How To Get Strong Cologne Smell Out Of Clothes

How To Get Strong Cologne Smell Out Of Clothes

How to Get Strong Cologne Smell Out of Clothes

Have you ever found yourself dealing with the overpowering scent of cologne on your clothes? Whether it’s an accidental spill or simply a case of wearing a shirt that absorbed too much fragrance, getting rid of that strong cologne smell can be quite a challenge. But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through various methods and techniques to effectively neutralize and eliminate the lingering scent of cologne from your clothes.

Understanding the Nature of Cologne

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why cologne tends to cling to fabric fibers so stubbornly. Cologne, as we know, is a highly concentrated mixture of fragrant oils and alcohol. When sprayed or accidentally spilled onto clothing, these fragrant molecules quickly penetrate the fibers and bind with them.

Furthermore, the alcohol in cologne serves as a fixative, helping to ensure the scent lasts longer. Unfortunately, this means that the smell can also become deeply embedded in the fabric, resulting in a long-lasting, overpowering odor.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few simple habits and practices to help minimize the chances of clothes absorbing too much cologne.

Avoid Overapplying Cologne

Many people tend to go overboard with cologne application, mistakenly believing that a stronger scent will last longer. This is not only unnecessary but also increases the likelihood of the fragrance saturating your clothing. Stick to a moderate amount and apply it directly to your skin rather than spraying it onto your clothes.

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Reconsider Spraying Closer to the Skin

When applying cologne, try to spray it further away from your skin. This way, the fragrance molecules have less chance of landing on your clothes. Allow a few seconds for the cologne to settle before getting dressed.

Layer Wisely

If you prefer a stronger scent that lasts throughout the day, consider layering your fragrances. Start with an unscented lotion or body oil as a base, then apply the cologne sparingly on your skin. This method ensures that the majority of the fragrance remains on your body rather than transferring to your clothes.

Immediate Actions to Eliminate Cologne Smell

Accidents happen, and if you find yourself dealing with a drenched collar or a spill, there are a few emergency measures you can take to minimize the scent before it sets into the fabric.

Blotting and Dabbing

If cologne spills on your clothes, the first thing to do is act quickly. Grab a clean cloth or paper towel and gently blot the area. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing as it may encourage the fragrance to penetrate further.

Neutralizing with Vodka or Rubbing Alcohol

Vodka or rubbing alcohol can be used to neutralize the cologne smell. Dampen a clean cloth or cotton ball with either substance and gently dab the affected area. Both vodka and rubbing alcohol are powerful odor eliminators and can help to break down the fragrance molecules.

Hanging Clothes Outside

If possible, hang the clothes outside or in a well-ventilated area. Fresh air can work wonders in dissipating the lingering scent. Choose a shady spot to protect colored clothing from fading in the sunlight.

Washing and Treating Clothes

If the cologne smell persists after the immediate actions, it’s time to move on to more intensive methods. Depending on the garment’s fabric and its care instructions, you can employ various washing and treating techniques to eliminate the stubborn fragrance.

Machine Washing

For machine-washable clothes, start by pre-soaking them in a mixture of water and baking soda. Add one cup of baking soda to a sink or basin filled with warm water. Submerge the garments and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Baking soda is an excellent odor absorber and will help eliminate the cologne smell.

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After soaking, transfer the clothes to the washing machine and add your regular detergent. Wash on a cold or lukewarm cycle, as hot water can sometimes set the fragrance in the fabric. If the cologne smell persists, consider adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar helps to neutralize odors and can be particularly effective in eliminating stubborn fragrances.

Handwashing Delicate Fabrics

For delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics, handwashing is the safest option. Fill a basin or sink with cool water and add a gentle laundry detergent specifically designed for delicate clothing. Gently agitate the clothing in the soapy water, paying extra attention to the areas affected by cologne. After a few minutes, drain the soapy water, give the clothes a final rinse, and squeeze out any excess water.

To remove the cologne smell further, create a solution of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Submerge the garments in this mixture for about 15 minutes, ensuring that each piece is fully soaked. Afterward, rinse well with cool water and gently squeeze out any remaining liquid.

Alternative Solutions

If the above methods don’t completely eliminate the cologne smell, here are a few alternative solutions to consider.

Dryer Sheets

Tossing a scented dryer sheet into the dryer during the final cycle can help mask any remaining scent. The heat will activate the fragrance, leaving your clothes smelling fresh.

Baking Soda on Dry Clothes

If washing and drying haven’t completely removed the odor, try sprinkling some baking soda directly onto the affected areas of dry clothing. Rub it in gently and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Then, shake or brush off the baking soda and give the clothes a good shake to remove any residual powder.

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Vodka Spray

If you have a spray bottle, fill it with vodka and lightly mist your clothing. Vodka is an excellent odor neutralizer and evaporates quickly, leaving no alcohol scent behind. Hang the misted clothes in an airy space to dry.

Closing Thoughts

Dealing with an overwhelming cologne smell on your clothes can be frustrating. However, armed with the various methods and techniques outlined in this guide, you can effectively eliminate the stubborn fragrance and restore your garments to freshness. Remember to implement preventive measures to minimize future issues and always check the care instructions before using any washing or treating methods. With a little patience and effort, you’ll have your clothes smelling clean and pleasant once more!


Q: Can I remove cologne smell from clothes using just detergent?

A: While detergent alone may not be sufficient, it is a crucial part of the washing process. Pair it with additional odor-neutralizing agents like baking soda or vinegar for better results.

Q: Can I use fabric softener to eliminate the cologne smell?

A: Fabric softeners are not recommended for removing strong odors like cologne. They may simply mask the smell temporarily but won’t eliminate it completely.

Q: How long does it usually take to completely remove the cologne smell?

A: The time required to remove the cologne smell depends on various factors, such as the intensity of the fragrance, the fabric type, and the specific method used. It may take one or several attempts before the odor is fully eliminated.

Q: Can I use these methods on all types of fabrics?

A: Some fabrics require special care and may not tolerate certain treatments. Always check the care instructions on the clothing label before using any method or product to remove cologne smell.

Q: Are there any additional tips for preventing cologne from transferring to clothes?

A: Yes, consider using cologne application techniques that minimize the chance of it transferring to clothes. Apply directly to the skin, spray further away, and consider layering fragrances to reduce the amount on clothing.

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