How to remove body odor from dance costumes

Removing Odors from Smelly Belly Dance Costumes



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Costume Care:

Sometimes brand-new costumes arrive from overseas ateliers reeking of tobacco smoke. Sometimes used costumes purchased from a fellow dancer arrive stinking of perspiration, stale perfume, cat urine, or other unpleasant smells.

Even if the costume starts out smelling fresh, working dancers routinely need to care for the costume properly to avoid odor build-up over time, and after some gigs may need to remove food smells, perspiration odors, or tobacco smell.

Whatever the cause of the odors, they can ruin the joy of wearing a beautiful costume. Here are some tips for controlling costume odors.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by André Elbing, Bärbroich, Germany, at one of Shira's performances in Egypt.


Bra/Belt Sets: Planning Ahead

Many working dancers will hand-sew felt linings into their new bra/belt sets before the first wearing, using a long, loose stitch. After this felt has absorbed enough perspiration to be unpleasant, it can be easily removed and replaced with fresh felt.


Smell Removal

There are several approaches that dancers use to remove smells from costumes. If one doesn't work, try another!



I usually hear this recommended for perspiration odor, but you could try it with tobacco smoke to see if it helps with that. Mix equal parts of vodka and water in a spray bottle. Test a small amount on a hidden part of the costume to ensure it won't discolor the fabric or damage the decorations. Assuming it does no harm, spray this mixture on the part of the costume that smells. Let it dry.

Vodka evaporates easily, so mix only a small amount at a time, just enough for the need of the moment.

If the smell is strong, it may be necessary to repeat this for a total of 3-4 sprayings.


Cat Litter

Obtain a plastic tub with a lid. Fill it half full of fresh, clean cat litter. Wrap the costume in a pillow case, place that on top of the cat litter, and place the lid on the tub. Leave it there for 3-4 days.



Some people find that Febreze is helpful in removing costume odors. It should first be tested on an inconspicuous part of the costume to ensure it won't stain the fabric or damage the decorations. Febreze has an odor of its own, and may provoke an allergic or asthmatic reaction in some people, so proceed with caution.



Sunshine kills germs, and therefore can help remove perspiration odor or pet odors from costumes. Therefore, placing a costume outdoors may help. One caution: sunshine can cause fabric to fade, so this approach should not be overused. A single day of sunshine now and then probably will do no harm.

Outdoor environments can pose other risks, such as damage to the costume from wind, bird droppings, or insects. Proceed with caution.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.



Incense may not remove odors, but it can help mask them. Hang the costume, and burn incense below it. Hang the costume high enough to avoid smoke stains, and to avoid catching fire.


Baking Soda and Lavender

People often use baking soda to remove odors from refrigerators. In some cases, it can help remove odors from costumes. Lavender has antibacterial properties, and may help kill bacteria that cause odors.

Place fresh baking soda in several small fabric bags. Place several drops of lavender essential oil on cotton balls. Place the costume inside an airtight container, and arrange the bags of baking soda near the smelly areas. Add the cotton balls - it may be wise to place them on a small towel to avoid staining the costume with the oil.

Seal the container and leave the costume in it for 3-4 days.

Pet Odor Removal Products

Pet stores sell several products designed to remove animal smells such as cat urine. If a pet has caused the problem, one of these approaches may solve the problem.

Cat owners embrace Nature's Miracle as a solution to cat urine smells. This product is an enzyme that breaks down the protein molecules. It may help with smells that are caused by pet accidents, but not with those caused by other sources.


Washing the Costume

Before washing a costume, test a corner with some water to determine whether the color will run. Fabrics that were dyed in places such as India or Egypt may not have been fully rinsed, and the excess dye can run when the costume is washed. If this is the case, the costume should be washed separately, in a tub that won't be stained by the dye. Rubber gloves should be warn to avoid staining the hands with dye.

It may help to hand-wash the costume in a bowl of water with gentle detergent such as baby shampoo, Woolite, or baking soda. The detergent should be tested on an inconspicuous spot on the costume before doing this to ensure it won't damage the fabric or the embellishments. Rhinestones may turn dark if washed, and may need to be replaced.

Don't use too much detergent. Soapy detergents may stay in the fabric and dull it, while baking soda may leave a white residue.

If the costume has visible perspiration stains, you may find it helpful to use the Carbona Stain Devil (#9) that is made for rust and perspiration stains. I don't know whether it would help remove the odor, but it should remove the visible stain.

An old toothbrush can be used to carefully treat problem spots.

Rubbing the fabric or wringing it may cause damage. It is safer to squeeze gently.

Handle the costume cautiously while it is wet. Be careful to avoid letting it stretch under its own weight, and take care to avoid any snagging. Carefully spread it flat to dry. Dry thoroughly, to avoid any rusting of metal bits.

Avoid washing in hot water or placing in a hot clothes dryer. These can cause the costume to shrink. Certain types of thread or embellishments such as soutache braid may shrink at a different rate than the costume fabric itself, causing puckering.

Some fabrics may need to be ironed after washing. If this is the case, test the iron on an inconspicuous part of the costume to ensure it is not too hot.


What About Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning does not remove smells or perspiration stains.



Costume Storage

Working dancers can avoid odor build-up in their costumes through proper costume care and storage.

  • Never put a costume away when damp with perspiration. Spray the damp parts with the vodka/water mixture described above. Then place it flat until it dries. Put it away after drying.
  • Never store a costume in an airtight container or a plastic bag. Instead, store it in a bag that will let it breathe, such as a pillow case, a packing cube, or a lingerie laundry bag.
  • Fold costumes carefully before putting away.
  • Never store the costume in a damp, humid environment. Mold and mildew smell is not attractive.
  • Avoid storing the costume in a place where it can be damaged by pets (particularly pet stains) or children.
  • Some people store a small fabric bag filled with baking soda in the bag or box with their costumes. It is also possible to use potpourri, but take care to avoid oils from the plants leaking out of the bag and staining the costume.


Related Articles

  • Bellydance Television (BD-TV), Volume 1. Shira's review of a video that includes a segment on costume care.
  • Tips & Tricks for Belly Dance Costuming. Includes tips on costume care.



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"How To Wash A Dance Costume" Video Tutorial

If we have to pick one single piece of advice it’s this: don’t be afraid to wash your costume!

We know, we know! The thought of something going wrong and potentially ruining your costume is enough to make you want to ignore the stinky mess! But not cleaning your costume can potentially cause more damage than just the smell factor.

Laundering your garment to promote longevity and to keep it sparkling fresh. With proper care, a well-constructed garment should last you several years. Rest assured, you can easily do it yourself without risking damage to your costume.

Check out the video tutorial and tips below from the experts in our laundry department on how to wash a dance costume, cheer uniform, or skating dress without worry!

How to Wash A Dance Costume or Skating Dress in 6 Basic Steps


Step 1: Do Not Dry Clean

The thought of handing off the messy task to a professional may seem  enticing, but don’t even think about dry cleaning your costume!  

Why? The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can actually damage specialty fabrics and adhesive applied finishes.  These items will all will all dull, reducing their sparkle factor: 

  • Fabrics with a shiny or foil finish like hologram
  • Spangles and sequins
  • Rhinestones

We’ve heard a few horror stories of all of the rhinestones falling off a costume after dry-cleaning. Considering the amount of time and energy it takes to apply stones by hand, re-stoning is a task no one would want to repeat! 



Step 2: Spot Clean as Needed

Before washing, spot clean troublesome areas with a spot cleaner.  It’s best to use a product that is gentle and won’t damage your specialty fabrics.  

  • We DO recommend:
    • Stain Remedy from Forever New
    • Carbona Stain Devils
    • Carbona Color Run Remover
    • DIY solution: 1 part Dawn dish soap combined with 1 part hydrogen peroxide, stir lightly to blend
    • Rubbing Alcohol (for removing rhinestone glue only)
  • We DON'T recommend:
    • Shout 
    • Household detergents - they are too harsh and may leave permanent damage
    • Bleach - never use bleach!

For more advice on removing specific stains, check out these separate video tutorials:

  • Intro : How to Remove Stains from Your Dance Costume
  • #1: Self Tanner
  • #2: Lipstick & Makeup
  • #3: Color Bleed & Perspiration
  • #4: Permanent Marker
  • #5: Rhinestone Glue



Step 3: Hand Wash

What's worse than a stinky or stained costume?  How about one that is ruined beyond repair. Regular hand washing can actually extend the life of your costume by removing perspiration and chemical residues (like hairspray and makeup), which promote wear and break down specialty fabrics.  

  1. What you'll need:
    • Wash Basin
    • Carbona Color Run Remover
    • Mild detergent (such as Forever New or Dreft)
    • Towels
    • Mesh Laundry Bag 
    • Ice
  2. Prepare a wash basin with cold water. This is crucial!
  3. Add detergent - Add a small amount of mild detergent such as Forever New or Dreft.
  4. Avoid harsh chemicals - we do not recommend using common household laundry detergents, even if they say they’re mild! And, it is important you do not use bleach!  Don’t be fooled by Woolite though, it’s not actually a mild soap! We don’t recommend it.
  5. Prevent color bleeding - If you have colors that could bleed, add ice, or Carbona Color Grabber to the basin.
  6. Use a mesh laundry bag - For garments with rhinestones, heat transfer sequin and vinyl turn the piece inside-out and place it in a garment bag before washing to protect against abrasion.  
  7. Wash gently - Place your garment in the prepared wash basin and gently scrub. Do not soak or leave your costume unattended while washing.
  8. Rinse with cold water to remove the soap.
  9. Remove excess water - Promptly remove your costume from the basin and gently ring and blot out excess water. You may need to use several light towels or a friend to help this process!  Continue until you have no excess water dripping from the garment! 



Step 4: Hang to Dry

Once the water has been properly removed from the garment, hang it in a dry area.  If you have multiple pieces, make sure to keep the garments separated. Never hang them together and avoid having them touch each other – especially with dark colors next to light colors.

And never put your costume in the dryer!  Your spandex-based fabric is made up of elastic fibers, meaning it will shrink when exposed to heat! Definitely not fun.



Step 5: Do Not Iron - Use a Steamer

The best way to get any wrinkles out of your garment is to use a steamer! Whatever you do, don’t use an iron! Your specialty fabrics will melt if an iron is applied, leaving burn marks. 



Step 6 - Clean & Dry Storage

The only way to store your garments should be to hang them in a garment bag. Avoid plastic or nylon bags, as these will trap odors,  letting them fester and grow. Please don’t throw them in your gym bag either!

We recommend hanging your costume in a breathable garment bag – believe it or not, a pillowcase with a hole cut at the top is a great option. And ALWAYS make sure your garments are dry before storing.  Damp items will mold or mildew, and again, lead to a smelly mess. 



Hopefully this helps take away the anxiety of garment care - if you follow these 6 steps, you’ll have your garment "so fresh and so clean, clean" in no-time!

Still have anxiety about garment care or don't have time to tackle the job yourself? No worries! We’re equipped with a talented team of cleaning experts that can have your dance costume, skate dress, or cheerleading uniform sparkling in no time! Contact us to inquire about our washing services! 



How to remove smell from clothes: effective ways, means

Clothes help others to make an impression of us. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the fabric and the absence of an unpleasant odor. Being able to remove any smell from clothes is as important as taking a shower and changing clothes every day. There are proven homemade recipes to keep your things fresh.

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The fabric absorbs odors well - you might like it if you wear your favorite perfume. But such a property of clothing plays against you in the case of the smell of sweat, tobacco or dampness. We have collected the best tips on how to get rid of the smell on clothes. nine0003

How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes

The smell of sweat is an unpleasant but common problem. Despite the fact that the secretions of the human body are absolutely natural, it is unlikely that anyone will like to feel the strong aroma of sweat from themselves, relatives or colleagues.

How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes with laundry soap

We invite you to remember the glorious tradition and always keep a bar of laundry soap at home. This is a universal tool for solving many everyday problems. nine0003

In particular, it will help to remove the smell of sweat from clothes, including underarms.

  • Soak the smelly areas with water and lather with laundry soap from the inside out.
  • Leave the clothes like this for half an hour and then wash as usual.
  • Laundry soap is not suitable for bright fabrics. The color may fade.

    How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes with vinegar and soda

    The smell of stale clothes can be very persistent, especially if you have worn them for many days in a row without changing them. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar will help against the stubborn smell of sweat. To remove a strong smell from clothes under the arms, you need to know how to properly dilute the acid solution. nine0003

    • Add 100-150 ml of vinegar to warm water and place dirty clothes in it.
    • Leave the clothes to soak for a few hours and then wash them in the washing machine with a few teaspoons of baking soda in the washing powder.

    How to Remove Sweat Smell from Clothes with Salt

    Salt is an all-purpose home remedy for various types of stains. It will help answer the question of how to remove an unpleasant smell from clothes using an affordable and cheap remedy. nine0003

    • Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in a glass of water and apply to the spots.
    • Leave on for 1-2 hours and then wash clothes as usual.

    By the way, ordinary salt can also remove the smell of oil from clothes, now we’ll tell you how.

    Sprinkle salt on the stain and wait 30 minutes.
    Wash the product with soap by hand or with powder in the machine.
    Use a salt solution (1 tablespoon to 1 glass of water) for problem areas on silk or linen clothing. nine0003

    How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes without washing

    The most obvious way to remove the smell of sweat from clothes is to wash them. But there are some tricks that will allow you to deal with this problem without washing. Here are a few ways:

    • Try putting your clothes in the freezer for a few hours.
    • Sprinkle baking soda on soiled areas and rub into a cloth. Leave overnight. Shake off the soda in the morning.
    • Apply vinegar to stains. Dry your clothes. nine0038

    These methods are good if you are in a hurry and cannot wait for your clothes to dry. Or, for example, the water was turned off at home. Removing the smell from clothes without washing is quite acceptable, how to apply an emergency measure. The thing will still not be completely fresh. Wash it as soon as possible.

    How to remove the smell of dampness from clothes

    Musty smells from clothes often appear as a result of improper storage. It is recommended to periodically air out the things that you have hung in the closet until the next season. Washed items should not be stored together with stale ones. If you find a terrible damp smell and don't know how to quickly remove the smell from your clothes, put the item in the freezer. Usually this is enough. But in more problematic cases, you can use vinegar, soda, ammonia, citric acid. nine0003

    How to remove mildew smell from clothes

    Unpleasant damp odor can appear on clothes as a result of infection with mold spores. This happens, for example, if you leave things for several days in the washing machine. To get rid of amber, use vinegar or soda. Proceed as follows:

    • Put the item in the washing machine, add the standard amount of powder.
    • Add baking soda or vinegar to water. When the washer is full, pour in a glass of this solution or fill the liquid detergent drawer with it. nine0038
    • Hang clothes to dry in a well-ventilated place.

    Even if you know how to remove musty smells from clothes, it is better not to forget to hang things out after washing or when damp and crumpled.

    How to get second hand smell out of clothes

    Second hand is an economical option for those who are ready to hunt for the perfect item. Sometimes there are amazing finds. However, anyone who has ever bought used clothes knows the characteristic smell of second-hand clothes. This caustic fragrance appears as a result of processing things with formaldehyde, and it can be very difficult to remove it. nine0003

    We will show you how to remove the smell of second-hand clothes from clothes if you value the habit of shopping in such stores. The method is very simple.

    Washing with a long rinse and drying clothes thoroughly for at least a day can help. If the smell persists, use ammonia. Prepare a solution of 10% ammonia with water. For small things, calculate the amount of ammonia from the proportion of 20 ml per 5 liters of water. For large ones - 100 ml per 10 liters of water. Soak the item in this solution for an hour. nine0003

    How to remove the smell from the closet with clothes

    Closets with clothes require regular ventilation and drying. To do this, completely empty the wardrobe and dry it with a hair dryer. Periodically, you can carry out wet cleaning with a cleaner with wax for wood. Experienced housewives use soap bars, citrus peel, coffee beans to flavor the interior of the cabinet. Simply place your chosen material in woven bags and arrange on the shelves.

    How to remove the smell of urine from clothes

    You can get rid of the smell of baby urine with the help of folk remedies. Apply a solution of salt (1 tablespoon to 1 glass of water) or vinegar (1 teaspoon to 1 glass of water) to the stain. Wait 15 minutes and wash the item with soap.

    Animal excrement is a little more complicated. A solution of hydrogen peroxide or potassium permanganate helps to remove the cat smell from clothes as efficiently as possible. First, treat the area with a solution of vinegar (4 tablespoons per 1 cup of water). Pour soda on top, after 5 minutes rub the area with a sponge dipped in peroxide. nine0003

    How to remove the smell of gasoline from clothes

    Petroleum products have very strong odors. Sometimes every visit to the gas station turns into a subsequent war with smells. If the thing is soaked with gasoline, you first need to ventilate it thoroughly. Let it hang for at least a day, preferably outdoors or in a ventilated room.

    Then rinse with water. Let it dry and then wash with laundry soap. After that, you can run the clothes in the washing machine, but separately from other things. If the fabric allows, set the maximum temperature. nine0003

    If you encounter diesel fuel, take soda. How to save a thing and remove the smell of diesel fuel from clothes?

    • Soak clothes in a saturated solution and leave for 4 hours.
    • Machine wash with good detergent and fabric softener.
    • Arrange an extra rinse.
    • Air dry.

    How to remove the smell of cigarettes from clothes

    After a long stay in a smoky room, getting rid of the smell of tobacco becomes a paramount task. Washing clothes in a typewriter at the highest temperature and pre-soaking in a solution of vinegar and soda for an hour will help to cope with it. To completely remove the smell from clothes, after performing these procedures, things must be thoroughly dried. nine0003

    By the way, table vinegar helps both with the stench from cigarettes and, if necessary, to remove the smell of perfume from clothes. Only in this case, you need to rinse the item in the solution after washing - 1 glass per 5 liters of water. Spare no water after that, to remove the vinegar flavor as well.

    Photo by Getty Images

    How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes

    May 3 2019

    It's so nice to be around someone who smells good! And I really want us to smell just as good. Often this is prevented by the smell of sweat. How to remove the smell of sweat and refresh clothes? nine0003

    To do this, you can use a variety of methods - from improvised folk remedies to potent specific compounds.

    The most obvious and effective way is to wash smelly clothes, but sometimes this is not possible. In this case, the thing is processed locally, only in problem areas.

    How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes without washing

    1. Mix 1 tbsp. salt, 1 tsp ammonia and 200 ml of water. Gently apply the mixture to the problem area. Wait a bit, blot moisture with a cotton swab, dry the thing. This method is suitable for synthetic and natural fabrics, with the exception of chiffon and other delicate fabrics. nine0038
    2. Ordinary vodka will help to remove the smell of sweat from clothes without washing. It is applied to the desired area with a richly moistened swab, left for 2 hours. Then the thing is cleaned with a steam iron and dried.
    3. An ozonator helps to eliminate unpleasant odors from clothes. An unpleasant smelling thing is treated with an ozonizer, and the smell disappears completely. The effectiveness of using ozone lies in the fact that it acts on the cause. It does not camouflage the smell, but destroys bacteria and their metabolic products. As a result, the smell disappears. It is worth noting that ozone is a universal remedy: it also effectively fights odors of any origin. nine0038
    4. You can try to remove the smell of sweat from clothes with baking soda. The fabric is slightly moistened, rubbed with soda and left for 15-20 minutes. Then the soda is removed with a cotton swab.
    5. Food grade vinegar is an excellent odor remover. The problem area should be sprinkled with 9% vinegar.

    It is advisable to use the above methods without washing the whole thing in conditions of lack of time or opportunity, but not always.

    How to remove the smell of sweat from clothes when washing

    It's better to wash clothes with an unpleasant odor regularly. If the normal washing cycle does not remove the unpleasant odor, you can apply one of the following tips:

    1. Before washing, the item with the smell of sweat should be soaked for 30-40 minutes in water with vinegar or laundry soap.
    2. If, before washing, pour 2-3 tablespoons of soda into the drum of the machine and pour in 100 ml of 9% vinegar, the smell of sweat is washed off clothes much better.
    3. Bleach and stain removers are the most effective means of removing sweat odor from clothes. These funds are added to the powder compartment for the main wash. nine0038
    4. Intensive Rinse helps to remove unpleasant odors from delicate items.
    5. Fabric softeners are great for all odors, not just sweat.
    6. Warm clothes and outerwear cannot always be washed at home. Take advantage of dry cleaning services. And the thing will retain its appearance, and the unpleasant smell and pollution will disappear.
    7. The old smell of sweat is well removed with citric acid and vinegar. The thing is first treated with a solution (2 tsp of citric acid and 100 ml of water), left for 20-30 minutes. Rinse well. Now immerse the thing in a solution of 1 (vinegar) to 10 (water). We leave for 1 hour. Rinse again and wash normally. nine0038

    You can invent as many ways and means to eliminate unpleasant odors from clothes as you like. But all of them will be meaningless if you do not apply a few preventive measures: