How to Get Body Odor Out of Clothes: 7 Natural Remedies to Remove & Prevent Stubborn Smells

How to Get Body Odor Out of Clothes

You can send your favorite shirt through the washer and dryer a dozen times, but that awful hint of body odor never really disappears. And who wants to wear a shirt that doesn’t even smell clean before the day begins?

If you’re not sure how to get body odor out of clothes, you’re not alone! Standard laundry detergent and a quick rinse cycle aren’t enough to remove the stubborn odors now embedded in the armpits of your favorite tops.

Instead, you need a two-pronged approach: fight odor before it starts with the right natural deodorant, then combat existing odors with a few clever DIY tricks. Here’s what you need to know!

Help! Why Does My Sweat Stink?

Did you know that sweating is a vital body process? We see it as an embarrassing inconvenience, but the truth is that your body needs to sweat to thrive.

The Importance of Sweat

Sweating is a vital body function, which explains why you’re born with anywhere from 2 to 4 million sweat glands across your body. As soon as your body temperature rises, those sweat glands release a salty liquid to keep your internal temperature as close to 98.6 degrees as possible. This leads to many important benefits:

  • Prevent overheating
  • Push toxins out of the body
  • Protect immune system by killing viruses and bacteria
  • Cleanse the pores

Research even shows that some toxins are only released through sweat, not blood or urine. When your antiperspirant stops that sweating process by plugging your pores, your body can’t purge toxins. Instead, toxins stay trapped in your tissue and ultimately travel into your lymph nodes and trigger cellular damage.

As long as you replace your fluids and electrolytes by drinking plenty of water each day, sweating is a productive and beneficial elimination function. So why does a good thing have to smell so bad?

Why Does Sweating Cause Such a Bad Odor?

Not all sweat is created equal. Your body hosts two types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands cover your forehead, arms, legs, and other common surfaces. They cool your body by producing the clear, salty, odorless sweat that drips from your face during your favorite spin class at the gym.

It’s the apocrine glands that create a foul odor. Apocrine glands, which are concentrated in areas of dense hair growth like your armpits, produce a thicker type of sweat. The combination of sweat, hair glands, and darkness creates the ultimate haven for bacteria. As your body temperature rises, those bacteria alter your sweat into substances like thioalcohols that carry harsh odors.

Antiperspirant Can Even Make You Smell Worse!

Antiperspirant is one of the most commonly used personal hygiene products, but maybe it shouldn’t be. I know it sounds crazy, but commercial deodorant/antiperspirant blends use two tactics to keep your pits dry, both of which can make you smell worse.

Commercial deodorants use potent antimicrobial substances to kill bacteria, while antiperspirants plug sweat glands with aluminum-based compounds. In this way, they both alter and impact the natural bacteria living in your underarms. Why does the bacteria balance in your underarms matter? For many reasons, especially considering that recent research suggests that messing with the bacteria could make odors worse in the long run.

As you kill bacteria and block sweat, you directly change the habitat of your armpit bacteria, potentially causing worse, even smellier bacteria to appear. Research shows that antiperspirants kill off less potent bacteria and allow aggressive bacteria to replace them with much harsher odors. This creates a vicious circle of dependency on the products that cause the problem in the first place.

There’s only one logical solution: detoxify your sweat glands with natural deodorant. New skin cells take about one month to develop, so don’t be alarmed if it takes that long for all of your extra-smelly sweat and bacteria to work their way out of your body. If you can survive those few weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your life using safe and effective natural deodorant.

How to Get Body Odor out of Clothes

You can’t stop your body from sweating altogether, but you can stop your shirts from smelling like stinky body odor. Even if the damage is already done, it’s not too late to use these clever DIY hacks to remove the odor molecules hiding deep in the fabric of your clothes.

Baking Soda

If I was trapped on a desert island and could only bring one thing with me, I just might choose baking soda. Is there anything baking soda can’t do? In addition to its baking, cleaning, and teeth-whitening powers, baking soda can also neutralize strong odors like the smells trapped in your pit stains.

Simply make a paste by blending baking soda with water. Rub the paste all over the armpits of your affected shirts and let it sit for about 15 minutes. For particularly intense odors, leave the baking soda mixture on overnight. Throw directly into the laundry, and by the end of the wash and dry cycle, your shirts will smell lovely and fresh.

Aspirin and Cream of Tartar

Aspirin does more than alleviate your headache — it can also work with water and cream of tartar to fight odor trapped in the fabric of your clothes. Just mix three white aspirin tablets, a cup of warm water, and a tablespoon of cream of tartar. Slather it over the armpits of your shirt and work it into the fibers of the fabric using a toothbrush. Let it sit for 20 minutes, launder as usual, and enjoy the results!

Salt and Vinegar

Salt and vinegar isn’t just a delicious (if smelly) variety of chips. It’s also a powerful combination to target body odor in your clothes. First, soak the affected areas of your garment in a large bowl filled with warm water and a ½ cup of table salt. After the salt has had enough time to work its magic, add a ⅓ cup of white vinegar to your normal washing machine routine. Let your clothes sit in the water and vinegar mix for 20 minutes before starting the spin cycle.

How to Prevent Body Odor Smell In Your Clothes

It’s comforting to know that you can use basic cleaning ingredients and a little bit of DIY creativity to zap body odor from your clothes, but it’s also helpful to prevent that stink altogether! Use these tips to stop the signs of body odor before they begin.

Consider What You Eat

Just like the foods and beverages you consume impact your breath, they also contribute to your body odor. This makes sense since body odor develops when the bacteria on your skin metabolize the compounds that escape from your sweat glands. If those compounds contain remnants of garlic or onion, the smell of your sweat will suffer accordingly.

Alcohol and high-carbohydrate foods are also common culprits. They metabolize into acids that can be secreted into your sweat, and unfortunately, those acids leave “signature scents” that you’d rather not have other people whiff.

On the plus side, eating healthy can improve your sweat by reducing your body odor. Fruits and vegetables contain dozens of natural carotenoids that circulate through your bloodstream with antioxidant power. 

How to Get Body Odor Out of Clothes

Choose Fabrics That Breathe

Your clothes are more likely to absorb the odor of your sweat if you choose harsh fabrics without any breathability. Cotton and merino wool are comfortable fabrics that breathe well. Airflow helps your sweat dry out rather than accumulate into armpit puddles. Nylon and polyester do wick moisture and dry quickly, but they retain odor more than cotton so they may not be the best choice if you’re on a mission to get body odor out of clothes.

Don’t Procrastinate on Your Laundry

Bacteria love to multiply and accumulate, so you can prevent the permanent stench of body odor in your clothes by doing your laundry promptly. The longer bacteria have to work their way into your clothes, the more stubborn they become.

Use a Better Deodorant

Your commercial antiperspirant/deodorant may be the real problem! I meet countless people who are skeptical about switching from “normal” antiperspirant to natural deodorant, usually because they doubt natural deodorant is strong enough to eliminate their body odor. If you’re one of those people, you’ll be surprised to learn that natural deodorant is more effective than standard aluminum-based deodorant! You just need to give your body a few weeks to adjust.

Think of it like this — you can’t drink six shots of espresso and expect your body to feel calm and relaxed. You need to give all of that espresso time to work its way out of your system before you can stop jittering. The same principle applies to the effect of antiperspirant on your armpits and body odor! You need to give your sweat glands and skin cells time to overcome and reverse the damage caused by years of use.

When you start transitioning to natural deodorant, your pores and cells will need a few weeks to detox aluminum, parabens, and other common chemicals lurking in your old deodorant. It takes time and patience, but it’s completely worth it in the end to enjoy a deodorant that delivers results without harming your health.

Choosing the Right Natural Deodorant for You

You’ve been using the same antiperspirant/deodorant blend for decades, yet you’re still frustrated by yellow pit stains and stubborn body odor lingering in your clothes. If your commercial antiperspirant really worked as well as its manufacturers want you to believe, then why are you dealing with so many frustrating complications?

Natural deodorant is the better choice, but how can you find the right natural deodorant for your needs? Primal Life Organics is here to help. PLO deodorants are formulated to work with your body’s necessary sweating mechanisms by fighting odor-causing bacteria naturally.

Hemp oil and other safe, powerful ingredients make it possible to sweat without an embarrassing odor. Unlike commercial products, the ingredients that I carefully selected for all of my PLO deodorants are proven to enhance your underarm ecosystem and help you sweat the healthy way.

Look for the Right Natural Ingredients

Most people who switch from commercial to natural deodorants want to protect their bodies from the dangerous aluminum compounds and other chemicals used in mainstream products. Aluminum, triclosan, and other ingredients are linked to serious problems like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and hormone disruption.

Using a deodorant without toxins automatically helps you fight body odor without compromising your health. Look for these natural ingredients on the label to guarantee you’ve found the best natural deodorant.


Magnesium is one of the most essential nutrients for your overall health, especially since it’s critical for more than 300 biochemical reactions. Despite this, up to 75% of the U.S. adult population may be magnesium deficient! Some experts consider it a public health crisis, since magnesium deficiency contributes to a range of serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Beyond this, low magnesium levels may even cause your sweat to smell worse. A natural magnesium-based deodorant reduces this problem by infusing your cells with the magnesium they crave and eliminating a potential source of unpleasant body odor.

Zinc Oxide

You might recognize zinc oxide already since it’s become a popular choice in natural sunscreens and diaper creams. It’s also very valuable in natural deodorants because it works externally to convert the short fatty acids that create odor-causing bacteria into odorless zinc salts. This safely creates a protective barrier on the skin and reduces odor-causing bacteria by minimizing the growth of new bacteria.

Kaolin and Bentonite Clay

Clay is good for more than a pampering face mask! It’s also an important natural deodorant ingredient thanks to its nourishing and absorptive properties. In particular, PLO natural deodorant uses kaolin and bentonite clay.

Kaolin clay is a very gentle clay with absorptive properties that pull impurities from the skin without over-drying. It even stimulates circulation to enhance healing of the skin. A natural deodorant containing kaolin clay leaves your armpits feeling silky smooth.

Bentonite clay, which is composed of aged volcanic ash, also offers impressive powers from its negatively charged molecules. Those molecules attract positively charged toxins and heavy metals. This makes it possible for bentonite clay to latch onto dangerous toxins and draw and push them out of the body.

When kaolin and bentonite clay both have the chance to work together in a natural deodorant, your body odor doesn’t stand a chance. No “normal” antiperspirant can offer those benefits!

Hemp Seed

Hemp seed is the newest ingredient in PLO’s Stick Up natural deodorant, and I’m so excited to share it! Hemp seeds are the seeds of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant. The powerful fatty acids found in hemp seeds can enhance the immune response of your body and relieve dry, itchy skin. It even fights odor to keep you smelling fresh!

Use a Natural Deodorant That Loves Healthy Bacteria

The human body is home to nearly 40 trillion bacterial cells, many of which prefer to relax in the dark, moist comfort of your underarms. Commercial deodorants and antiperspirants view all of these bacteria as “the enemy,” but that method just creates more problems than it solves! Healthy bacteria are critical to healthy armpits — you can’t have one without the other.

All of this means that your bacterial ecosystem is a vital part of your overall health and body odor. Only a natural aluminum-free deodorant is formulated to help your microbiome thrive by supporting the balance of healthy bacteria. This is so important because healthy bacteria smell much better than the angry and aggressive bacteria produced by an imbalanced microbiome.

Have Patience With Your Natural Deodorant

Even if your current antiperspirant keeps you dry all day, it doesn’t become more effective over time. Antiperspirant only manages to create smellier, more intense body odor that sticks into your clothes and never leaves.

When you start transitioning to natural deodorant, your pores and cells finally have the chance to detoxify those chemicals and recalibrate your armpit bacteria. This means you need to have patience as your body adjusts to a new method of sweat control.

Without aluminum-based antiperspirant to block your sweat glands and clog your pores, your body will be able to sweat like normal! Along with all of that extra sweat might come temporary extra body odor. This is caused by detoxification as your sweat glands have an unexpected opportunity to push toxins out of the sweat glands in your armpits.

Detoxification is a good thing, so be patient! Your body will expel years and years of toxins and bacteria buildup, but after just a few weeks you’ll smell fresh without worrying about any chemicals. Simply apply your natural deodorant as needed, massage it into your armpits, and you’ll be good to go!

Natural Is Best

You deserve to live your best life without smelly pits and shirts that stink of body odor. A few DIY tricks and a natural deodorant can help you make that a reality. Trust these incredible natural ingredients to help you reap the many, many benefits of ditching commercial antiperspirant products.