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How to Get Rancid Oil Smell Out of Clothes | 14 Methods

How to Get Rancid Oil Smell Out of Clothes

Last Updated on March 11, 2023

Clothes that smell like rancid oil may not be the worst thing in the world, but they make you feel uncomfortable. This is because an unpleasant odor makes you want to get away from it as quickly as possible. Most people don’t know how to get rancid oil smell out of clothes.

If you have clothes that smell this way, don’t worry! There are some simple methods for getting rid of these unwanted smells and making your clothes fresh again.

Rancid Oil Smell : What Is It?

If you have clothes or other textiles that smell of rancid oil, there is a chemical reaction going on in the material. In this case, you are smelling methyl mercaptan, which has a chemical formula of CH3SH. It’s not that bad by itself but becomes a really powerful stench when it mixes with bad bacteria.

This is what causes the rancid oil smell in clothes, which you want to get rid of as soon as possible. If you don’t neutralize this odor, then the methyl mercaptan will keep building up and getting stronger, leading to an even more unpleasant smell. It’s a vicious cycle, but one you can avoid by making your clothes smell good again.

Why Does It Happen?

Clothes that smell like rancid oil tend to result from prolonged bacterial action. This is because no matter what you do to prevent it, there will always be bacteria on your clothes. These bacteria feed off of dead skin cells and oils from our bodies, which cause them to multiply excessively until they erupt in a chemical reaction. Even if you wash your clothes with strong detergents, the bacteria will still be lurking in there and lead to this terrible smell.

How to Get Rancid Oil Smell Out of Clothes in a Hurry?

How to Get Rancid Oil Smell Out of Clothes in a Hurry

It’s not your problem to figure out how to eliminate rancid oil smell from clothes, but it has already happened, there are some tricks you can use to remove the rancid oil smell from clothes immediately.

1. Use Vinegar to Neutralize Smells

Vinegar is one of the best ways to get rid of rancid oil smell in clothes because it’s a mild acid and will cleanse and deodorize fabrics without damaging them. It also has a meager chance of causing skin irritation, which you don’t want on your skin while wearing your clothes. This is because vinegar will neutralize the bad bacteria and break down all of the chemicals that make up the rancid oil smell.

2. Use Baking Soda to Deodorize Fabrics

Baking soda works similarly to distilled white vinegar when it comes to eliminating smells, but it is a more advanced odor eliminator. When you apply it to clothes, it will get rid of the smell at its source. It can also be used to cleanse your clothes and prevent bad smells from coming back later on.

3. Use Laundry Detergent or Baking Soda Paste

If vinegar doesn’t work, you can try using laundry detergent or even a paste made out of baking soda. The good thing about baking soda is that it acts as an antibacterial agent against common odors, which means you can use it on clothes with all sorts of scents.

4. Try Some Fragrant Dryer Sheets

If your clothes are just a little bit smelly, you can try using some dryer sheets that have a nice fragrance. These will give clothing a pleasant smell that lasts for about three weeks and neutralizes any foul odors as well.

5. Place White Vinegar in The Washer with Your Clothes

Place White Vinegar in The Washer with Your Clothes

If there is still some faint smell of rancid oil even though you have used all of these methods, then try placing some white vinegar in the washer next time you do laundry. This will get rid of any leftover bacteria that could cause smelly clothes later on.

6. Use Activated Charcoal to Remove Odors

Activated charcoal is an odor eliminator that has been used for centuries. It can be found in a bag or a jar and is simply placed in an enclosed space to try and remove any bad smells. It absorbs all of the chemicals that cause bad odors, so this is another good method if you want to get rid of rancid oil smell.

7. Use Lemon Oil to Treat Your Clothes

Lemon juice or body oil is a type of herbal oil that can be used to make clothes smell good again. All you have to do is add some drops of the oil in with your laundry detergent and wash as usual. It can also be placed on top of clothing for some extra deodorizing power.

8. Try Using Dryer Sheets or Lavender Oil

Dryer sheets and lavender oils can both be used to make clothes smell good again. The great thing about these methods is that they don’t cost anything and you can find them in most supermarkets or retail stores. They aren’t as effective as some other methods, but they do work to a certain extent.

9. Use Borax to Get Rid of Odors

Borax is a mild alkaline material that can be used to remove bad smells from clothing. All you have to do is place some borax in your washing machine with your dirty clothes for about 20 minutes. Then, just let the washer finish its cycle as normal and hang clothes outside to dry. If some of the oil smell still remains, you will have to repeat this process a few times until it’s all gone.

10. Try using Coca-Cola to Treat Your Clothes

Try using Coca-Cola to Treat Your Clothes

Coca-Cola is another highly effective method that can be used to remove rancid oil smell from clothing. Before you put it in the washer, you will have to mix Coca-Cola with some laundry detergent so that the soda sinks down into all of the fabric. Let it soak for at least 20 minutes before washing as normal. This method can also be repeated if needed for extremely smelly clothing.

11. Try using Bleach

Bleach is a strong chemical that can be used to eliminate bad odors from clothes. It can remove the bad smell of rancid oil as well as other smells, so you should always have some on hand in case your clothes start to stink.

12. Use Ammonia

A lot of people don’t like ammonia because it can irritate skin and eyes if it is used incorrectly, but it does work to eliminate bad odors. Ammonia has a strong chemical smell that will completely mask the stench of rancid oil or any other smells you want to prevent from being absorbed into your clothing.

13. Pine-Sol can be Used to Remove Bad Smells

Pine-Sol is a cleaning product that is used to remove various types of stains and odors from clothing. It has a strong pine scent that will mask the musty smell of rancid oil or any other type of foul odor. All you have to do is add some Pine-Sol in with your laundry detergent and wash as usual.

14. Try Using Hand Sanitizer to Get Rid of Smells

Hand sanitizer has a strong chemical smell that is very good at masking bad odors from clothing. You can find hand sanitizer in most supermarkets or drugstores for only a couple of dollars, so it’s inexpensive and highly effective. All you have to do is rub some hand sanitizer on your clothing for a minute or two before washing as normal.

These are the best methods on how to get rancid oil smell out of clothes. Some of these products can be found in most homes, while others can easily be purchased at any supermarket or retail store.

Additional Tips for Keeping Your Clothes Look New

Additional Tips for Keeping Your Clothes Look New

If you want to keep your clothes looking new and fresh, here are a few other tips you can use:

  • It’s important not to overfill the washing machine or dryer. This can cause clothing to get tangled up in the machinery, which will lead to fabric damage.
  • Always read the instructions that come with a particular type of laundry detergent. Some of them are more effective on specific types of stains or fabrics.
  • Try pre-treating any clothing that smells bad before washing it. You can use a stain remover to soak some clothing overnight, which will help loosen some odors and allow the clothing to wash out better in the morning.
  • If you have a washer and dryer in your home, always clean the machines out as often as possible. You should be able to find cleaners or scrubbing brushes designed specifically for this purpose at most supermarkets and stores that sell household goods.
  • If you notice clothing starting to smell, avoid putting it in the dryer right away. Instead, throw it in the washing machine with some laundry soap or fabric softener and run a cycle as you normally would. This will help to remove any clothing odors quickly.
  • If clothes do get smelly, you can use baking soda or another type of powder to help absorb the bad smells before laundering them.
  • Keep your laundry area clean at all times. This will help prevent odors from forming.
  • Wash clothing immediately after wearing it, before the smell of sweat has a chance to set in.
  • You can also put some dryer sheets between layers of clothing that you are storing away for an extended period of time. This will help keep any odors from forming.
Hanging clothes to dry

These are just some of the steps you can take to help prevent your clothes from becoming smelly. If this problem does arise, use one or more of these methods before giving up in frustration.

Preventing This from Happening in The Future

Preventing This from Happening in The Future

In order to keep your clothes from smelling bad at any time, here are some tips you can follow.

1. Air Out All of Your Clothing Before You Put It in Storage

Before you store anything away for an extended period of time, take the items outside and leave them there for a few hours. This will allow all odors to completely dissipate before you place any clothing inside its storage container.

2. Don’t use Cold Water When Washing Clothing

Never use cold water to wash your clothes. Coldwater will not completely dissolve detergent, which means that it won’t remove any dirt or other stains from your clothing very effectively. Instead, always use warm or hot water when laundering garments because these temperatures are much more effective at removing dirt and other debris.

3. Wash Your Clothes Before Storing Them Away

Before you store any clothing or towel away, wash it once to remove any dirt or stains that might affect the appearance of the dress. This will ensure that the clothing looks new even after you place it in storage for an extended period of time.

Washing machine with clothes

4. Know the Material of Your Clothes

Knowing what types of fabrics you have can help prevent some problems. For example, if you have a lot of clothing made from synthetics, these items might retain bad odors more easily than natural fabrics. Be sure to use extra precautions to keep anything made from this type of fabric from stinking up your storage area.

5. Clean out Your Closet Every Few Months

The best way to prevent clothing from smelling is to clean the space where you store all of your clothes on a regular basis. At least once or twice per year, remove everything from its storage container and thoroughly vacuum the shelves and floor where the containers are placed.

What Mistakes Do People Typically Make That Lead To Smelly Clothes?

What Mistakes Do People Typically Make That Lead To Smelly Clothes

Here are a few things people do regularly that can make their clothes smell bad.

1. Poor Storage Methods

When you place clothing in storage, be sure to store it properly. For example, fold all clothes neatly and stack them not to become wrinkled or crushed. Also, keep the containers away from any source of heat, such as a furnace or fireplace.

2. Using Wrong Laundry Detergent

Choosing the unsuitable laundry detergent can lead to smelly clothes. If you use a detergent specifically meant for heavily soiled or dirty garments, you might not get your clothing clean enough. On the other end of the spectrum, using detergents made explicitly for lightly soiled items might leave your clothes smelling bad because they aren’t getting clean enough. Instead, always opt for a detergent meant for normal soil and dirt levels to ensure the best results every time.

3. Not Enough Detergent

Using too little laundry detergent is another mistake that people often make. Washing clothes in water that isn’t fully saturated with dish soap can leave garments not completely clean. This will cause clothes to start developing bad odors more easily than they would otherwise.

4. Not Using Chlorine Bleach

Washing clothes without chlorine bleach is a huge mistake. Chlorine bleach will kill odor-causing bacteria while leaving the fabric looking clean and bright.

5. Not Washing Clothes Often Enough

People who don’t wash their clothes very frequently are more likely to get clothing that smells bad because of bacterial growth. Sweat and oils can accumulate on clothes if they are not washed often enough, which will make them start to mildew smell bad.


Should I Dry Clean My Smelly Clothes?

Dry cleaning is actually one of the worst possible things you can do to clothing because it strips all the natural oil or cooking oil away. This causes the fabric to begin deteriorating, which can also cause clothes to start developing bad odors.

How Long Does It Take for Smelly Clothes to Stop Smelling?

If you follow proper washing practices and wash with the right detergent, it typically takes just a few washes to get bad odors out of clothing.

How Should I Store Smelly Clothes?

The best way to store clothes is in plastic storage containers with tight lids. This keeps any source of moisture away from the fabric and prevents smells from developing.

What Types of Things Should I Store Smelly Clothes with?

For the best possible results, place smelly clothing in storage containers along with boxes of washing soda. The baking soda will absorb any odors that are present.


Clothing will inevitably start to smell at some point, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up and throw them out. If you don’t know how to get rancid oil smell out of clothes perfectly, there are plenty of ways to get rid of the bad smells and make your clothes wearable again. Try using one or more of the tips we’ve provided above, and you should be able to breathe new life into your smelly clothing collection.

How to Get Rancid Oil Smell Out of Clothes | 14 Methods

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