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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Odors on Clothes

By Dr. Laundry April 22, 2008

Q: Can you tell me how to get the odor out of my business blouses, shirts, and jackets? Specifically, I have a new dark burgundy jacket that I’ve worn to work three times, and already I can smell it. It’s made of polyester, nylon and spandex. The cleaning instructions say: hand wash in cold water, no bleach. I hope you can advise!

A: The issue here is the recommended hand wash in cold water is NOT sufficient to remove the perspiration odor. The products and cold water means you are using a delicate procedure on a heavy-duty problem. Once the residual odor casing bacteria penetrate the fibers they have the perfect growth environment with your warm body temperature. I might recommend you try dry cleaning and see if this does better for you. I know it’s more expensive but the process has much better chance of removing more residual odor causing bacteria.