As a dementia or Alzheimers caregiver, you may have to deal with lots of “accidents”. Here are some tips and ideas about how to get the smell of urine and feces out of your loved one's clothing in the laundry!
Today we are going to talk about how to get poop and pee smells out of your laundry. This might be from urine stained clothing or poop covered sheets and towels, but somehow your loved one is making for some stinky laundry!
But never fear, help is here! This is whole list of different things you can try to get urine and feces smells out of the wash.
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The very first idea is sunshine! You can wash and hang your loved one's clothes out on the line.
According to Science Focus magazine, “Hung outside, clothes generally dry much quicker, and the ultraviolet light from the Sun kills bacteria quite effectively. “
Washing It Quickly
The next thing that will help stop smells from setting in is washing it quickly. If you can get in a routine where you wash at least once a day, there will be less chance that smells will get a chance to set in.
If you can't wash their clothes, sheets and towels every day, then soaking them in cold water can help extend the time before the smells set in. Before washing you want to use cold water because soaking in hot water will set in the smells and proteins.
When possible use hot water in the wash cycle (this may fade colored clothes and linens). Hot water can help kill some of the microbes from the pee and poop!
When using hot water try a cap full of bleach, 1 cup of vinegar and your normal laundry detergent. Set the load for an extended rinse and spin to get all the pee and poop out.
Dawn dish washing soap with hot water has helped some people too!
Additional Resource :: 8 Creative Ways To Use White Vinegar In Your Laundry
You can try 1 cup ammonia in the rinse cycle for a small load or 2 cups for a large load.
If you are cleaning white clothes, towels or linens, try using bleach in the wash. It can help kill microbes in the laundry.
It might even be worth investing in a set of white towel or sheets so that you can keep them separate from the other family's laundry.
Vinegar is an acid that neutralizes the alkaline salts that form in dried urine. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Use a cup of white vinegar in with the detergent at the start of the load, if it's really bad you can put some in the rinse cycle too.
You should use a half a cup of baking soda in each load! This helps the detergents work better so that they can help eliminate that urine or poop smell.
Vinegar & Lemon Juice
Try 1 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent (think of putting it in your hair to make it blond in the summer!)
Put a capful or two into the machine after it starts to fill up. The mouthwash will help kill bacteria in the wash the same way as it kills bacteria in your mouth.
Your loved one may have sensitive skin (many do!) If what you have been trying has aggravated a skin condition, try using Dreft newborn laundry soap. It is made for the sensitive skin of newborns. That said, you will have to do it more often as a way to remove urine smell (they say to use more if the laundry is soiled).
OxiClean is great for presoaking your laundry! It will help get stains out and stop the smells from setting in. You can use a half a scoop in your cold water pre-wash tub. Then just use the usual amount recommended in your regular laundry load. I have found that this does remove urine odor when you run the load.
Use a capful of Pinesol in the wash water. I haven't tried this one myself and it sounds pretty stinky, but some of the gals swear by it!
Borateem is a non chlorine bleach you can use with your colored fabrics. To get stains and smell out you might have to soak a while.
Odoban has a cult following among people who love to do laundry (read some of the reviews!) You can use about a 1/2 cup in every load… it helps kill germs and won’t hurt colored clothes.
Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive
Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive is less convenient than other things listed. You need to put it in your washer's rinse cycle and several people said they sometimes forgot (this wouldn't work great for me either).
The problem seems to be that the recommended amount doesn't fit in the rinse area if you are using a fabric softener too.
FunkAway Laundry Detergent Booster
Not made specifically for urine or poop, FunkAway is billed as a great way to get rid of sweat and stains. I have not tried this one although it seems to have the same kinds of enzymes and “funk” removers that a bunch of the other ones have!
Febreze in-Wash Laundry Odor Eliminator
Febreze in-Wash Laundry Odor Eliminator goes in your washer with the detergent. I haven't loved Febreze for my pet stains, but some of the gals said it is the bomb, so worth a try if you are at your wit's end.
Persil Megaperls Universal
Whoa, the people who love this LOVE this! This is a German brand laundry soap (everyone says the US version is not as good!) It seems to be a great cleaner, but not a lot of info about removing smells (one reviewer recommends adding vinegar).
Downey Unstoppable Beads
When writing this post I asked the gals what they used and I am finding out about so many different things I never knew existed! Downey Unstoppable Beads seem to add a smell to the clothes rather than removing the pee and poop smells. I might get some for me, but don't know that this will help with Mom's laundry!
Mr Clean Antibacterial
Now this one is a “kill germs” kind of cleaner! You just need to add a capful of Mr. Clean to your washing machine. That said, it is to clean floors and might be a wee bit harsh to your loved one's skin. Would for sure test before doing all her wash in this!
Sol-U-Mel 3-in-1 Cleaner Lemon
This is another one that I had never heard of! Sol-U-Mel is a stain remover, air deodorizer, and cleaning booster. None of the reviews mention laundry, but they are mostly complimentary!
Tide Oder Remover Pods
I could not find a kind of Tide pods that specifically was for odor removal. I have used Tide Pods in the past and they work just fine, but not sure they will be as good for pee smells as some of the other options.
Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean Odor Blasters 3-in-1 Power Paks
WOW that is a mouthful, but when I saw that baking soda helps with the smell, I thought immediately of Arm & Hammer. We have used their detergent for years and it does a great job. If this works for your loved one's laundry it seems to be a simple solution to combine OxiClean, baking soda and detergent all in one.
Getting Rid of Poop and Pee Smells In The Laundry Wrapup
Okay, having spent a bunch of time considering how to get poop and pee smells out in the wash, I think there are a bunch of “right” solutions.
Some of them depend on how diligent you are in minding your laundry (the rinse cycle ones don't seem like will work for me), but the soaking in cold water and oxi is something we do for the kids gym clothes anyways in a Home Depot bucket is doable.
One thing I did notice is that the ones with an enzyme based cleaning element were the most effective for super stinky stains and odor.
Try all the different options until you find one that works for you!