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How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell on Clothes

If you use bleach, you’re well aware of the strong chemical that it is. You’re also aware of the strong smell it can leave after use. While the smell shouldn’t linger on your clothes after they’re washed, sometimes it does. This can be unpleasant and downright irritating for your nose. So how do you get rid of the smell of bleach on clothes?

There are a few ways to get rid of the bleach smell on clothes. The easiest way is to let the clothes air for several hours. But, you can also soak (or wash) the clothes using baking soda, vinegar, or laundry detergent alone to remove the smell. Using dryer sheets in the dryer can help get rid of the smell as well.

In this article, I’ll explain how to get rid of the bleach smell on clothes using each one of the methods mentioned above. I’ll also explain what causes clothes to smell like bleach after washing them in the first place. Continue reading to learn more.

How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell on Clothes

Does Bleach Smell Go Away on Clothes?

First, if you’ve removed your clothing from the washing machine or dryer and notice that they smell like bleach, you may wonder if the smell will go away on its own. The answer is that it depends.

The smell of bleach on clothes typically lasts for a few days but may go away afterward. However, the smell could last even longer if you consistently use too much bleach when you wash your clothes. This is especially true if you don’t take steps to remove the smell.

Also, storing clothes that smell like bleach may affect how long the bleach smell lasts. For example, storing clothes in drawers or closets after washing may cause the smell to linger longer. This is because there won’t be much ventilation or air circulation in closed spaces such as drawers and closets.

That said, if your clothes smell like bleach and you need the smell to go away quickly, you can mask it with a clothing spray or perfume. However, this is not a permanent or long-term solution because it won’t necessarily make the smell go away. Instead, you will need to take measures to get the smell to go away completely.

How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell on Clothes

Remove Bleach Smell from Clothes

It’s best to try removing the bleach smell from clothes as soon as possible. That way, you won’t experience any irritation from the strong chemical odor and the smell won’t transfer to other clothes. Luckily, there are a few quick and easy ways to remove the smell of bleach from clothes. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Let the Clothing Air Out

One of the easiest ways to get the bleach smell out of clothes is to just let them air out. This method may be quick or take a lot longer than other methods depending on how strong the odor is. But, it’s very effective and doesn’t involve a lot of extra work on your part. You can just hang the clothing up and go about your other business.

If the weather is nice and warm, you can hang the clothing outside in a sunny location. Outdoors provides the most ventilation and airflow, so this is the most effective way to air out your clothing.

If the weather isn’t nice enough to hang the clothing outside, you can also let it air inside. To do this, hang it in a sunny room and open some windows to let fresh air in. This will provide ventilation. You can also turn on a fan to increase airflow and speed up the time it takes to air out. Leave the clothing hanging up for as long as possible for the smell to disappear.

2. Baking Soda

Baking sodaBaking soda is perhaps the most effective way to neutralize and get rid of the smell of bleach on clothes. There are two ways you can use it. You can either create a baking soda soak or add baking soda directly to the washing machine and simply rewash the clothes.

To make a baking soda soak, just fill a bucket or sink with water. Add about ¼ cup of baking soda to the water. Place your clothes in the water and let them soak for several hours until the smell of bleach is gone. For strong smells, add more baking soda and let the clothing soak overnight.

Or, you can simply rewash the clothes that smell like bleach, adding a little baking soda to the wash. Just place the clothing in the washing machine and add ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda, depending on the size of the load and how strong the smell is. Then, wash the clothes as normal. The next time you wash clothes using bleach, adding ¼ cup of baking soda to the wash can help prevent the smell of bleach from being left on clothes in the first place.

3. Vinegar

VinegarAnother effective way to get rid of the smell of bleach on clothes is by using white vinegar. Being acidic, vinegar can also neutralize the smell of bleach on clothes. All you have to do is put the clothing back in the washing machine. Then, add ½ cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser if your machine has one. If not, stop the machine before the rinse cycle and add the vinegar.

You should notice that the smell of bleach is gone from your clothes after they finish washing. However, you may notice that your clothes now smell like vinegar. Don’t worry, because you can just toss your clothes in the dryer and the heat will make the vinegar smell go away as the clothes dry.

4. Laundry Detergent

Another easy way to remove the smell of bleach from clothes is to rewash them using only laundry detergent. Scented laundry detergent can help remove the smell of bleach, but unscented laundry detergent should also work well.

You can also add baking soda or vinegar following the steps above, along with the laundry detergent. The key here is to avoid adding more bleach to the wash when you rewash the clothing or else you may be left with the same problem you had before.

5. Dryer Sheets

If you choose to rewash the clothes using either baking soda, vinegar, or laundry detergent alone, all of these methods should work to remove the bleach smell. However, if some of the smell still lingers, you can also remove the smell from the clothes in the dryer.

After rewashing the clothes:

  1. Place them in the dryer.
  2. Place a couple of dryer sheets on top of the damp clothes.
  3. Let them tumble dry as normal.

If the bleach odor remains after the clothes have dried, repeat one or more of the above methods and try again.

Why Do My Clothes Smell Like Bleach After Washing?

Once you’ve removed the bleach smell on clothes, it might be helpful to know why your clothes smell like bleach after washing in the first place. The most common reason clothes smell like bleach after washing is that too much bleach was used.

If too much bleach is used, especially on a consistent basis, it may not get washed out all the way. This could leave behind lingering odors, which can build up over time if not removed. To solve this problem, just reduce the amount of bleach that you use on your clothes. Make sure that you’re following the directions on the packaging. This will tell you how much bleach to use according to the size of the load you’re washing.

You also want to make sure that you’re putting the bleach in the right place. Most washing machines should have a dispenser that you pour the bleach into. The dispenser should be labeled. It will release the bleach at the appropriate time during the wash cycle.

If you use too much bleach or don’t put the bleach in the right place, a couple of things could happen. For one, the bleach may not be distributed evenly or it may not get washed out all the way. Both of these can lead to lingering bleach smells on clothes. It could also damage your clothes by being dispensed incorrectly, especially if you just pour the bleach directly onto the clothes instead of into a dispenser.


The most common reason for a bleach smell lingering on clothes is that you use too much bleach. There are several ways to get rid of the bleach smell on clothes. This includes letting the clothes air out, using baking soda, vinegar, or just laundry detergent in the wash, and using dryer sheets in the dryer. Make sure that you’re using the right amount of bleach as well.