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How to Get Perfume Smell Out of Clothes

Everyone has their signature perfume scent, but sometimes, that scent can last on your clothes longer than you want it to. Maybe you put on too much and the smell lingers on your clothes even after washing. Or maybe it got on your clothes via someone else. In either case, you may be wondering how to get that perfume smell out of your clothes.

Perfume smells can be removed simply by airing out the clothes. Other times you may need to soak the clothing in baking soda or wash it using vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap, or even apply laundry detergent or odor remover spray to the clothing.

Due to the chemicals and oils found in many perfumes, the smell can linger for quite some time. You may need only one method, or you may have to use multiple methods to get it out. In this article, I’ll explain how to get perfume smells out of clothes easily and effectively.

How to Get Perfume Smell Out of Clothes

Are Perfume Smells Easy to Get Out of Clothes?

Some perfume smells are easy to get out of clothes while others are harder. How easy perfume is to get out of clothes depends on several factors, including the type of scent, the quality of the perfume, and how much perfume you put on.

Lighter perfume scents are usually easier to get out of clothes since they don’t have as many chemicals to make the smell stronger. However, even low-quality or inexpensive perfumes that are heavily scented may come out easier than high-quality perfumes that are lightly scented. It depends on the quality of the ingredients used in the perfume and how long it lasts.

Another factor determining how easy perfume will be to get out of clothes is how much perfume was applied. For example, maybe you accidentally applied too much perfume or maybe you even spilled some perfume on yourself. The more perfume gets on your clothes, the harder the smell will be to get out.

This could also apply if someone that typically wears strong or a lot of perfume hugs you or their perfume gets on your clothes in some way. But basically, it all boils down to the strength and scent of the perfume.

Will Perfume Smells Come Out in the Wash?

There’s always a chance that a perfume smell will come out in the wash. However, this again depends on the type and strength of perfume that gets on the clothes and soon you wash the clothing with the perfume smell.

The chance that the smell will come out is pretty high if the perfume is lightly scented or if you don’t wear a lot of perfume. Heavy or excessive perfume smells may not come out completely in the wash and you may have a lingering smell even after washing and drying the clothing.

Have you ever re-worn a shirt with perfume on it before washing it? Depending on the type of perfume you wear, you may have noticed that you can still smell a lingering perfume odor even if it’s been several days since you wore it.

With stronger or higher-quality perfumes, the longer the clothing sits with the perfume, the more time the perfume smell penetrates the fabric. This is why the smell often lingers. When you wash the shirt, the perfume smell may come out or you might still smell it faintly.

How Long Does Perfume Smell Last on Clothes?

How long a perfume smell lasts on clothes is another situation in which it depends on the type of perfume, its quality, and how much was applied. Some perfumes will last on clothes for up to a day, while others may last several days or even a week.

If you apply perfume directly to your skin, consider how long the perfume usually lasts before you have to reapply it. You can use this to consider how long the perfume will last on your clothes. But the difference is that putting perfume on your skin, such as your wrists, can get washed off easier. For example, every time you wash your hands.

But, if your perfume usually only lasts for a few hours on your skin, the smell will probably not linger on your clothes for more than a day or two. If your perfume generally lasts for longer than that, it may also last longer on your clothing.

How to Get Perfume Smell Out of Clothes: 8 Ways

How to Remove Perfume Odors From Clothes

Sometimes a perfume smell will come out of clothes just by washing them, so you can always give it a try just to see. But if you already have and the smell still hasn’t come out or you want to try other methods, here are several you can try.

How effective each method will depend on the type of perfume and how much you got on your clothing and how long the smell has been there. You may only need to use one method to get it out, or you may need to use several of them.

1. Let the Clothing Air Out

The first thing to try would be to just let the clothing air out. Sometimes, especially with light scents, all the clothing needs is a bit of fresh air. If it’s a nice day, try letting the clothing air out outdoors where it can be exposed to fresh air and sunshine, both of which can help dissipate odors. In some cases, the clothing may air out and the smell may be gone completely in a few hours.

If it’s not nice outside or you don’t have a way to hang the clothing outdoors, you can also air it out indoors. Hang the clothing in a well-ventilated room, get plenty of sunshine, and let it air out for a couple of days. Air out the clothing either outdoors or in a well-ventilated room

2. Hand-Wash with Castile Soap

Vermont Castile Soap Unscented, Gentle Liquid Soap for Sensitive Skin & Natural Body Wash, Organic Hair Shampoo for Oily Hair, Aloe Castile Soap for Men & Women - 64 OzIf the smell still lingers or you want to try a faster method to remove that perfume smell, you can also try to hand-wash the clothing with castile soap. This is a great method, especially for clothing that can’t be washed in the washing machine, and the soap itself won’t cause damage to clothes. You should be able to find castile soap in any grocery store on the personal care aisle near the other shampoos and soaps.

To use this method:

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of castile soap to the water and mix it around to evenly distribute it.
  3. Place the clothing in the water and swirl it around so that all the fabric gets exposed to the water and soap.

Let the clothing soak in the water for about an hour, then rinse it out under clean, warm water to remove all the soap. Let the clothing air dry, preferably out in the sun, to air out the perfume smell even more. If the smell still lingers after the clothing dries, repeat as necessary or try a different method.

3. Baking Soda

Baking sodaAnother easy and effective way to remove the perfume smell from clothes is you use baking soda. Baking soda works to absorb the lingering oils and other chemicals causing the smell. However, you’ll still have to let the clothing soak for a while for this method to be the most effective.

First, fill a sink or even your washing machine with warm water. Add one cup of baking soda to the water and let it dissolve. Place the clothing in the water so that it is fully submerged. It’s best to let the clothing soak in the water overnight, but for really strong perfume smells, you may need to let the clothing soak for a few days. Follow up by washing the clothing as you normally would, then letting it air dry. Repeat the process as necessary.

4. Wash the Clothing with Vinegar

VinegarWhen washing the clothing with the perfume smell, you can also try adding vinegar to the wash. Depending on how strong the perfume scent is, you can use this method by itself or follow up the baking soda soak with this method. But, the acidity of vinegar works to break down the scent.

If you use vinegar, you’ll want to add ¼ cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or the rinse cycle when you wash the clothing. It’s best to use unscented laundry detergent so that you’ll know if the vinegar smell came out after washing and that it’s not being disguised with your laundry detergent. Follow up the regular machine cycle with an extra rinse cycle to help wash out the vinegar smell.

5. Use Lemon Juice

Another strong acid that can help break down the perfume smell is lemon juice. There are two ways to use lemon juice, so decide which method will work best for you. Either way, you’ll want to create a solution of one part lemon juice to one part water.

The first way to use lemon juice is to pour your solution into a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the fabric and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the solution into the fabric. Then, hang the garment outside so that it can air dry.

The second way to use lemon juice is to use it similarly to using vinegar above. Instead of spraying the lemon juice solution directly onto the garment, you can add it to the fabric softener dispenser or add it to the rinse cycle during the wash. But unlike with the vinegar, you won’t have to do an extra rinse cycle as the smell of lemon juice isn’t as strong.

6. Laundry Detergent

all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, Unscented and Hypoallergenic, 2X Concentrated, 110 LoadsProvided that you aren’t sensitive to fragrances, you need to wash the perfume smell out of your clothes in the first place, another method you can try is to use scented laundry detergent. The smell of scented laundry detergent can help remove or at least mask or neutralize the smell of the perfume.

Depending on how strong the smell is, in some cases, you can just use the laundry detergent how you normally would. But you may wish to use a laundry scent booster to enhance the smell of the detergent if the perfume smell is really strong.

However, you can also try applying laundry detergent directly to the stain before washing the clothing. Using diluted laundry detergent on the perfume smell can help to neutralize it before the clothing even goes into the wash. Then, you can wash the clothing to remove the detergent smell and use a scent booster or even vinegar or lemon juice for extra scent-fighting power.

7. Odor Remover Spray for Clothes

Febreze Light Odor-Eliminating Fabric Refresher, Sea Spray, 27 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)Odor remover spray for clothes (such as Febreze) can be a great option for masking or removing a perfume smell if you want to re-wear the clothing and don’t have time for the methods above. These sprays work because they contain chemicals that trap odors so that the perfume molecules can’t essentially “escape” from the clothing.

These sprays are designed to remove various odors from lightly worn clothing. Just spray the spray in a sweeping motion across the clothing to freshen them up and remove that perfume smell. You can even turn the clothing inside out and spray the inside. Then, just wait a few minutes for the spray to dry.

8. Air Dry

When it comes to washing your clothes with perfume smells trapped in them, no matter which method you use, you’re going to want to air dry the clothes instead of putting them in the dryer. I’ve already mentioned why air-drying is best, as the sunshine and fresh air help dissipate any odors on the clothing.

It’s best to dry the clothing outside or in a well-ventilated room. But if you need it to try quicker, you can put the clothing in the dryer. You’ll just want to avoid using a high-heat setting because the heat can help bring out the smell even more if it wasn’t all washed out.

For the best results when using the dryer, you’ll want to use a low-heat or no heat setting. This will ensure that no lingering odors stay in the fabric. If the perfume smell remains after air-drying or tumble-drying, repeat any of the methods above.

How to Neutralize Perfume Odor

If you don’t have time to wash clothing, but you have too much perfume on, or someone else got too much perfume on you, you can neutralize the smell instead of washing it. This is great if you’re on the go and spill some perfume on you or you need to be out the door in a hurry.

You can always use the odor eliminator clothing spray above if you have it. But if the perfume scent is super heavy, the best way to neutralize it is to apply some rubbing alcohol to the area.

You may want to spot test the alcohol first to ensure that it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage to the fabric. Apply a little to a cotton swab and dab it on a hidden area of the clothing. After a couple of minutes, check to ensure no damage occurred to the clothing before proceeding.

If no damage occurred, apply some rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and dab it on the scented area. The alcohol will help to dissolve and neutralize the scent molecules. The great thing about rubbing alcohol is that most of the time it will try without leaving behind a stain itself.


Whether you applied too much perfume accidentally or someone else got perfume on you, removing the smell from your clothing can be difficult. Especially if the scent is really strong. Sometimes, you can remove the smell just by washing the clothing, but other times, you may need to use other products to help. Baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, laundry detergent, etc., to help neutralize, break down, or absorb the odor. If you found this article helpful, share it with others. Thanks for reading!