How to Get Smells Out of Denim

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Denim is actually quite easy to keep clean and odor-free.
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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.

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.


Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.

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