3 Ways to Get the Sulfur Smell Out of Clothes

Have you been noticing a nasty smell coming from your clothes? Do they smell like rotten eggs? If you answered yes, then your clothes could be contaminated with sulfur. Maybe you’re asking yourself the question, “how to get sulfur smell out of clothes?”. It’s your lucky day because we have the answers for you.

What Causes the Sulfur Smell in Clothes?

get sulfur smell out of clothes

What is Sulfur?

Sulfur, a bright yellow nonmetal, is the 10th most abundant element in the world. It’s commonly used in cleaners, fertilizers, batteries, and even antifungal soaps.

Sulfur, in its pure form, has no smell. The stinky, rotten-egg smell associated with this element comes from its compounds. For example, the defensive odor coming from skunks is from a sulfur compound called mercaptan.

What are the causes of sulfur smell in clothes?

  • Sulfur Cream for Skin Problems – Sulfur creams are used to treat acne, scabies, and dermatitis. When a person uses it, the cream can rub off on clothes and beddings.
  • Sulfur in the Water Supply – Sometimes, clothes get an offensive odor from a water supply contaminated with hydrogen sulfide. This sulfur compound gives off a rotten egg smell that can seep through clothes during a wash cycle.
  • Presence of Sulfur Gas in the Water Heater – A malfunctioning water heater or the presence of sulfide bacteria can also make your laundry water supply smell bad.
  • Body Odor – The body releases sulfur-like compounds when it breaks down food such as onions, garlic, curry, and cumin. These compounds react with sweat and produce unpleasant body odor. Clothes and towels can absorb the not-so-good body scent.
  • Bathing in Sulfur Springs or Spas – Swimsuits used during a soak in a sulfur spring or spa may absorb the smell. They may also contaminate towels, bags, and other clothes used during the bath. Even touring the areas near these springs can make clothes smell like sulfur.

How to Remove Sulfur Smell in Clothes Using Baking Soda

how to remove sulfur smell from clothes

Baking soda is a commonly-used baking ingredient and an essential cleaning agent. This ingredient, also known as sodium bicarbonate, comes from processed soda ash. There are three ways to use this versatile product to remove the sulfur smell in your clothes.

What you will need:

  • A bucket or large plastic container
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • Clean water

First Method:

  1. Mix a bucketful of water and baking soda.
  2. Soak your clothes in the solution and let them sit for ten hours or overnight.
  3. Toss the garments in the washing machine and run them on a regular cycle.
  4. Hang the clothes to dry. It would be best to dry them in the fresh air.

Second Method:

  1. Put 1 cup of baking soda and laundry detergent into your washing machine’s soap compartment.
  2. Run your machine using a normal wash cycle. Remember to follow label instructions to determine the proper water temperature.
  3. After washing, toss the clothes in the dryer or air-dry them in a clean area.

Third Method:

This method is for clothes with a heavy smell of sulfur.

  1. Place dried clothes inside a garbage bag or a dry cleaning plastic.
  2. Add one-half cup of baking soda and seal the plastic bag.
  3. Let it sit for one to three days.
  4. Make a baking soda solution from a bucketful of water and one cup baking soda.
  5. Soak the clothes for a few hours.
  6. Throw the garments in the washing machine and wash them in your usual cycle.

Check out this video for more tips:

Important Reminders:

  • Always check if your clothes are machine-washable before tossing them in the washing machine. If they’re not, it would be best to bring them to the dry cleaners.
  • Check the label for your clothes’ required washing temperature. Some clothes work well in cold water, while some in hot water. Reading the label will help avoid any damages to your clothes.
  • If you can’t wash the clothes yet, sprinkle baking soda on the laundry hamper at least once a day. This practice will prevent the smell from getting worse or spreading in the room.

How to Remove Sulfur Smell from Clothes Using Vinegar

getting sulfur smell out of clothing

Almost all homes have vinegar in the pantry. This all-around ingredient is a common ingredient for making salad dressings, marinating meat, and pickling. Aside from creating a balance of flavors in food, vinegar is also a beneficial cleaning agent.

You can also vinegar to remove sulfur smell from clothes using these three methods:

What you will need:

  • A bucket or large plastic container
  • Clean water
  • 2 cups of white vinega

First Method:

  1. Mix two cups of white vinegar into one bucket of water. Stir carefully.
  2. Soak the smelly garments in the solution for thirty minutes to one hour.
  3. Drop your clothes in the washing machine and run a normal cycle.
  4. Hang your clothes outdoors, if possible. Drying them in fresh air is highly recommended.

Second Method:

  1. Add one-half cup of vinegar and laundry detergent to your washing machine’s soap compartment.
  2. Toss your clothes in the machine and run it as you usually would.
  3. You may dry the garments using a dryer but air-drying it would be better.

Third Method:

For this method, you will also be needing washing soda and borax.

  1. Add one-half cup of borax and one cup of washing soda to the washing machine. Fill it with water.
  2. Drop the garments into the machine and soak them for 30 minutes.
  3. Let the washer run its usual rinse and spin cycle.
  4. When the process is over, start a new one using the hottest temperature setting allowed by the garment’s care label.
  5. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and laundry detergent.
  6. After the cycle, air-dry the clothes outdoors.

Important Reminders:

  • Make sure not to over-soak your clothes in the vinegar. The maximum soaking time is one hour.
  • Always use white vinegar.
  • Read the washing instructions written on your garment’s label to know the right washing program and water temperature.
  • Remember to wash again all clothes that were soaked or washed with vinegar. To ensure that the sour smell vanishes, wash using a laundry detergent.
  • Washing soda is different from baking soda, so make sure you’re using the right one.

How to Remove Sulfur Smell by Air Drying

remove sulfur smell from clothes

Mother nature can also help you remove the sulfur smell from your clothes. The breeze and sunlight can evaporate the moisture as opposed to being trapped in a dryer.

Follow these two methods in air drying for best results. [How Long Does It Take To Air-Dry Your Clothes?]

First Method:

  1. Install a clothesline in your yard or back porch.
  2. Hang your clothes using clothespins. If using hangers, make sure to leave spaces between clothes.

Second Method:

  1. Install a temporary rod or clothesline above your bathtub.
  2. Fill your tub with hot water and add 2 cups of vinegar.
  3. Hang your washed clothes above the tub. Secure them with clothespins.

Important Reminders:

  • Check the weather first before air drying outdoors. Make sure that it isn’t snowing or raining. Avoid drying clothes outside when it’s cold.
  • If the weather is cold, it would be best to hang your clothes indoors. You may use a portable hanging rack and place it in a well-ventilated room.
  • If you have family members who are allergic to pollen, make sure to check the pollen count in your area. You may use a weather app for this. If the count is high, avoid hanging clothes outdoors.
  • If you’re drying dark-colored clothes, avoid hanging them under direct sunlight. You may also turn them inside out. These methods will prevent the color from fading.
  • Avoid using the dryer when you’re trying to get rid of the sulfur smell from your clothes. The dryer may trap excess moisture or absorb the sulfur smell. The heat from the dryer will also make the smell worse.
  • Make sure that your clothesline is clean and free from dust, dirt, or bird poop.
  • Remove clothespins after use and keep them in a container.
  • Removing the nasty smell may take time and much effort, so you need to be patient.
  • Check with your neighborhood homeowner’s association and local ordinance to see if air-drying outdoors is allowed.

How do I prevent the sulfur smell in clothes?

how to get rid of sulfur smell

Even if you know how to eliminate the sulfur smell in clothes, you still need to address the root of the problem so it won’t keep on happening.

Here are some ways to solve issues involving sulfur smell.

  1. Have a plumber check your water heater for bacteria or any malfunctions.
  2. Hire a reputable contractor to inspect your well for water contamination.
  3. Flush and drain your water heater.
  4. Seek medical consultation for unusual body odor.
  5. Find an alternative for sulfur creams.

As for the sulfur smell in your clothes, you can follow these tips to eliminate the nasty odor.


Fresh-smelling clothes bring comfort and joy. So, when your garments start smelling like rotten eggs or sulfur, it can get frustrating. You don’t need to throw them away because there is hope. You can try using vinegar and baking soda to get the unpleasant smell out of clothes. Air drying can work wonders as well. All you need for clothes that smell great are all within your reach.


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1 thought on “3 Ways to Get the Sulfur Smell Out of Clothes”

  1. I am so glad that I found this article, it is perfect for what my grandma needs! She has a really bad sulfur smell coming from her clothes and nothing else seems to work.
    I enjoyed reading about all of these different methods on how you can get rid of cover up any unpleasant smells in fabric – including ones related to sweat (yuck!), gasoline/petroleum engines, etc., but especially those caused by body odor which makes me cringe when someone touches an item before putting into their own laundry pile since we know just too well why people do things like run around outside without shirts sometimes…


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