Who doesn’t like fried food? It’s crispy, mouth-watering, absolutely delicious, and makes your clothes smell like triple-dipped fried chicken! Unfortunately, that odor is only pleasant while you’re actually having a meal. Outside of the kitchen, you’d probably prefer others not to be able to sense the chicken wings you may or may not have just enjoyed. So, if you want to learn how to get the fried food smell out of your clothes, read on.

Six Ways to Get Rid of Fried Food Odor

For your convenience, I have compiled a list of six ways to remove the smell of fried food from your clothes. However, before we start, I’d like to mention that those methods are applicable to clothes you’d usually wear when cooking, i.e., old T-shirts, leggings, aprons, etc. I strongly advise against cooking in your fancy garments, as most of the time, they are more delicate and should be dry-cleaned.

1. Laundry Detergent

Before you try anything else, consider giving a heavy-duty laundry detergent a go. Those products are more concentrated than regular detergents and effectively fight stubborn stains and odors. Moreover, there is a huge variety of options to choose from, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a detergent that fits your needs.

Also, there are enzyme laundry detergents that I highly recommend. The enzyme-producing cultures in them actively attack odors, food, beverage, and pet stains, and more. Those products are perfect for big households, as they are kind to people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. They are also safe to use around children, vulnerable adults, and pets.

If you don’t want to invest in detergents, however, you could try some alternatives. For example, here’s how to wash your clothes without a laundry detergent altogether.

2. Bleach

Bleach has many applications — it disinfects, brightens and whitens fabrics, and gets rid of bad odors. If you’re a messy cook and you always end up staining your clothes and getting them all greasy and smelly, consider adding some bleach to your next wash.

Just be mindful of the fabric your clothes are made of. Don’t use bleach on wool or silk garments, as well as articles of clothing that are not colorfast.


This probably goes without saying, but bleach is highly toxic when ingested. Therefore, store it with great caution.

3. Baking Soda

This one may sound like part of a recipe, but trust me — it does help. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, and a pretty cheap one at that. It removes pungent odors and brightens the color of your clothes.

Many detergents only mask the smell with artificial scents. Baking soda eradicates the odors on a chemical level. It is alkaline, which means it neutralizes the acids that cause unpleasant smells. It also absorbs the oils that are responsible for the greasy, pungent odor that lingers around after cooking fried food.

You can mix half a cup of baking soda with your detergent or directly sprinkle it on your clothes. If you feel like your garments need an extra push, you can soak them in a mixture of baking soda and water. Stir periodically and throw them in your washing machine after a couple of hours.

Also, it’s a good idea to wash greasy and smelly kitchen garments separately from your other clothes to prevent odors from spreading. Moreover, it’s not uncommon for oil to splash on you while cooking, so washing the garments you used in the kitchen separately will ensure no oil or grease spreads to your other clothes.  

Here’s a pro tip: if you don’t have time to wash smelly clothes immediately after cooking, sprinkle some baking soda on them for the time being. Then, when you do have time, wash them as usual.

4. Ammonia Solution

Ammonia water is another great alternative. It is an extremely versatile laundry additive, and just like bleach, it fully disinfects, brightens colors, and eradicates unpleasant smells from your clothes.

Add a cup of ammonia to your wash cycle, and you should be left with spotless garments that don’t smell like chicken teriyaki anymore!


Ammonia is highly potent and toxic and is not recommended for people with chemical allergies. Always store it with great caution and keep out of the reach of pets, vulnerable adults, and children.

5. Borax

Borax is a mineral that is safe to mix with your detergent. It boosts its cleaning power, resulting in fresh-smelling, stainless clothes.

Just like baking soda, borax eliminates the unpleasant odors still lingering around after cooking. It’s alkaline, and when added to the washing water, it keeps it at a pH of around 8, thus neutralizing pungent smells.

It also disinfects your clothes, inhibiting bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms responsible for bad scents.

Prepare a solution of one tbsp of borax per gallon of warm water, and pre-soak your clothes for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, wash as usual. If you don’t have time for that, you can add ½ cup of borax to a pre-soak cycle, too.


The fact that borax is natural does not mean it’s non-toxic! On the contrary, a small amount of the product can seriously harm a person’s/pet’s health if ingested. As little as five grams can even cause death! Therefore, use it cautiously and store it away from the reach of children, pets, and vulnerable adults.

6. Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a great natural cleaner that has been used for more than a century. It is cheap and non-toxic, which makes it perfect for families that cook a lot and don’t want to invest in expensive alternatives.

If you’ve decided to use vinegar to remove odors and stains from your laundry, I recommend going with the distilled version. It is clear in color, hence (unlike other variants that contain natural dyes) cannot stain your clothes.

Simply soak the garments in a mixture of vinegar and water for a couple of hours and stir periodically. Then, run the load normally. It’s easy and inexpensive — what better combination?

In Summary

Cooking is a true art form for many. However, smelling like a greasy chicken nugget is neither pleasant nor artistic. Fortunately, there are many ways to get fried food smell out of clothes, and hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve found the perfect solution for you.

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