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  • Writer's pictureJord

PERFUME AND CLOTHING: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Updated: Mar 5



Does Perfume Behave Differently on Clothes Compared to Skin?

Clothing fibres are colder and more absorbent than human skin, making it harder for perfume oils to evaporate from the structure.

 

pH, moisture and heat vary widely across human skin and how each reacts with perfume when applied. Skin is also semipermeable, leaving more perfume on its surface.

 

Is Perfume for Clothes or Skin?

It depends on your comfort and use case. Go for clothes for sensitive skin, and to extend the life of your scent. For personalisation and finer application, spray scent on your skin.

 

Perfume behaviour on clothes means your perfume will evaporate more slowly, for a longer-lasting effect. If you have sensitive skin, clothing is a safer and more comfortable option.

 

Perfume behaviour on skin means that your skin uniquely changes how your perfume smells, in contrast to clothing. Less perfume is needed for skin than clothing, and can be more easily removed.

 

Does Perfume Ruin Clothes?

Yes, perfume and clothing don't always mix. Perfume can stain and discolour clothing. Clothing can trap perfume oils and additives in its fibres, and this residue can show up as discolouration or oily spots on clothes.

 

Perfumer’s alcohol can fade dyes and strip fabrics of protective oils and proteins. Alcohol can even damage delicate and synthetic fabrics such as silk, rayon, acrylic and wool.

 

Do Perfume Stains Come Out of Clothes?

Yes but it’s important to stay calm and take a gradual, iterative approach. This will stop you treating your clothes too harshly and keep your clothes in good shape.

 

How do perfume stains come out of clothes?

machine washable fabrics

Start by gently dabbing the stain with a cool damp cloth to try and transfer the stain. This is best for new perfume stains.

 

If your perfume stain is more stubborn, simply put it on to wash with detergent. Don’t use the dryer as heat can set the stain.

 

You can pre-treat the stain by applying white vinegar or bicarb solution, dabbing the stain with a fresh damp cloth or pressing with a dry paper towel to help lift the scent pre-wash

 

If that doesn’t work, try pre-treating again but with detergent before washing again. If that doesn’t work, pretreat without detergent but dabbing or pressing with rubbing alcohol.

 

Heat may set the stain so it’s important to avoid the dryer and hot washes.

 

silks & delicates

For delicate fabrics like silk, thoroughly rinse the affected area as you would a burn, then apply glycerin directly to the perfume stain. This will help separate the stain from the fabric.

 

If this doesn’t work, you can pat the area with denatured alcohol or an equal parts white vinegar solution.

 

Once the perfume stain is removed, you should thoroughly rinse your silk garment with water and hang it to dry.

 

hides & upholstery

For hides such as leather and suede it’s important to keep the material dry to avoid removing protective oils and making the hide become brittle. This complicates perfume stain removal but all is not lost.

 

Best for fresh stains, start by gently blotting with a dry sponge or paper towel to transfer the perfume stain.

 

If this doesn’t work, create a soap solution and apply its foam to the stain with your hands before patting it gently into the sponge and wiping with a dry cloth or paper towel.

 

For older and stubborn stains, sprinkle a light covering of fine powder over the stain and leave it to settle for a while. Next, simply brush the powder off your hide material and repeat the process until the perfume stain is completely gone.

 

Highly absorbent and easily distributed through the grooves of the hide, talc and cornmeal are good options.

 

How to Perfume Your Laundry

Can you put perfume in laundry detergent or the washing machine drum?

Yes but method matters and be mindful that perfume can still disfigure and damage your clothes. If you use a scented detergent it may overpower or disrupt your signature scent.

 

Detergent and hot water can also break down odour molecules, removing the subtleties of the fragrance’s design from the smelling experience.

 

Can you add perfume to clothes in the dryer?

You’ll have more success here than the washing machine. Simply spray a dryer sheet or dryer balls with your signature scent, and add it to the load.

 

The smell won’t last as long as a perfume oil but this is mitigated by the fact that our scents are EDP strength. You also get a pleasant and subtle effect that’s better for social settings and those with sensitive noses or skin.

 

Adding perfume to clothes in the dryer also prevents outdoor drying, which can break down odour molecules due to bright sunlight.

 

Can You Put Perfume in Your Iron or Steamer?

I wouldn’t advise it. Irons and steamers aren’t designed to process perfume oils and carrier fluids.

 

The heat can also cause the different perfume ingredients to fractionate and degrade, causing an uneven and inaccurate smelling effect.

 

These chemicals can react with, clog and leach into the internal machinery, damaging performance. If this occurs, it may be impossible to completely remove the scent from your steamer or iron.

 

Perfume expires, so the smells you want your iron or steamer to exude will degrade over time and make your clothes smell unpleasant.

 

As perfume expires its preservatives system begins to fail. This could introduce bacteria to your iron or steamer- and eventually your clothes and skin.

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