Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim
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Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

I’ll explain why denim jeans smell in this post and give advice on how to keep them smelling fresh.

Perhaps you recently purchased a new pair of jeans or a set of clothes, and now you want to get rid of the unpleasant smell that comes with new clothing.

Does denim smell? Yes, denim has a smell. However, you can remove the smell from it. To get rid of everyday odors, wash denim jeans with a regular laundry detergent. Additional steps might be necessary for chemical residue left over from the manufacturing process.

Continue reading for a step-by-step explanation of how to get rid of the chemical smell from new jeans.

Does Denim Smell?

Your new clothes have a foul odor because formaldehyde was used during the manufacturing process to protect them from molds, bacteria, mildew, and other elements that could damage the fabric while it was still being stored in the warehouse.

Does the word “formaldehyde” sound familiar to you? Yes, you are thinking of the same chemical if you’re referring to the dangerous substance that is frequently used for embalming. Your new jeans have a strong, strange odor from the formaldehyde that makes them unsuitable for wearing for the first time.

Due to its classification as a chemical irritant, formaldehyde exposure through clothing puts those who are sensitive to strong chemicals at risk of experiencing a reaction. When making new clothing, different chemicals are used to manipulate the fabric and create the ideal feel and fit.

Different finishes necessitate different chemical manipulation, including loose jeans, skinny jeans, leggings, shirts, cargo pants, and more.

What Causes Denim to Smell?

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

One of the most common questions people ask is why, “Why do my brand-new jeans smell?” There can sometimes be a strong smell associated with new denim, especially raw denim, and Selvedge denim. Denim may smell due to a few different things.

Fabric Type

The smell of the jeans might also be related to the fabric used to make them. Compared to denim made with a synthetic blend, 100% cotton denim is more likely to absorb sweat and body odor.

Dye Used in the Denim

Since indigo is typically used for dyeing, jeans may smell different from other types of fabric.

The leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria plant are used to produce the natural dye indigo. These leaves can be used to dye fabric because when they are fermented, they release a blue, gooey substance.

Denim gets its distinctive blue color from the indigo dyeing process. It also emits a potent smell, though, and that one can be quite overpowering.

This smell is disagreeable to a lot of people, but it will pass. If you can’t stand the scent of your brand-new jeans, try washing them several times or hanging them outside to air out.

Chemicals Used During Production

The chemicals used in the manufacturing process may also be to blame for the fresh scent of denim. These substances may include formaldehyde, chlorine, and sulfuric acid. Most likely, the odor is present when the denim is brand-new, but it can also be detected in older denim that has been in storage for a long time.

Uses of the Jeans

The frequency of wearing denim is another aspect. Regularly worn jeans are more likely than rarely worn jeans to absorb sweat and body odor.

Keeping in Humid Place

The smell of the denim can also be impacted by how it is stored. If the fabric is not properly stored in a dry, well-ventilated area, it can develop a foul odor. This is true of all fabrics. A humid environment is more likely to produce a musty odor than denim that is kept in a cool, dry location.

Storing Without Cleaning

If the fabric is not properly washed after being worn, it will develop an awful odor that will drain your soul. Additionally, denim absorbs body oils like sweat, which over time makes it smell.

How to Get Smell Out of Jeans?

For some of the more effective methods to get rid of your jeans’ lingering odors, we’ve put together step-by-step instructions. Which one is best for you will depend on your jeans and how bad they smell. But each should be effective in reducing even the strongest odors.

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

Wash Your Jeans

It’s not necessary to purchase jeans every time you purchase new clothing. Before wearing it for the first time, wash it. This will guarantee that any leftover chemicals from the manufacturing process are eliminated.

It’s best to wash your new jeans in pure fresh water after buying new denim and before wearing them. You can use this to get rid of any kind of chemical buildup and dye substrate.

Wash With Baking Soda

As was mentioned, there are some odors that are particular to the most frequently used items that we want to address. Yet, while many people might just top off their wash with some extra soap, using too much laundry detergent gives off a strong detergent fragrance, and you don’t want that in addition to factory smells or mildew.

The fabric is cleaned with the aid of baking soda, which is also useful for absorbing the unpleasant odors brought on by perspiration. While simultaneously removing the scent from the laundry detergent, it will gently lift dirt and debris. This is a wonderful, organic way to improve your laundry!

Wash With White Vinegar

For years, conventional wisdom has addressed many cleaning issues with a simple “rinse with white vinegar.” Rinsing your clothing in water mixed with white vinegar is one of the best laundry tips for getting rid of odor from clothing.

Similar to baking soda, it lessens the unpleasant smell of your clothing and leaves your laundry with a pleasant, fresh scent.

Oxygen Bleach (Oxyclean)

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

Unlike oxygen bleach, chlorine bleach is not recommended for use in denim. To remove chemical odors from brand-new jeans, it penetrates deep into the fibers of clothing. To make a water solution and soak your jeans for four hours, follow the instructions on the oxygen bleach bottle. Wash them as usual after that.

To prevent your other clothing from absorbing any of the chemical odor or clothing dye, be sure to wash just your new jeans. Seek out more washing advice from professionals.


You likely already have borax in your kitchen as another cleaning product. It has been used for generations as an odor and stain remover. It has a strong punch despite being marketed as a detergent booster. The strongest chemical odors won’t require a lot of product to eliminate them.

However, be cautious because borax has a history of fading colors. Before applying a full-on borax treatment, always test a small area of your clothing.

Although most people don’t use it frequently, borax is as useful as it is efficient. Fungi- and chemical-based odors are particularly well-removed by it. Use it to remove odors from jeans in the same way you would baking soda.

Castile Soap

Castile soap, which comes in liquid and bar forms, is essential for personal hygiene and also works wonders at eliminating odors. It is an all-natural product that combines a variety of oils, including castor oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.

Some castile soaps contain palm oil, which can lead to dry skin. So before making a purchase, make sure it is palm oil-free if you have sensitive skin.

How to Remove Odor from Jeans Without Washing?

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

Washing and protracted soaking procedures are some ways to get rid of the smell of new jeans. The remaining smells from the manufacturing process can be eliminated without washing your jeans. This section will look at some alternatives that can be used in place of a washing machine or sink.

Use the Power of the Sun

The majority of problems in life can be resolved with a good breath of fresh air. Your stinky new jeans aren’t the only ones. To lessen and get rid of odors without washing your jeans, hang them inside-out in the sunshine.

Chemicals that cause odor will be broken down by UV light. Since these rays are so potent, they will even bleach fabric (which is why it’s crucial to turn your new jeans inside out). By misting your jeans with dilute vinegar, you can hasten the sun’s ability to eliminate odors.

Store in the Freezer

The humble freezer can be used for more than just storing ice cream. It can also be used to eliminate odors and bacteria. Additionally, putting your clothing in the freezer will help keep moths away. Any odor that remains on the clothing after use is eliminated by the freezing process. Nothing would draw moths if the smell weren’t there.

Use this method with some caution, especially if your new jeans have chemical odors. Of course, you have food in your freezer. No open food packets should ever come in contact with the jeans.

Coffee Grounds

This one is for coffee lovers who wear jeans. You might end up with coffee-smelling jeans despite the fact that coffee grounds can mask odors. Additionally, you should avoid touching any wet coffee grounds with your jeans. If not, you might discover that you accidentally dyed your new jeans a coffee color.

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

Vodka Spray

After a long day at work, a little vodka and some sunshine sound like the ideal pick-me-up. especially when a little tonic water is added. Vodka, as strange as it may sound, can also be wonderful for your new jeans. For years, vodka has been used to remove odors.

How to Prevent Denim from Smelling?

Like the majority of people, you most likely don’t wash your jeans very frequently. They are just denim, after all. Wrong; if you don’t wash your jeans frequently enough, they can get pretty stale.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to prevent the odor. Here are some suggestions for keeping your denim from ever smelling in the first place.

Don’t Wear It Continuously

Avoid wearing denim for long stretches of time to help prevent it from smelling. Try to let it air out between uses if you must wear it. In between wearings, hang your dress up to dry. By doing this, odors will be less likely to develop.

Wash Regularly

Wash your dress frequently. This will assist in removing any accumulated oil and dirt that may cause odors. Once you’ve worn them, clean them as soon as you can. This will assist in removing any sweat or bacteria that may be the source of the odor. When cleaning your jeans, be sure to wash them in cold water and a mild detergent.

Avoid wearing denim in hot, humid weather if you can. Smells may become worse when heat and moisture are present. To keep your jeans smelling good between washes, you might also want to add a fabric softener.

Does Denim Smell? Get the Smell Out of Denim

Dry Properly After Cleaning

After washing, be sure to completely dry your denim because moisture can encourage the growth of bacteria, which can result in unpleasant odors.

Freeze Your Denim Or Use Softener

Jeans can be revived using two different techniques. Overnight freezing is one method. Another option is to put some fabric softener sheets in a sealed bag with the items. Prior to removing them from the bag, let them sit for a few hours.

Wash Using Cold Water

Put your jeans in cold water and wash them inside out. You can either hang them up to dry or dry them in a low-heat dryer. If you must wash them in hot water, only do so for a brief period of time. Do not overdo it, please! When you’re done washing them, hang your jeans outside in the sun to dry and help get rid of any odors that may have lingered.

Dry under Direct Sunlight

Attempt hanging your jeans for a few hours in the sun outside. Any bacteria that may be the source of the odor will be assisted in dying by the sun’s UV rays.

You can also wash your jeans from the inside out. Your jeans’ color will be preserved and won’t fade as quickly as a result.

If you have a pair of jeans that smells particularly bad, soak them in vinegar for an hour before washing them, and use a small amount of detergent. Before putting them in the washer, you could also try sprinkling baking soda on them.

Conclusion: Get the Smell Out of Denim

New jeans can be deodorized using easy but efficient techniques. Usually, washing your jeans will solve the problem. Vinegar, baking soda, and even vodka can be used to cover up strong odors.

Try some of the suggestions in this post on how to get rid of the smell of denim if you have a pair of jeans that seem to smell more than others.


Does Denim Hold Scent?

The reason jeans start to smell after being worn for a while is that bacteria transfer from the skin to the denim. Most of those bacteria can be killed by the freezer’s low temperature, which also eliminates the odors they produce. All you need to do is freeze your jeans before going to bed.

Why Does Cheap Denim Smell?

It may seem like a minor annoyance, but the strange odor that some new clothes emit is actually caused by formaldehyde, which should worry you. That’s right, the chemical that’s causing the strange odor on your pants is the same one used for embalming.

Do Unwashed Jeans Smell?

Although not washing your jeans doesn’t seem to pose any health risks, the smell could become a problem. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, some denim enthusiasts have suggested freezing your jeans to kill bacteria and odor.

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