You have quite a few options.

By Megan Boettcher
March 02, 2020

Does this sound familiar? You meet friends out at a nice new restaurant. You enjoy an amazing meal and a few laughs. After you say goodbye and head home, you notice that your sweater still smells like the restaurant. And now that you are home, away from the enticing scents of said restaurant's kitchen, the aroma isn't so charming. So, what exactly can you do to remove those food smells from your clothing?

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Related: The Best Tips for Perfect Laundry

Freeze Them Out

"Use heat or cold to treat the smells," advises Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama. "Grab a big plastic zippered bag, put your sweater in the bag, and set it in the freezer overnight. When you take it back out, it won't smell like last night's dinner." The cold eats away at the smells and—best of all—kills any bacteria that may be growing on the fabrics. "This is also a great trick for kids' stinky sports equipment, too," Rapinchuk says. "You can't launder hockey pads, but you might be able to fit some of them in the deep freeze." She also recommends using the freezer to refresh jeans that you don't want to wear thin by washing them too much. "Freezing out smells works best for thicker fabrics, such as jeans, sweaters, and jackets," she notes.

Steam Them Out

Heat will also kill odor-causing bacteria on your clothing. "Treat dress shirts and lightweight gauzy fabrics with a steamer," Rapinchuk says. "The heat refreshes the fabrics without having to have them dry cleaned or run them through the laundry." Pro tip: Rapinchuk has had better luck treating thinner fabrics with heat than cold.

Set Them Outside

When the weather cooperates, you could also hang your smelly attire outside. "A little sun and fresh air will breathe new life into your fabrics and reduce the odors you picked up while cooking or going out to eat," Rapinchuk explains.

Use Baking Soda

Pretreating fabrics with baking soda may also help pull odors out of fabrics. For washable materials, dissolve a cup of baking soda in four cups of hot water. Add the solution to a bucket or sink of cold water before dropping in your garment; let it soak for at least four hours, then launder as usual. For items you wouldn't wash in a washing machine, place them in a plastic zippered back with an open box of baking soda. Keep the bag sealed for several days to allow the baking soda to absorb all of those undesired smells.

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