How to Remove Perspiration Odors from your Irish Dance Dress

Have you purchased a used garment in perfect condition only to realize after you’ve received it ….well…. that it really smells?! There has been discussion on this topic on a few of the chat lines I belong to, so I went “Googling” in search of an answer.  Here’s what I came up with. If you try to use one of these methods please be sure to take extreme care and test the methods in an inconspicuous place so you don’t ruin your garment!  Also make sure of your fabric content – you don’t want to go washing something that can’t be washed or isn’t colorfast. I make no guarantees that any of these methods work:

Method 1: Vinegar
Vinegar Instructions:
•  Fill a clean spray bottle with white vinegar.
•  Before laundering, spray the perspiration odors as well as other smelly areas of the clothing with vinegar until saturated. Let stand about 10 minutes. Or put 1 cup vinegar in a bucket of warm water and soak the garment for about 1 hour.
•  Wash your clothing as usual, but don’t add any bleach. Mixing vinegar and bleach can cause harmful fumes.

Method 2: “Nature’s Miracle” 
Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover claims to be the best stain and odor remover on the market. This description was taken direct from their website. It was also used on an Irish Dance dress by a gal on a Yahoo group that I belong to and she said it worked great but took a couple of applications.  It can be purchase at any pet store. “Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover uses enzymes to safely and permanently eliminate all stains and odors, even urine odors other products failed to remove. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover works on all organic stains and odors from food, blood, vomit, feces, grease, dirt, grass, smoke and more. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover works great on carpets, floors, furniture, clothing, cages, litter boxes and all pet living and sleeping areas. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover is completely safe for pets and kids and comes in three convenient sizes.
Sizes: 16oz, 32oz, 1 Gallon”

Method 3: Baking Soda Instructions
Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Make it thick, but not so thick you can’t spread it.
•  Wring the clothing out so that it is not dripping wet and lay it flat on a towel.
•  Spread the baking soda/water paste onto the area where the odor is coming from – if it is an all round smell, rub it in as many places as you can, concentrating particularly on the armpit area for shirts, and the crotch area for trousers.
•  Leave the clothing to dry for 24 – 48 hours.
•  Wash the clothing as you would normally, in your washing machine

Method 4: Dry Baking Soda Instructions
Sprinkle baking soda inside the dress concentrating on the armpits or the area with the most odor. Leave it there until the smell is no longer present. Shake it out of the dress and vacuum the rest.

Method 5: The “Baking Soda Bomb!”

Here’s another method one of the gals on an embroidery list I belong to tried recently and she swears by it! Says she can’t believe how well it worked and the dress odor was completely gone!

Put baking soda in dryer sheets and place the dryer sheets inside the dress (or other article of clothing). Then put the dress in a sealed plastic bag for a week.

Method 5: ZorbX odor remover
Description from their website: “The Original ZORBX Unscented is suitable for individuals with allergies and respiratory problems. This highly effective odor remover is non-toxic, contains no harsh chemicals, perfumes or fragrances. There is no mixing required, simply apply to desired area. We offer a 100% performance and satisfaction guarantee or your money back. ZORBX is biodegradable, non-microbicidal, and compatible with most fragrances. It will not release offensive odors even when it dries. Proudly Made in the U.S.A.” Comments from the Yahoo group I belong to say it usually takes several applications, allowing them to dry in between. Ingredients listed on the bottle are: Purified water, alcohol, odor eliminator.

Method 6: Home Dry Cleaning Kits
They come with a stain remover in a bottle.  You can blot the perspiration stains and it should help. Here’s a link:
Method 7: Arm & Hammer Dryer Sheets
Fold them over inside the garment over the armhole.

Method 8: Coffee filter packs
The kind you can buy or find in hotels. Pack under each armpit and a couple inside the bodice.
Leave them there until the odor is no longer present. The garment will smell like coffee but the smell goes away after a few days.

Method 9: A bottle of vodka Or Rubbing Alcohol
Someone – somewhere learned that it will kill the odor/bacteria. If it works – let us know!
Make sure the fabric is color fast. You could spray or pour it on. Let it evaporate out of the dress. Hang or lay inside out in the air. May take several applications.

Method 10:  Lavender Water
Costumers often use lavender water. Just put a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle of water.

Method 11: Spot Washing
Spot wash just the arm pits with laundry soap and water. Take care that you don’t damage the nap of the fabric if there is one.

Method 12: If All Else Fails…
Remove and replace the lining if there is one.  That’s the best way to eliminate most of the odor without compromising the exterior of the garment.