How to Get Smells Out of Denim

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Denim is actually quite easy to keep clean and odor-free.
Image Credit: Rohappy/iStock/GettyImages

The best way to get smells out of denim clothing is to wash it in the washing machine. Denim purists, however, view washing denim as undesirable, because it can shrink denim and ruin its natural fading patterns. For odor-free denim without soap and water, store your denim in the freezer or in a drawer with some baking soda. A splash of vodka and some time in the sun can also remove unwanted odors. The best odor remover is the one that works for you, so experiment with several strategies until you find the one you like.


Step 1

Pop your jeans in the freezer and leave them there overnight. As you wear pants, shirts and jackets, the bacteria on your skin and some of your skin cells transfer to the denim. Freezing kills the bacteria and eliminates the smell.

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Step 2

Just as the freezer kills bacteria, so does alcohol. Combine water and vodka in a spray bottle, making a mixture that is 70 percent vodka and 30 percent water. Spray the mixture onto your jeans, and then let them dry. The odor on the denim and the smell of vodka will both dissipate.


Step 3

Fill an old sock or square of cheesecloth with baking soda and toss it in your dresser drawer along with your jeans or denim shirts. The baking soda will absorb odors and keep your denim smelling fresh. You can use coffee grounds in place of baking soda if you enjoy a coffee smell.

Step 4

Lay or hang your denim in direct sunlight for a few hours to eliminate unwanted smells.



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