8 Ways to Get Rid of that Chemical Smell on Your Clothes

If you’ve bought a new set of wardrobe, then you might be battling with a few problems right now. You might be wondering where to put all your new clothes in. You might be worrying about how you’re going to mix and match everything. Above all else, you might be concerned about the smell!

Well, we might not have an answer where you can squeeze your new clothes in, but we sure can lend a hand with your laundry concern.

How to get chemical smell out of clothes? Well, let us show you a few ways.

What Causes the Chemical Smell in New Clothes?

how to remove chemical odor from new clothes without washing

Often, formaldehyde is the primary culprit for this smell.

Many apparel companies use this chemical because it is helpful with a lot of problems. It helps with wrinkling, molding, and other apparel damaging problems. As you can see, it’s the reason why many of the clothes you buy seem “perfect” when you see them on the shelves and racks.

This chemical does help with preserving clothes, but it poses many health risks. That’s why getting rid of the chemical smell is more than an odor problem. We will talk a little more about this concern later.

1. Wash

how to get chemical smell out of jeans

Sometimes, all your clothes need is a good wash. It is not always the only answer, but it is a great place to start.

When washing chemical-smelling garments, there are some things you might want to keep in mind.

First, you might want to separate your chemical-smelling clothes from those that don’t smell. Non-separation could end up making the problem worse. Instead of getting rid of the smell, it could spread to the other clothes.

Second, you want to make sure there is enough room in the washer. To add, you should also make sure you put the right amount of detergent. Not too little, not too much. These things help the cleaning solution properly get through the fabrics.

2. Air Drying

polyester smells like chemicals

Air drying is an option available even for dry clean only clothes.

Hang your clothes in an area with good exposure to air and sunlight. It will undoubtedly reduce the smell, but it will not always get rid of the smell entirely. In that case, you might want to partner it with another method on this list.

For clothes that you can wash, you might want to keep in mind that air-drying would work best if done before and after washing. If you only do it after washing and the clothes still reeked after taking it out, air drying will lock in that smell.

3. Vodka

how to get rid of chemical smell in clothes

You might be surprised, but yes, you can use vodka in the laundry room. Actually, you should keep a bottle of vodka in your laundry room!

For this method, all you have to do is get some vodka in the 60 to 70 percent range proof and mix it in a spray bottle with some water. Give it a good shake, and it’s ready to be used.

Spray it on the clothes in question and allow it to dry. You don’t have to worry about your clothes smelling like alcohol afterward. Vodka dries odorless.

Despite leaving no trace, we understand the vodka method is not appealing to everybody. Well, you don’t have to worry. Maybe our next one will be to your liking.

4. Coffee Grounds

new blanket smells like chemicals

Who doesn’t like coffee? Well, here’s another reason to love it!

You can use coffee grounds to get rid of the chemical smell.

There are several ways to do this method, but basically, you want to isolate the clothes in question with some coffee grounds.

Here’s one way to do it:

  • Fold the chemical-smelling clothes.
  • Fill a bowl with some coffee grounds.
  • Put the two in the tote and seal by putting the lid on.
  • Leave it overnight.
  • Repeat if there is still some chemical smell left.

When using coffee grounds you want to make sure it won’t have direct contact with the clothes. It could help you with odor problems, but it could also become a problem real quick. It can stain your clothes, after all.

We highly recommend against using the coffee ground you used here for your next cup of coffee!

5. Borax

how to get factory smell out of clothes

Borax is a good cleaning agent and it can help around the home.

Adding some borax to your laundry can do wonders. Add half a cup of borax when you wash your chemical-smelling clothes. You might be surprised as you take more than just odorless clothes out of the washer.

The Trusty Helpers from Your Kitchen

Now, let’s go to two of the most notable helpers when it comes to your laundry problems. If you’ve ever had any other laundry concerns, then you probably know about baking soda and vinegar.

6. Baking Soda

new clothes smell

Baking soda is one of the go-to cleaners for any problem.

When it comes to laundry concerns, it can help with dozens of issues. If you have other laundry concerns, you might be surprised to find it solved along with your chemical smell problem when you use baking soda.

Get a basin and mix some baking soda and some water in it. The amount of baking soda would depend on how many clothes you’re dealing with. You can start with half a cup and add as you think necessary. Soak the clothes in question and leave them overnight.

After that, you can wash the clothes as normal. To be extra sure the smell is gone, you might want to add some baking soda in the washer as well.

On the other hand, you can also do something similar to the coffee grounds method. Place the clothes in question and a cup of baking soda in a confined space. Leave the two in there for a few days. Repeat if the smell still lingers. This one is great if you’re dealing with dry clean only clothes.

Baking soda renders itself more flexible than coffee grounds. If you can wash the clothes, you can also opt for this baking soda method.

You can get a plastic bag and fill it in with some baking soda, place the clothes in question in there and then shake! Leave it for a few hours up to a few days, and then wash as you usually would.

7. Vinegar

As you can see, vinegar has many uses in the laundry room.

For this concern, here’s what you can do:

Get a basin, fill it with water and put some vinegar in there. Again, the amount of vinegar you need to put would depend on the number of clothes in question. Start with half a cup. With vinegar, you want to use as little as possible.

Soak the clothes for a few hours and wash as normal.

8. Cleaners

how to get rid of formaldehyde smell in jeans

If we’re mainly dealing with dry clean only clothes, then taking them to the cleaners would be the easiest and fastest way to remove the smell.

Important Things to Consider

Chemical-soaked Clothes

The methods we listed are mainly for the chemical smell you’ll find with new clothes.

Now, if we’re talking about a piece of clothing soaked or drenched in suspicious or questionable chemicals, then it might be a completely different story. You might have to consider throwing it away. Actually, we recommend you throw it away if you’re not entirely sure the substance it got soaked in is safe!

Cleaning a chemical-soaked garment could prove to be more challenging (and dangerous) than replacing it.

Caution and Preventive Measures

As we have said earlier, formaldehyde poses several health risks.

You can never be too careful. We highly suggest using gloves when doing any of the chemical odor removal methods, or at any given time you need to deal with chemical-coated clothes.

If the smell is intense or if you’re highly sensitive, then you might also want to wear a facemask.

This chemical is not only present in clothes. If you want to know more about formaldehyde to be better protected from it, then you can see what the United States Environmental Agency has to say about it here.

remove chemical smell from clothes

The Washer

Earlier, we mentioned that you should separate the chemical-smelling clothes from those that doesn’t have the problem.

This separation process will not be effective if you don’t clean the washer after washing the clothes in question.

Want to know how you can effectively clean your washer? The Spruce offers an easy-to-understand guide on how to!


How to get chemical smell out of clothes? Well, today, we showed you eight ways how you can get rid of that chemical smell on your clothes.

The ways to remove it could be as easy as washing or air drying the clothes in question. The solution could also be a little surprising as using vodka or coffee. Still, the answer could be using your trusty kitchen cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. If that’s not for you, then you can also use borax or even just take your clothes to the cleaners. You have a wide range of options!

You don’t have to worry about that chemical smell when shopping for clothes anymore. When it comes, you’re ready!

how to remove chemical smell from clothes

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