Recently, I had to figure out how to get sulfur smells out of laundry. My teen had read that sulfur cream gets rid of acne, so he’d bought a jar of the stuff and began using it.
I must say, his skin is starting to look fantastic, but that cream smells awful! As I quickly figured out, usual laundering methods — even using a very hot, prolonged cycle — don’t get rid of the smell. Even worse: everything else washed with those sulfur-tainted items picked up that awful stink, too.
So, I did what you’re doing: went online to find out how to get sulfur smells out of laundry. By that time, I had a massive pile of my teen’s towels, along with his bedding and clothes, that all reeked of sulfur. That gave me a chance to experiment with different solutions I’d found — some of which worked, and some of which were a waste of time and effort.
This is what finally got that sulfur smell out of his stuff.
How to Get Sulfur Smells out of Laundry
What causes that smell?
Most of the time when clothing smells of sulfur there’s an apparent reason.
• Using a sulfur cream to treat acne.
• Water contaminated by sewer leaching or organic deposits (e.g., a well dug in shale).
• A water heater that needs to be drained of buildup.
• Bathing in mineral spas or touring areas near them.
• Scabies or mite medications.
• Various medical conditions.
If your water source or water heater is the cause, you’ll need to address that problem before you can get sulfur smells out of clothing. For potential water contamination, have your well inspected by a reputable contractor or call your county extension to see if there’s a known leaching problem.
If you only smell sulfur when using hot water, follow these steps to drain and flush your water heater.
And if you suspect a medical condition, you should see your doctor. Pronto.
As for how to get the sulfur smell out of laundry, here is the easiest, cheapest way. It worked for me.
How to Remove Sulfur Smells from Clothes, Towels, and More
*NOTE: Washing soda is not the same as baking soda. Be sure to look for the correct stuff.
1. Sort your sulfur-smelling laundry by color, then by the hottest temperature it can handle (i.e., you don’t want to wash a red t-shirt in the same load or at the same temperature as, say, white towels).
2. Fill your washing machine with the hottest water acceptable according to the clothing’s care instructions. Add 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Do NOT add detergent at this time.
3. Add the items to the machine and set it to soak for 30 minutes then let the cycle continue through with the rinse, spin, etc.
4. Do not remove the items from the machine. Start a new cycle — again, at the hottest setting allowed by the clothing’s care label — and add your usual laundry detergent plus 1 cup of white vinegar.
5. Once the cycle has finished, remove the items and line dry them outside if possible. Air-drying allows the moisture to evaporate, and the sulfur smell goes along with it, rather than trapping it all in a machine dryer along with any lingering stink.
6. Give your washing machine a deep cleaning after you’ve washed everything, so the smell doesn’t transfer to other clothes.
I’m not going to lie: it took all weekend to wash and line dry my son’s stuff and get the sulfur smell out of laundry he’d come in contact with. But the smell is finally gone, and now he knows to use soft-textured disposable paper towels next time he applies that sulfur cream to treat acne. Not that he’ll need to do that soon — that stuff works wonders!