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Can you spray Febreze on clothes?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can safely spray Febreze fabric refresher on clothes. Febreze is specifically designed to eliminate odors from fabrics and textiles, making it an effective product for freshening up clothes between washes. Simply spray it lightly over clothing, allow it to dry, and the odors will be neutralized.

Does Febreze Work on Clothes?

Febreze is highly effective at removing odors from clothing. It contains odor-eliminating ingredients that work to neutralize and trap odor molecules on fabric. When sprayed on clothes, Febreze goes to work breaking down odor compounds and removing smells.

The key ingredients in Febreze that allow it to combat odors on fabric include:

– Cyclodextrin – A ring-shaped molecule that traps odor molecules. It binds to odor compounds and prevents them from escaping into the air.

– Ethanol – Attracts and absorbs odor molecules.

– Fragrance – Masks remaining odors with a light, fresh scent.

As these ingredients interact on clothing, they trap smelly compounds, dissolve them, and leave behind a clean, refreshed scent. This odor removal technology allows Febreze to be used safely on all types of clothing.

How to Use Febreze on Clothes

Using Febreze on clothes is a quick and easy process:

1. Shake the Febreze bottle well before spraying. This activates the odor-eliminating ingredients.

2. Hang or lay the item to be treated in an open area. Make sure the fabric is exposed and not bunched up.

3. Hold the Febreze bottle 6-8 inches away and mist lightly over the entire surface of the clothing. Focus on armpits, collar, sleeves and any visibly soiled spots.

4. When finished spraying, allow the Febreze to dry completely. This gives the odor eliminators time to work.

5. For heavily soiled clothes, spray Febreze generously over stains and odors spots before washing. This boosts your detergent’s cleaning power.

Tips for Using Febreze on Clothes

– Always read clothing tags and care instructions first. Check that the garment is safe for water-based sprays.

– Apply Febreze lightly. Heavy saturation is not needed for odor removal.

– Target the worst odor areas like underarms and collars. These attract the most body odor.

– Reapply Febreze after clothes are air/line dried if odors persist. Drying can activate new smells.

– For workout wear and athletic clothes, pre-treat heavily with Febreze to eliminate stubborn sweat smells before washing.

– Spot test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area first when using Febreze on brightly colored clothing.

Benefits of Using Febreze on Clothes

Spraying Febreze on clothes between washes offers many advantages:

Odor Removal

– Eliminates strong odors like smoke, sweat, food smells, pet smells

– Removes light scents like garage, musty closet or cooking odors

– Cleans without washing using odor-trapping technology

Fresh Scent

– Leaves a light, pleasant fragrance on fabrics

– Variety of Febreze scents available like Linen & Sky, Spring & Renewal, Meadows & Rain

– Refreshing scent revitalizes clothes and linen


– Quick and easy to use – just spray, allow to dry, and odors are gone

– No special equipment, detergent or laundry needed

– Great for freshening clothes worn for short periods between washes

– Ideal for clothes that require delicate washing like silks, wools, and delicates

Stain and Soil Removal Booster

– Loosens set-in stains and soiled spots when applied before washing

– Febreze penetrates fibers to help lift dirt, oil, and grime from fabric

– Enhances stain removal by detergents and hand washing

– Gets rid of stubborn laundry stains like grease, sweat, and food spots

Is it Safe to Use Febreze on All Fabrics?

Febreze is designed to be safe for use on most washable fabrics. However, it is always best to spot test Febreze in an inconspicuous area before spraying it directly onto clothing.

Here are some guidelines for using Febreze safely:

– Cotton, polyester blends – Safe for most fabrics like t-shirts, jeans, towels, sheets. Spot test pale/bright colors.

– Wool, cashmere – Safe for most. Check tag for “Dry Clean Only” symbol before spraying. Spot test first.

– Silk – Lightly mist only. Ensure garment is marked “Washable Silk” first.

– Rayon, viscose – Spray lightly. Test on small hidden section to check for discoloration.

– Leather, suede – Avoid use on these materials. Febreze can stain and damage delicate leathers.

– Sequins, beading – Avoid heavily spraying over embellishments as it may cause discoloration.

When in doubt, first check the garment’s tag for any warnings against water-based sprays. Then do a spot test by spraying a bit of Febreze in a hidden area like a hem or seam. If no discoloration occurs after drying, the item should be safe to spray.

Fabrics NOT Safe for Febreze

There are a few fabric types that should never be sprayed with Febreze:

– Velvet – The thick nap can become matted and crushed.

– Upholstery – May cause fading, especially on delicate antique fabrics.

– Specialty sequined fabrics – Sequins and beads may corrode and discolor.

– Fur – Can remove natural oils leading to dryness and damage.

– Anything specifically marked “Dry Clean Only” or “Do Not Wet”.

When unsure, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution and not use Febreze if any damage to the garment could occur.

How to Remove Febreze Residue From Clothes

If too much Febreze is applied, it can sometimes leave behind a sticky residue on fabric that attracts dirt and lint. Here are some tips for removing excess Febreze buildup:

– Rinse under running water – For heavy residue, rinse under a steady stream of cool water to dilute and flush away the product.

– Vinegar rinse – In a sink or bucket, mix 1 cup white vinegar per 1 gallon of water. Soak garment for 15 minutes, then rinse clean. The vinegar will dissolve residue.

– Baking soda scrub – Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently scrub residue spots with paste and a toothbrush, then rinse. Baking soda is a natural cleaning powder.

– Re-wash in detergent – Machine or hand wash clothes in regular detergent. Laundry soap helps remove traces of product buildup.

– Steam iron – Set the iron to the appropriate fabric setting and steam over any stiff, sticky spots from excess Febreze residue. The heat and steam helps soften and loosen buildup.

– Hand sanitizer – Alcohol-based sanitizers can dissolve and eliminate sticky spots. Apply a small amount directly onto any residual Febreze marks.

With a few simple cleaning steps, clothes can be freshened up again and restored back to their soft, residue-free condition when too much Febreze has been overapplied.

Does Febreze Damage or Discolor Clothes?

When used properly, Febreze is a safe and effective freshening spray for clothes. However, in some cases it can potentially cause damage:

– May cause fading on brightly colored clothing if over-saturated and not rinsed promptly. The chemicals may interact with dyes, especially vivid reds.

– Can make wool fibers feel dry and crunchy if applied too liberally. Wool contains delicate natural oils that help it feel soft.

– Excessive spraying could lead to a stiff, sticky buildup of product that attracts lint and dirt.

– May cause corrosion and discoloration on metallic threads, sequins or beading if heavily applied.

– The alcohol in Febreze could potentially shrink or warp some fabrics if saturated.

To avoid any risk of damage:

– Check clothing tags and do a spot test first.

– Spray Febreze lightly, don’t oversaturate.

– Read fabric care instructions and avoid fabrics where water-based sprays are not recommended.

– Rinse immediately with water if fabrics become heavily saturated.

– Lay flat to dry, away from direct heat or sunlight.

With proper use, Febreze is designed to safely and effectively eliminate odors on most standard washable fabrics. But as with any cleaning product, take care not to soak clothing excessively.

Does Febreze Shrink Clothes?

In most cases, Febreze does not cause shrinking of clothes when used correctly. Febreze contains a low concentration of isopropyl alcohol as one of its ingredients. At high concentrations, alcohol can cause fabric fibers to tighten and shrink.

However, here are some reasons why Febreze is unlikely to shrink your clothes:

– The alcohol content in Febreze is very low, around 1-3%. This is far below levels needed to impact fabric size.

– Fabrics only shrink when substantially wetted and agitated. Lightly spraying Febreze as directed will not soak fabric enough to cause shrinking.

– Natural fibers like wool and cotton that shrink when washed require much more moisture than a light spray application.

– Synthetic fabrics like polyester do not readily shrink when exposed to water.

While Febreze is unlikely to shrink clothes, here are some precautions to take:

– Spot test first on an inconspicuous area.

– Check clothing tags – avoid using on clothes marked “Dry Clean Only”.

– Spray fabrics lightly, avoid heavy saturation.

– Lay flat to dry, away from direct heat or sunlight.

– If concerned about shrinking, allow clothes to air dry fully before wearing or washing.

With proper use, the minimal alcohol content in Febreze and light application method make shrinking extremely rare. However, always exercise caution with heirloom fabrics or delicate antiques.

How Often Can You Use Febreze on Clothes?

Febreze can be safely used on most washable fabrics as often as needed to keep clothes fresh between wears. However, it’s best not to overuse Febreze for a few reasons:

– Overuse can leave behind a sticky, greasy residue that attracts dirt.

– The perfumes in Febreze could become overwhelming if applied too frequently.

– While rare, excessive use increases the risk of discoloration or damage.

Here are some guidelines for optimal Febreze usage on clothes:

Clothing Item Recommended Frequency
Jeans 1-2 times between washes
T-shirts 1-3 times between washes
Sweaters Every 2-3 wears
Activewear After each wear
Sheets Weekly
Towels 2-3 times per week

– Gym clothes, activewear, and laundry prone to heavy soiling will need Febreze more frequently than items like sweaters or jeans.

– Rotating Febreze scents helps prevent overwhelming scent buildup.

– Periodically wash clothing after 1-2 Febreze applications to prevent residue.

Febreze is safe for frequent use. But alternating between washing and lightly freshening items is better than relying solely on sprays between washes.

Signs You Are Overusing Febreze

– Clothes feel stiff, crunchy, or tacky

– Visible sticky residue on fabric

– Febreze scent has become overpowering

– Fabric has grease marks or attracts more lint

– Colors seem dull or clothing feels increasingly dirty

– You are spraying it more than 3 times between washes

Pay attention to these signs and cut back on Febreze usage if clothes appear dirtier or over-scented. Moderation is key for keeping fabrics fresh and residue-free.

Does Febreze Work on Smoke Smell?

Febreze is extremely effective at removing cigarette, cigar, and smoke odors from fabrics. The key reasons it works so well are:

– Odor trap technology – The cyclodextrin in Febreze encapsulates and traps smoke particles so they can’t escape into the air.

– Alcohol solubility – Smoke residue dissolves easily in the alcohol solvent base of Febreze.

– Fresh scent – Febreze perfume overpowers and masks any lasting traces of smoke smell.

For best results removing smoke smell:

– Ventilate fabric first – Air out clothing fully before spraying if possible. This allows smoke to dissipate.

– Pre-treat heavily soiled areas – Saturate smelly spots generously before washing.

– Use Febreze Smoke Odor Eliminator – This extra-strength formula is designed specifically for heavy smoke smells.

– Reapply after drying – Smoke odors can reactivate when heated. Mist again after drying if needed.

The odor eliminating technology in Febreze makes it far more effective than just trying to mask smoke odors with perfume alone. Its active ingredients trap, dissolve, and neutralize smoke particles for fresher, cleaner clothes.

Other Tough Odors Removed by Febreze

In addition to smoke smells, Febreze can tackle an array of challenging laundry odors:

– Pet smells like wet dog or cat urine

– Mold and mildew

– Musty closet or basement smells

– Cooking food odors like garlic, onion, fish

– Work smells like gasoline, grease, paint

– Body odors such as sweat, bacteria

Febreze’s odor removal capacity makes it the go-to for eliminating embedded smells that regular laundry can’t conquer alone.

Does Febreze Kill Germs or Bacteria?

Febreze is not designed to kill germs or bacteria on fabric. While it contains a small amount of alcohol, the concentration is not high enough to disinfect clothing. Febreze relies instead on chemical compounds that target odors:

– Cyclodextrin – Traps and encapsulates odor molecules but does not kill microbes.

– Ethanol – Attracts and dissolves odor compounds but too low in concentration to disinfect.

– Fragrance – Masks odors with pleasant perfumes but does not have antimicrobial action.

– Water – The water base allows Febreze to spread evenly to penetrate fabrics. But water alone does not sanitize.

Some key reasons Febreze does not effectively kill germs:

– Bacteria require a 70% alcohol concentration to be disinfected. Febreze only contains 1-3%.

– Viruses and mold spores also require high alcohol levels for true disinfection.

– Febreze does not remain on surfaces long enough to penetrate cell walls and destroy bacteria.

– No EPA-registered antibacterial agents are listed in the ingredients.

While Febreze helps fabrics smell cleaner, it is not a substitute for true disinfectants like chlorine bleach or other EPA-approved antibacterial products. To kill germs and sanitize laundry, washing clothes in hot water with detergent remains the most effective approach.


Febreze fabric spray is specially designed to banish odors from clothing and textiles. When used properly, following garment care instructions, it can safely refresh most washable fabrics between washes. Its active ingredients trap and eliminate smelly compounds without the need for washing. While not a disinfectant or cleaner itself, Febreze rid clothes of smoke, pet, food and other challenging smells that detergent alone often can’t conquer. Just be sure to spot test first, spray lightly, and allow clothes to fully dry to prevent any damage or shrinking. Used in moderation, Febreze can keep wardrobes and linens fresher longer.