Did you get a cute hand-me-downs but you’re wondering how to remove fragrance from clothes? Maybe you just bought a sweater from poshmark and it smells like it’s been doused in perfume right before packaging it up to send to you (been there!)? Perfumes can be dangerous in addition to overwhelming. In this article I’ll share how to remove fragrance from your clothing in just four easy steps.
Why should you avoid fragrance?
What does “fragrance” mean?
According to the FDA, companies must list ingredients used in their products except for those considered “fragrance” because it’s considered a trade secret. Therefore, fragrance is an umbrella term for virtually any combination of naturally or artificially derived ingredients that are used to formulate smells in products.
Why is fragrance bad?
Fragrances are problematic because without companies having to disclose the ingredients, consumers have no way of knowing what they’re putting on their bodies or in this case, in their laundry. A study on scented products showed they emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. What’s worse, a hormone disrupting ingredient called pthalates is used to help these smells stick to clothes for “fresh” smelling laundry all day long (hence why it’s so hard to get it out after several washes).
What’s wrong with fragrance in the laundry?
Obviously we all want our clothes to smell good, but the chemicals used in conventional detergents can cause health issues. Long term they may cause cancer and hormone disruption, and immediately they can trigger allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- A tight feeling in the chest
- Worsening asthma symptoms
- Runny and stuffy nose
- Skin issues
4 steps to remove fragrance from clothes
Soak clothes in white vinegar and water.
You can do this in your sink or add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash, then stop it and let them soak for a while before continuing. Vinegar helps cut through smells and neutralize them.
Run your laundry through a heavy duty wash cycle with non-toxic detergent on high heat
My favorite non-toxic laundry detergent is currently Molly’s Suds. Molly’s suds is made with just five ingredients that are safe for those with skin sensitivities, allergies, eczema, fragrance sensitivities, and they’re perfect for newborn baby clothing and bedding!
Dry on extra high heat
Heat helps remove the smell, but that results in it exhausting into the air in your home. Open the windows when you’re going through this process or turn on an air purifier (I use air doctor at my house).
If smell lingers, repeat steps 1-3.
If the weather permits, you can also lay clothing in the sun for 1-2 days. Another option for stubborn scents is to alternate between vinegar and baking soda during the soak cycle.
It’s probably obvious, but if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive, or have little ones running around, ditch your scented laundry detergent ASAP!