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Dirty Laundry Deodorizer for Suitcase

Even though clothes that have been worn once may not stink of BO, there is still that dirty laundry hamper smell.

How do you prevent the dirty laundry hamper smell so you can wear an item more than once without laundering?

I'm sensitive to scented products, so I'm looking for a DEodorizer, not a cover-up scent.

Has anyone used activated charcoal packets? Do they work?

Posted by
5928 posts

I often will hang things out to air. I find that helpful especially in damper environments. Even better when I can hang over a chair or something out of doors. Of course that means you have to have a hack or process so the garments aren't forgotten. Our kind hosts sent my hiking clothes to me from across New Zealand!

Posted by
295 posts

Like you, I am extremely sensitive to scents. I get an allergic reaction (headache, asthma attack, burning eyes) to most chemical scents and scented products.

I use Pooph laundry additive for my pet's items. It has absolutely no smell, and his items come out of the laundry just smelling like nothing but really fresh--if that makes sense. I think it's because the Pooph does its job and actually removes all the scents. I just got some of the spray. I haven't traveled with it yet, but I plan to test it on some clothes first to make sure it doesn't discolor or stain them, and then if all goes well, I will take a small spray bottle of it with me to Europe this summer.

The formula is proprietary, so of course they don't list the ingredients, but the company says it is made of just minerals. I have not had any sort of reaction to the product. Here is the FAQ page if you want more information.

ETA: It is available on Amazon, not just through the offer on the FAQ page.

Posted by
1229 posts

Ooh, Im going to share a thing I learned that has been life-changing (I feel ABSURD saying that, but when I think about it, it actually has).
Vodka, or even better, Everclear. Essentially, alcohol with the highest alcohol content (which is everclear at, I think 180 proof). It is antibacterial and does not smell, or smells so little that its hard to detect. Here's the back story for how to use:
I have never found a deoderant that eliminates a very faint b.o. smell. Think end of the day, your shirt or armpits have a light smell. Sometimes mine have a much more than slight smell (hormone changes, stress, whatever). I did some research and found that spraying your pits with high proof alcohol eliminates this. I found some deodorant (the brand is E.O. I think) that had alcohol as a first ingredient along with essential oil and came in a 4oz pump bottle. I tried this, it worked better than any deodorant I have ever used in my life, so I bought a big bottle of Everclear at the liquor store, and some essential oil, and made my own.
I told a friend about this who works in theater, and she said "oh, yeah, we spray our costumes with vodka because they are too delicate to wash after every show and the vodka keeps them odorless bc it kills bacteria"
So then I started spraying my pits, and giving the outside of my shirt, in the armpit area a light spritz as well, and my shirts never smell. When I finally wash them after several wears, they might have a very slight smell, but usually not.
My plan for my trip to Europe this summer is to pack some Everclear (I still have a lot left from that original bpttle I bought) in a permissible bottle, some essential oil, and my empty 4oz pump container, and combine when I get there (bc I have traveled with the spray bottle containing the combination and even with carry-on, the air pressure still forced some liquid out).
For what you are describing I will spritz armpits before wearing, and then again after, when clothes are hanging and before packing into your suitcase.

Posted by
8587 posts

Some people use Febreze for this purpose, although it has a distinctive smell of its own.

Posted by
5035 posts

Just a caution about Everclear or any other alcohol over 70%. They are not permitted on aircraft, whether in checked or carryon due to its combustibility. So perhaps research it's availability at destination, or find a local substitute.

Posted by
6823 posts

I worked in theatre as a costumer for a number of years before I became an attorney, and the wardrobe crew used vodka as a deodorizer on all the period costumes and any other costumes that could not be laundered.

It's not practical to send things out every night to be dry-cleaned, and costumes get very stinky after the singers and actors are sweating under the lights, so every night after the show, they would arm themselves with spray bottles of plain vodka and spray pits and any other places that needed it.

You do NOT need to use Everclear—any cheap plain vodka will do.

Posted by
23425 posts

Wow -- at 82 I am still learning something new. Who would have guess I could drink it and bath in it. One less bottle to carry.

Posted by
804 posts

How do you prevent the dirty laundry hamper smell so you can wear an item more than once without laundering?

I recently traveled through Poland for two weeks - did laundry once - 3 pairs pants, 3 shirts, clean underwear daily. I didn't notice anyone pulling away in revulsion from me. I did hang up shirts at night and drape pants over a chair.

In Italy over two weeks last fall we had apartments, with a washer/dryer in three locations, so I did laundry three times. But wore most things more than once between launderings. My traveling companions never complained.

I keep "dirty" laundry in a large plastic shopping bag in the outside compartment of my RS carry-on - only notice the hamper smell when I open the bag.

This brings to mind the old stereotype that in Paris no-one uses deodorant - still true? Also that crazy female doctor now on TV every 10 minutes pushing her Lume whole-body deodorant.

Posted by
1229 posts

Thanks Mardi. Everclear is actually cheaper than Vodka fwiw (everyclear is gross and I cant imagine anyone actually drinking it). But yes, thats exactly what my friend said.

Posted by
268 posts

Posted by Jessica

(everyclear is gross and I cant imagine anyone
actually drinking it).

Everclear is for making Trash Can Punch aka Purple Passion Punch depending on the mixer.

I have traveled with a small atomizer of IPA to spray N95 masks so I could re-use them. Hadn't thought of spraying worn clothes with it. The alcohol should evaporate quickly enough to spray in the evening for a re-pack in the morning.

Anything with obvious BO smell goes in the laundry bag, not the "can be worn again" bag.

Still might try the activated charcoal packets to lessen the 3-1-1 volume. Per the description, they can be re-activated by placing in the sun for a couple of hours every month.

Posted by Jessica

I have never found a deoderant that eliminates a
very faint b.o. smell. Think end of the day, your shirt or armpits
have a light smell.

You might want to try a crystal deodorant. It inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes the smell. I've tried it for a few weeks and have not noticed even a faint BO smell at the end of the day. Of course the real test will be in the summer months. Other advantages, it's solid so it doesn't have to go in the 3-1-1 bag and it lasts a long time. Disadvantage: It's a deodorant, not an antiperspirant.

Posted by
14157 posts

@khansen - What a great thread!

"Everclear is for making Trash Can Punch aka Purple Passion Punch depending on the mixer."

Regional names of course...long ago and far away at the University of Florida the grape juice/Everclear/whatever anyone else had punch was "Purple Screaming Jesus", lol.

That is really interesting about the Everclear/Vodka usage both on bodies and clothing. Long ago a physician told me the best thing for poison ivy was to wash the area with vodka as soon as possible because the alcohol cut the oils from the plant.

I made a packing error a few years ago and took a Lands End athletic tee with me that I'd not worn much. I usually wear my shirts 3-4 times with no odor. After the first wearing of that shirt it smelled even though I did not. I could NOT get the smell out with my sink washing so it was useless. I generally sink wash with whatever the hotel provides for shower gel or shampoo, both of which are made for dealing with body oils. Someone here later told me to use a special detergent formulated for sports wear. SO....I realized after that that I have to be careful and test which fabrics hold odor and they do NOT make the travel team.

Posted by
6823 posts

There are other fun tips that people in theatre use. For example, did you know that you can remove blood from your clothing by using saliva? It has to be your own blood and your own saliva, though. There's something about the enzymes in saliva that can remove the blood. And it does work.

There was a funny story going around theatre circles about an actress who was at a dress research wearing a beautiful beaded white gown. Something happened and she was injured and bleeding and then fainted. Of course some blood got on the dress. Medics came quickly, got her out of the gown and started carrying her out on a stretcher to take her to the hospital, only to be stopped by the wardrobe master who ran after them screaming at the top of his lungs, "Wait!!! I need her spit!!!"

Posted by
1420 posts

Funny, mardee, and I also affirm vodka and costumes. My first experience came from a traveling Nutcracker troupe (God bless them, those dancers can sweat) and that's what the stage mananager handed me in a spray bottle to spritz those delicate beaded coustumes

Posted by
5035 posts

I can also confirm the use of spit. It was one of the first tips given to me as a novice quilter, and is a trick used for centuries. Those wee quilting needles are devilishly sharp, and you inevitably end up with droplets of blood on the quilt. A little spit rubbed into the spot will either get rid of it, or stop it from permanently staining until you can properly clean it.

Posted by
3521 posts

I never heard of Vodka fixing any problems, it used to cause problem for me! :-/

But that does make sense. The alcohol evaporates quicker than water and should take much of the odor causing issues with it.

Posted by
268 posts

Hydrogen Peroxide removes blood stains, even those in already laundered items.

Pour it on and watch it bubble up.

Posted by
353 posts

A friend of mine who is a flight attendant uses the activated charcoal Deodorizers

I figure if they work on her uniform that is getting worn sometimes back to back three days they’ll work on anything so I have one in my suitcase

Posted by
268 posts

Posted by Carol

A friend of mine who is a flight attendant uses the activated charcoal
Deodorizers

I figure if they work on her uniform that is getting worn sometimes
back to back three days they’ll work on anything so I have one in my
suitcase

Thanks Carol. I have some in my Amazon shopping cart. I like that they can be re-activated with sunshine.

Posted by
268 posts

Another use for rubbing alcohol I recently learned from a physical therapist:

If you're feeling a little nauseous, sniff an alcohol wipe.