four cups of water.

2- If the label allows, wash the garment in hot water. Keep in mind that lace, wool or silk and other delicate fabrics should always be washed in cold water.

3 – Use a natural fabric conditioner or make your own softener.

4 – Air dry items under the sun or in a well ventilated area.

5 – Make your own clothes freshener. If you have pets, ask your vet before using essential oils as some are not recommended around animals.

Please note that the use of vinegar or baking soda is effective if you are trying to remove an especially strong smell. You should restrain from using these regularly, particularly with natural fabrics, as their high pH levels can damage organic fibers, in particular those in wool, cashmere and silk.

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