Best Laundry Detergents for Odors of 2021

Updated
Don’t suffer from smelly clothes anymore.

Our sense of smell’s relationship with our mind is closer than you think. The nerves in your nose are directly connected to parts of your brain that relay emotion.

As such, smell has a direct effect on regulating your mood, cognition, social preferences, and even your partner selection (1).

Bad odors are something to avoid or get rid of if present. The best laundry detergents for odors can help with this issue.

Our Top Picks

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Model
Compare the Best
Features
Product Image of the Gain flings Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs, Original, 81 Count
Best Smelling Detergent
Gain Flings Laundry Detergent
  • Fresh scent
  • Compatible with HE
  • Easy to apply
Product Image of the Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent, Hypoallergenic, Enzyme-Based, Free & Clear, 24 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Best Eco-Friendly Detergent
Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent
  • Environment-friendly
  • Safe for children & pets
  • Highly concentrated
Product Image of the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent, Cruelty Free and Biodegradable Formula, Lavender Scent, 64 oz
Best for Pet Odor
Mrs. Meyer's Laundry Detergent
  • Concentrated product
  • Environment-friendly
  • Compatible with HE
Product Image of the Method Laundry Detergent, Ginger Mango, 53.5 Ounces, 66 Loads
Best Fruity Detergent
Method Laundry Detergent
  • Environment-friendly
  • Comes in various scents
  • Compatible with HE
Product Image of the Persil Liquid Laundry Detergent, ProClean Intense Fresh, 2X Concentrated, 110 Loads
Best for Odor Removal
Persil ProClean Laundry Detergent
  • Well known brand
  • Compatible with HE
  • Works in cold & warm wash
Product Image of the WIN Sports Detergent - Free and Clear (Green) 1 Bottle - Specially Formulated for Sweaty Workout Clothes - Removes Odor from Running Gym and Activewear Apparel and Football Hockey Uniforms
Best for Sweat Odors
Win Sports Detergent
  • Great for sportswear
  • Compatible with HE
  • Hypoallergenic
Product Image of the No Sweat High Efficiency Detergent - All Natural and Unscented, 95 fl. oz
Best for Athletics
NO SWEAT All Natural Detergent
  • Eliminates bacteria & mold
  • Nontoxic & biodegradable
  • Compatible with HE

What Is the Source of Odor?

Odor is a property of certain gaseous chemical compounds experienced when they interact with receptors in your nose. They are usually called volatile organic compounds (VOC) (2).

For a long time, it was believed that humans have always had a poor sense of smell compared to other animals. But it has been shown that our noses are as sensitive to odors as other animals, if not even better (3).

Our bodies produce odor due to sweating. At first, sweat is odorless, but then the protein content of this sweat is consumed by bacteria that live on your skin. Its enzymes then produce metabolites that become the source of that bad odor. This happens in cloth too, when it comes into contact with the sweat and bacteria on your skin.

Bacteria produce compounds with odors elsewhere as well, not just your own body. Animals, stains, dirt, and many other things become a haven for many of them to form new compounds that produce strong nasty odors.

The resulting odor from all this breakdown of sweat and other materials by bacteria can be very unpleasant to others. We are naturally repulsed by bad smells, due to our sense of smell and pain sharing the same pathway in our noses. So, getting rid of bad odors is crucial.

How Can We Get Rid of Bad Odor?

The most efficient way of getting rid of odors is to go straight to the source. Since odors are a result of chemical compounds, breaking down these compounds or modifying them is the simple solution.

Sanitizing clothes from bacteria they come into contact with is an effective method of getting rid of odors.

Getting rid of bacteria from clothing can also take place by drying them using hot dry air, the sun, or both. Most bacteria don’t usually survive the removal of moisture or ultraviolet light.

Unfortunately, not all bacteria are highly vulnerable to the loss of moisture and exposure to the sun. And, not all places get frequent periods of sunshine and dry weather.

Thankfully, it’s still possible to remove bacteria and bad odors simultaneously during the washing process.

Washing clothes using the proper laundry detergent is your best bet for getting rid of problematic odors. This can be later supplemented by dry hanging your clothes in the sun.

How to Choose the Right Detergent

When looking out for the right detergent for washing your clothes, there are several things to be on the lookout for:

  • Compatibility with high-efficiency (HE) washing systems: HE washing machines stand out from normal ones by using less water per wash. If you want to be better for your environment, make sure that your detergent can work with HE.
  • Odor source: Knowing what kind of odors you have to deal with is also something to be considered. Some detergents are specialized in dealing with specific categories of odors, e.g., sweat, pet odors, smoke, etc.
  • Bleach or non-bleach: Bleach can be detrimental to certain types of fabric. It’s also the cause of colors fading away.
  • Bactericidal activity: Bacteria are the active agents behind the production of bad odors. Therefore, it is vital to determine whether the detergent you choose can kill them.

The Best Laundry Detergents for Odor of 2021

With all of these in mind, we have selected for you a list of our best laundry detergents for odors. You can choose what you want to use to clean your clothes, knowing they will come out clean and, additionally, sometimes even smell great!

1. Gain Flings Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs

Best Smelling Laundry Detergent for Odors

A well-known brand by Procter and Gamble, Gain Flings come in a solid form that easily dissolves in both hot and cold water. They feature a combination of Oxi-Boost and Febreze technologies. Plus, they have an extra scent to make your clothes smell good for as many as six weeks.

It’s safe for use on all colors and all types of fabric as it does not contain bleach. It is also compatible with both standard and HE systems. That means you don’t have to worry about ruining any of your clothes.

Due to the nature of this product, it’s important to keep it away from children. This is to prevent kids from swallowing them. The pacs should be handled by dry hands and shouldn’t be cut, punctured, or separated if they are stuck to each other.

PROS:
  • Provides a sustained fresh scent.
  • Compatible with HE.
  • Easy to apply.
CONS:
  • Not safe to keep around children.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 4.5 x 8.8 x 10.2 inches
Weight 4.37 pounds
Volume N/A
Ingredients Water, surfactants, enzymes
Safety Use with caution

2. Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent

Best Eco-Friendly Detergent

Puracy detergent is designed skin-sensitive skin, as well as for the environment. It relies on a plant-based enzymatic formula capable of removing odors and leaving you with fresh clothes afterward.

The product comes with a pump top that prevents spilling and eliminates the need for measurement. It also comes in a high concentration, which allows for a high number of washes. Caution isn’t required using this product as it’s safe for both children and pets.

PROS:
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Safe for children and pets.
  • No need to measure.
  • Highly concentrated.
CONS:
  • Some problems have been noted with the packaging.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 2.8 x 3.2 x 10.6 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds
Volume 24 fluid ounces
Ingredients Plant-based enzymes, cleansers, softeners and natural minerals
Safety Very safe

3. Mrs. Meyer's Laundry Detergent Lavender

Best Laundry Detergent for Pet Odor

Hate sterile smells? This one’s for you. Mrs. Meyer’s product comes with a mix of plant-based ingredients and essential oils. It’s a good pick for pet odors.

Additionally, it comes in various scents, not just lavender, that you would find naturally in a garden. These include lemon verbena, basil, and geranium. However, it does not compromise on its ability to get rid of stains and their odors.

The detergent is also considerate towards the environment as it comes in recyclable packaging and is itself biodegradable.

The formula is concentrated and allows for a high number of washes. It’s compatible with both regular and high-efficiency washing systems. The product is bleach-free and can be used on all of your attires.

PROS:
  • Comes in various scents.
  • Concentrated product.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Compatible with HE.
CONS:
  • Can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Scent does not linger.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 11.2 x 5 x 4.9 inches
Weight 4 pounds
Volume 64 fluid ounces
Ingredients Water, essential oils, surfactants, plant-based enzymes, fragrances
Safety Relatively safe

4. Method Laundry Detergent Ginger Mango

Best for Fruitiness

Driven by the need to provide solutions for social and environmental problems, Method’s products combine a naturally derived mix of plant-based and mineral-based ingredients effective at stain and odor removal.

It comes in lots of scents apart from a zesty mix of ginger and mango. Both standard and high-efficiency washers work well with it. Its high concentration gives you a good number of washes. No bleach is present in this product, so it does not mess with either your whites or colored attire.

PROS:
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Comes in various scents.
  • Compatible with HE.
CONS:
  • Can provoke allergic reactions.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 10.9 x 4.3 x 4 inches
Weight 3.3 pounds
Volume 53.5 fluid ounces
Ingredients Water, surfactants, plant-based enzymes, fragrances
Safety Relatively safe

5. Persil Liquid Laundry Detergent ProClean Intense Fresh

Best for Odor Removal

From the well-known brand of Persil comes this product. It’s able to penetrate deeply into the fabric and remove even the toughest stains. And, it leaves a vibrant scent on your clothes in the end.

Additionally, the product comes in a higher-than-usual concentration, so you don’t need to use as much for every wash. It’s compatible with all kinds of washing systems over a wide range of temperatures. It contains no bleach and is safe to use for all types of clothes, white and colored.

PROS:
  • Well known brand.
  • Compatible with HE.
  • Can be used in cold and warm temperatures.
CONS:
  • Packaging is not recyclable.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 7.5 x 4.1 x 11.4 inches
Weight 5.64 pounds
Volume 82 fluid ounces
Ingredients Water, surfactants, enzymes, and fragrance
Safety Use with caution

6. Win Sports Detergent - Free & Clear

Best Laundry Detergent for Sweat Odors

This brand is motivated by a love for sports and athletic activity. Win has grown steadily since its introduction 12 years ago.

The product specializes in cleaning sportswear. Its unique mixture of surfactants works efficiently at removing any oily substances from synthetic fibers. Additionally, it’s compatible with HE washing systems and does not seem to cause any allergic reactions.

It’s important to note that the product contains both bleach and alkaline compounds. Handle it with care if you have sensitive skin.

PROS:
  • Works great with sportswear.
  • Compatible with HE.
  • Does not cause allergic reactions.
CONS:
  • Less effective on cotton clothes.
  • Contains bleach.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 3 x 5 x 11 inches
Weight 2 pounds
Volume 32 fluid ounces
Ingredients Water, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, and surfactants
Safety Not safe, use with caution

7. NO SWEAT All Natural Laundry Detergent

Best for Athletics

An innovation motivated by a love of athleticism and exploration, No Sweat focuses on dealing with sports gear. This makes it a very suitable choice for those who practice sports and all kinds of physical activities frequently.

While this product stands out in that it can be used on its own as a laundry detergent, its prime focus is the elimination of odors. Sometimes you might need to use it as an additive to your main detergent if the clothes are muddled up. HE compatibility is not an issue since it works well with their systems also.

The formulation is also capable of sanitizing your clothes from bacteria and mold. It uses a unique enzyme formula capable of penetrating deep into the cloth and then neutralizing any bacteria or fungus found inside.

PROS:
  • Eliminates both bacteria and mold
  • Nontoxic and biodegradable
  • Compatible with HE
CONS:
  • Can cause irritation

Additional Specs

Dimensions 11.4 x 7.7 x 4.7 inches
Weight 6.39 pounds
Volume 95 fluid ounces
Ingredients Water, surfactants, chloride, enzymes.
Safety Relatively safe

Laundry Detergent For Odor Comparison Chart

Product Best Dimensions Weight Volume Safety
Gain Flings Laundry Detergent Fragrant 4.5 x 8.8 x 10.2″ 4.37 lbs N/A Use with caution
Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent Eco-Friendly 2.8 x 3.2 x 10.6″ 1.6 lbs 24 oz Very safe
Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent Pet Odor 11.2 x 5 x 4.9″ 4 lbs 64 oz Relatively safe
Method Laundry Detergent Fruity 10.9 x 4.3 x 4″ 3.3 lbs 53.5 oz Relatively safe
Persil Liquid Laundry Detergent Odor Removal 7.5 x 4.1 x 11.4″ 5.64 lbs 82 oz Use with caution
Win Sports Detergent Sweat Odors 3 x 5 x 11″ 2 lbs 32 oz Use with caution
NO SWEAT Laundry Detergent Athletics 11.4 x 7.7 x 4.7″ 6.39 lbs 95 oz Relatively safe

No More Smelly Clothes

With all of these options available to you, it should not be too difficult for you to find the best laundry detergent for odors to wash your clothes with. They’re all effective at removing odors, but there are other things you should consider.

You have to think about if they’re allergen-free, or might pose an attractive danger to pets and children: e.g., small pods. Some are environmentally friendly, while others are not. Wherever the bad odors are, there’s a way to get rid of them that will suit you the best.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!
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