...Fashion, General ramblings

De-odorising whiffy clothes…!

March 3, 2015

OK, so not the most glamorous title for a post ever.
Or the most glamorous subject.
BUT here goes…

I try and get out for a run 3 or 4 times a week. More for my mental health, than for the physical aspect.
I am however, not a ladylike runner.
You know that old saying “Horses sweat, men perspire, and women merely glow”? That is not me. I do not glow. Well, my face does. Bright red. But I sweat as well.
I could be a poster girl for the “That Girl Can” campaign-the one where they are trying to make us all realise that it’s ok to get red and sweaty, and actually look like it’s all quite hard work.

So now you have this lovely image of me out on a run, you can mentally move onto the effects of all this exertion on my running gear…
It is…..ermmmm….. a little bit whiffy!

I usually wash everything at 30C, and we only use Ecover, and no soft wash or anything, and I don’t think, quite frankly, that this is enough for sweaty running stuff.
The smell generating bacteria have been having a bit of a party. Even when I get my running tops out of the wash, they still smell.
Nice.
Not.

You may wonder where all this is going.
I am not posting this just for my own embarrassment, and to see how many people I can put off their lunch, I am posting to share my solution, in the hopes that it might help any other sligthtly sweaty exercisers out there…!

First of all, I put my tops in the sink with some cold water and a hefty sprinkle (about a third to a half of a normal sized cylinder from the supermarket) of bicarb, and left them overnight.
De-odorising clothes1
Then I put them straight in the machine, on a hot wash (I confess to a 90C wash, which made me feel a bit panicky at the thought of just how un-energy saving it was. But the sun was shining, and the solar panels were working away, so I justified it to myself!) with a good scoop of Napisan.

And it’s worked!

For how long I’m not sure, and I’m sure they will be whiffy again once I’ve been out for a run, but I hope not quite so bad.
I’m thinking that maybe I might need to repeat this routine every month or so to keep it under control…!

Anyone else had similar issues (that they want to confess to!)? And any other top tips for getting rid of smells from clothes..?!

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  • Reply Ali Ambridge March 14, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I use tomato ketchup for getting the smell of fox poo off my dog ( it works ) and I worked with someone who had halitosis and BO and was recommended to put tomato juice in the bath so that may be a way to go?

    • Reply Jen March 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Oh crikey, that must have been a difficult conversation (with the BO person..!). I wander if it’s the vinegar in tomato ketchup that does it? Great tip-thankyou!

      • Reply Ali Ambridge March 17, 2015 at 11:00 pm

        I can’t remember if it was the occupational health nurse who had the problem or the conversation….I think she had the problem and my tutor spoke to her ( a very brusque but lovely 60 year old Danish lesbian). It did the trick…

  • Reply juliaL49 March 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I have no tips for getting rid of the current stains/odours but ideas how to prevent them maybe.
    For starters, are you wearing too much? You should be feeling slightly cold when you start out.
    And next time you get a new shirt or base layer try to get one with merino wool – 100% if possible. These do not smell and even though they are a bit more expensive, they are also very light and should last. It is possible to get ethical merino products but maybe not 2nd hand.

    • Reply Jen March 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Thankyou-I’ll look into wool for next winter!

  • Reply Green Bee March 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I have the same unladylike problem with my running gear. My tip to get rid of the whiff is to douse the offending section ( in my case the underarm of the garment ) in a liberal amount of white vinegar. I Leave it to soak in overnight with a few drops of tea tree oil and then wash it on a regular 20/30degree wash with detergent. It does the trick. Give it a go and let me know his you get on. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Brillo, will give this a go-thankyou!

  • Reply Nora@Home March 4, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I was going to say white vinegar….but it’s been said! It’s also a great cleaner to get rid of whiffy smells in the washing machine adn I guess it would work on a dishwasher. Great for plugholes too. Tip a good tablespoon of bicard down your plughole followed by a cup of vinegar…it makes a great volcano the kids like to watch!! Follow it with a kettle of boiling water…ta-dah!

    Running is a bit energetic…but I am being persuaded πŸ™‚

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Yes, do run! Or jog. Or ‘shuffle’ as Chris Evans says! It’s sooo good for getting some head space!
      Am going to order a big bottle of white vinegar and some bicarb! Thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

  • Reply fredthethread March 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    You are not alone, It astounds me that manufacturers have jumped on this widespread problem to sell us more awful chemicals to get rid of bacteria in the washing machines. πŸ™

    I grapple with the concept of boil washing, but bugs multiply at temperatures between 5 and 55 degrees. Washing them in warm water gives them the opportunity to flourish and thrive! One of the greatest assets women of the past used was heat and I admit I tend to use a boil wash for bedding especially after the nasty virus recently.

    I am a real advocate of vinegar its a great fabric softener and it works against bacteria.

    I try to counteract the guilt I feel about boil washing by wearing my clothes a little longer. For example I will wash clothes that are next to my skin like a teeshirt, but not the top layer such as a jumper or a top.

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Great points-thankyou!

  • Reply mercyjm March 3, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I use Halo – which works a treat at 30c, but is probably made of crushed children. I am a runner who gushes sweat…:)

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Oooh, I’ll check it out, thankyou!

  • Reply Jo March 3, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I have some tops that get a bit that way! I haven’t actually tackled them yet, but I did have a (somewhat covered in beads and sequins and therefore not dry cleaner friendly and rather delicate) evening dress that my cat pulled off the hangar and peed on. :-/
    I soaked it in hot water with loads of bicarb in a bath overnight, then a long rinse with water and white vinegar, and then washed it on a delicate 40 degree wash with soap nuts. The first go didn’t cure it but the second did!

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      That’s great to know, thankyou!

  • Reply Rae March 3, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Yes, I have similar issues … In as much as I go bright red and sweat wholesomely. But I haven’t had much physical exertion in a long time, on account of my MS (some days getting upstairs in time to the loo is exertion enough). I do have 15 year old sons who exert themselves often however, so I shall bear these deodorising tips in mind! Bicarb and Napisan rock!

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      They do indeed Rae!

  • Reply sandyfaithking March 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I use ecoballs, which do work, but they don’t get rid of bad smells or stains. I use napisan or Bio D Nappy Fresh for my whites and have resorted to a scoop of Vanish for stains and a non-biological washing liquid for smellies. I will try the bicarb idea. I already bought some ready to make a deodorising spray, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it could be used on smelly clothes too. I do wash towels, tea towels and dishcloths at 90*C, but my washing machine has an eco option that takes longer to heat the water and less energy. You can only do what you can do.

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      You’re right Sandy. I’ve seen a recipe for a homemade Febreeze-I wonder if it’s similar to the one you’ve seen?

  • Reply Judith March 3, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    White vinegar will be a better solution. It can also take out that musty smell from towels and damp clothes. Ecover bleach, the separate packet of powder , is great for fabric friendly bleaching and stain removing. I often soak items in it prior to washing. The whole 30 wash thing is a nightmare. If you never use a hot wash your clothes will get whiffy and bugs grow on them and in your machine and your washing machine is likely to get smelly and break down early. After many housewiely years and having used Ecover for nearly 40 yrs my best advice is to always wash towels and sheets on a 60 wash. BUT wash towels only with the Ecozone balls ( if you never use powder or detergent with towels they last twice as long and stay fluffy ) Wash darks and other lights on a 40 . Use minimal Ecover ( measured as for light wash low water hardness) but use a magnetic lime scale remover from ecozone in all washes. Also use a washing machine cleaner monthly. Either ecozone, Hoover citric acid or default a bag of soda crystals run through on a 60 wash monthly. Doing all this I find I save on laundry costs and on machine repair costs and have sweet smelling laundry.

    • Reply Judith March 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Housewifely!

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      What fab tips-thankyou!

  • Reply OmniRunner March 3, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    A running friend of mine uses white vinegar. I tried it last weekend and it seems to have worked.
    I have a running jacket that is really bad, that will be the real test.
    Cheers – Andy

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks Andy!

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