Does Perfume Stain Clothes? [With TIPS to AVOID Stains!]

Yes, it has happened to most of us at least once! You are in a hurry, and you forgot to use perfume before you got dressed! Now you are left thinking, “Can I use perfume on my clothes? Will perfume stain my clothes?”! Here’s what I have learned through my experience –

Perfume can stain clothes as it includes fragrance oil, alcohol, and sometimes color dyes. Each of these materials is known to leave a stain on clothing. The stain may not be visible immediately but can darken over time showing up as an oily spot.

But, merely knowing that perfumes can leave stain on your clothes does little to help you! So, in this article, I will help you understand how to get rid of perfume stains and smell from clothes, and basically take care of the aftermath!

So, let’s get started!

Does Perfume Stain Clothes?

When using perfume, one common fear that most of us have is whether or not our precious clothes will get stained! It is quite natural to have this fear. After all, perfumes do contain fragrance “oil” in them!

Even big brand perfumes like Gucci are known to stain clothes. In fact, Poison by Christian Dior is notorious for leaving purple stains on clothing! So, one has to be really careful when wearing perfume on clothes.

Pro Tip!
Do not spray perfume on clothing made with silk. Perfumes not only alter the color properties of silk but can also affect the mechanical properties of your silk clothing! This means silk clothes are one of the easiest to get damaged and change color when exposed to perfumes!

You may wonder – if perfumes do indeed leave a stain on clothing, then why even use it on clothes? What is the point of spraying it on our expensive clothing?

The fact is that perfumes are designed to be applied directly to the skin. However, applying perfume directly to the skin is a problem for people with sensitive skin; especially when too much perfume is used. Thus, an easier way out is to apply perfume on clothes!

That said, not all perfumes stain clothes! Although there is no way to tell whether a perfume will leave a stain or not, usually darker-colored perfumes tend to leave a stain more often than lighter-colored perfumes.

Perfumes tend to leave a stain on cotton fabrics. The stain may be prominent or more visible on white or light-colored clothes.

Furthermore, perfumes are also known to cause discoloration or leave stains, especially when used on cotton fabrics. The stains are particularly visible when perfume is used on a white shirt! Thus, one needs to be careful and perhaps avoid using perfume on expensive cotton shirts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the stains are more visible on white or light-colored clothing. Using dark-colored clothing may help. Even though the stains may still be formed, but perhaps the dark color of the clothing will make the stains less prominent.

Harmful Effects of Perfume on Clothes?

Perfumes are known to have an impact on your clothing – be it discoloration, forming stains or even affecting the tensile strength of the fabric.

In a research study conducted to assess the effects of mechanical and color properties of silk fabrics, it was concluded that although there was just a slight reduction in the tensile strength of the fabric, but there was a moderate to significant change in color of the fabric and staining occured due to perfume application!

A similar study published in the International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology that aimed to assess the effects of perfume on mechanical and color properties of cotton concluded with a similar outcome. The results revealed that perfumes had minimal effects on the tensile strength of cotton fabrics, but they negatively affected the color characteristics of the fabric!

Based on the various scientific research studies that have been conducted, it is safe to conclude that the application of perfumes on clothing is highly likely to leave a stain or cause discoloration. In some cases, it may even damage the fabric especially when used excessively or consistently over a period of time!

Furthermore, if you are applying perfume on clothes, then you should be aware of the following –

  1. Applying perfume on clothing might cause the threads of the fabric, especially cotton, to overtime bunch up into little tangled balls of fiber. 
  2. Perfume can make clothing to start wearing thin and abrase faster.
  3. Clothes that have perfume applied to them will start to fade in color far faster than usual.

Due to these harmful effects of perfume on clothes, researchers have been busy creating biocompatible nanocapsules for the slow release of fragrances on the human skin! This will basically help to ensure that perfume can last even longer on the skin.

How to Remove Perfume Stains from Clothes?

Now that we know that perfume can indeed stain clothes, in this section we shall discuss how can you get rid of these perfume stains from your clothes.

There are actually quite a few different methods that can help you remove the perfume stains. I’m going to share the one that has worked for me and can be applied to most types of clothing fabric (except silk).

Here’s what you need to do to remove stains from clothes –

  1. Prepare the stain-removal liquid – Get a big bowl of plain water, add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, a large tablespoon of white vinegar – mix it all together and softly – with a soft cotton cloth or sponge – dab on the perfume stain. 
  2. Apply the liquid on the stain – Leave this solution on the stain for around 10 minutes 
  3. Use a paper towel to absorb the stain – Once the stain breaks down, it now needs to be absorbed off from the fabric. Use a paper towel to gently dab it on the fabric.
  4. Use Hydrogen Peroxide for old stains – If the stain has dried off or allowed to settle for a while, or if the white vinegar-water solution does not work, you can even dab some 3% Hydrogen Peroxide – which is usually used as a first aid antiseptic. It can help cut the perfume stain.
  5. Use Stain Remover (if nothing works) – Lastly, if it is a tough, old stain then you might need to buy a stain remover liquid. Carbona Stain Devils #8 is designed specifically to remove perfume stains from washable clothes! Make sure you buy Carbona #8 (It comes in a series of #1 to #10. Different numbers are designed to remove different types of stains)

6 TIPS to Avoid Perfume Stains on Clothing!

Even though you now know how to get rid of perfume stains on clothing, wouldn’t it be better if we were able to avoid stains from being caused in the first place?

So, let me share with you a few tips that will help you avoid perfume from staining your clothes –

1. Test the Perfume for Stains First

Not all perfumes will leave a stain on your clothing. Furthermore, some perfumes may leave a stain immediately, while others may cause discoloration after a few hours!

There is no one way to conclusively confirm whether a perfume will leave a stain or not. Therefore, it is better to test the perfume first.

You can use the perfume on the inner parts of the clothing beforehand. The best place to test on your clothes would be either on the inner side of your collar (the part of the collar that faces your neck) or perhaps the part of the shirt that gets tucked into your trousers.

Basically, use test the perfume on any inner part of the clothing that usually remains hidden when the clothing is worn. That way, even if the perfume does leave a stain, it won’t be on any visible part of your clothing when worn!

2. Use Perfume Before Getting Dressed

If you don’t have a sensitive skin, then I would ideally recommend that you use the perfume before you get dressed. I mean, there can’t really be a better way to prevent the perfume stains from clothes than not using it on the clothes entirely!

The most ideal time to use perfume is immediately after a shower as your skin remains moist and is not dry. This helps to retain the perfume fragrance for a longer duration of time!

However, make sure that you properly wipe yourself with a towel before applying perfume. You don’t want droplets of water on the parts of your skin that has perfume on it! This can quite easily wash the perfume away.

3. Walk into a Perfume Mist

Another way to avoid perfume stains is to not spray the perfume on your clothes in the first place!

You can perhaps spray the perfume in the air in front of you, and then walk into the mist of perfume that has been created. This not only ensures that the perfume is spread out completely, but also retains a small percentage of the fragrance.

This method works great for people who don’t want to carry a strong perfume fragrance.

I will, however, recommend that you may end up wasting a little bit of your perfume this way. So, this method may be ideally suited when using a relatively inexpensive perfume or perhaps when using Eau de Cologne since it will be less expensive than Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, or Parfum!

4. Perfume Your Wardrobe

A great way to always smell nice is when you clothes also smell like your perfume! So, this trick works great not only when you want to avoid stains on your clothing, but also when you want your fragrance to last longer!

Get an Air Diffuser. If you don’t have one already, you can buy this Air Diffuser on Amazon. Then, follow the below-mentioned steps –

  1. Add some water to the diffuser.
  2. Spray some of your perfume in the water. 5 to 10 sprays should usually work (depending on the strength of your perfume).
  3. Keep the air diffuser in your wardrobe for 4 to 5 hours.
  4. If possible, try to keep your wardrobe closed.
  5. If the fragrance is not strong enough, you can repeat the process 1 or 2 times.

You will notice that your clothes will now have a similar fragrance to that of your perfume. Make sure you also use the perfume on your skin before wearing the clothes! This will greatly enhance the longevity of the scent.

What You Don’t Want to do – Don’t go around spraying your perfume all over your wardrobe. This will only waste your perfume and you will not get the desired result! Instead, use a diffuser and follow the steps mentioned above.

The only drawback to this method is that you need to wear the same perfume on your skin that you used in the diffuser for your clothes. Otherwise, the effect will not be seen. Thus, you can only use one perfume until all clothes from your wardrobe undergo washing!

5. Spray Perfume on Clothes from a Distance

Another great way to avoid stains from your clothes when using perfume is to spray it at a distance. Instead of using the perfume close to your clothes, spray it at a distance of 10 cms to 15 cms or 6 to 8 inches away from your clothes!

Every person has a their own fragrance spray routine. My routine involves 3 puffs of spray (at a distance) – one each on my left shoulder, right shoulder and the back part of my neck. This allows the fragrance to remain in a close proximity to myself. It also ensure that the perfume scent doesn’t overwhelm others while keeping me engaged with my favorite fragrance!

Spraying perfume at a distance ensures that the fragrance is evenly spread out and doesn’t concentrate on small part of the fabric. This greatly prevents staining and damaging of the fabric due to perfume!

So, whatever may be your spray routine, just make sure that you spray the perfume at a distance that is safe for your clothing.

6. Use Perfume Dabbers

An interesting way to avoid stains on your clothing due to perfume is to use dabbing perfume! This falls in the category of applying perfume directly on your skin rather than clothes. Obviously, this will not stain your clothes as the perfume is applied on your skin and not on clothes.

If you are unsure about dabbing perfume or what is a perfume dabber, I wrote a detailed article on this very topic. Make sure you click on the link to read the details!

How to Get Rid of Perfume Smell on Clothes?

Sometimes, perfume scent can be a bit overwhelming. Perhaps you may not have liked the smell of the perfume or you just want to get rid of it! The process of removing excessive perfume smell from clothes is different from removing perfume stains.

Here’s how you can get rid of perfume smell from clothes –

  1. Pre-treat your clothes – You can use a fabric odor remover like Febreze. Take the clothing out and gently spray Febreze and let the clothes air out for a couple of hours under sunlight. Febreze is designed to trap the fragrance molecules.
  2. Soak the clothes in Baking Soda – it is recommended to soak your clothes in baking soda before washing. This helps to remove any unwanted odor from your clothes. It also weakens the trapped fragrance molecules. It is ideal to soak your clothes for about 4 to 6 hours.
  3. Wash the clothes – The next step is to gently wash your clothes. You can use vinegar while washing your clothes. Vinegar helps to cut through the scent molecules on your clothes. You can use lukewarm water for washing.
  4. Dry out your clothes – Once the clothes have been washed, dry them on a clothesline. Wait for them to completely dry out.
  5. Repeat the process (if necessary) – If the perfume fragrance is still retained in the clothes, it is recommended to repeat steps 1 to 4 mentioned above instead of using more quantity of chemicals. Otherwise, your clothes may be at risk of getting ruined.

As an additional step, you can also add some baking soda while storing your clothes. Simply put your specific clothing in a sealed plastic bag with 1 tablespoon of baking soda in the bag. The baking soda will absorb all the unwanted scent from your clothing.

More Related Topics –

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  3. Buy Genuine Perfume for Cheap! [With 19 AWESOME Tips]
  4. Does Perfume Damage Jewelry? Here’s What We Found!
  5. Can I Carry Perfume on a Plane? THIS is What You Should Remember!
  6. Does Perfume Get Better with Age? You Should Know THIS!

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