Best Laundry Scent Boosters for Odor

When I first wrote my article on how to get the sweat smell out of laundry, laundry scent boosters simply did not exist. Sure, you could buy things like OxyFresh to boost cleaning properties.

Also, there was always Febreze spray to keep in the laundry room. I’ll admit that I would spray it on smelly armpits that did not seem to come clean after washing.

However, it wasn’t until I visited my younger daughter at her apartment that I discovered the magic that is laundry beads made to make your clothes smell good.

At first I thought they were a waste of money. Then I tried them. Thus this article on what I think are the best laundry scent boosters for smelly clothing.

Note: My purpose in writing this article is to compare and contrast the scent boosters I’ve tried. I’m also including links to shopping sites. That way, if you like what you read and want to shop, you can do that with just one link or tap.

Also, if you click or tap any of those links, I may earn a commission from the retailer. There is no cost to you for using my links. But I need to be upfront about all of that.

Best laundry scent boosters for odor

I’ve gotten so many questions about how to get the sweat smell out of clothes, including bo aka body odor. With the advent of laundry scent boosters, I figured I should probably try these beads out in my washing machine and see if they can help with odors.

I mean, they are marketed as scent boosters. However, I wondered how they would do at reducing odors. So, I did a wash test.

Which brands of laundry booster did I try in the washer

I went out and bought five different brands of laundry boosters. These are from my local grocery store.

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However, you can find them at Target, Walmart and on Amazon.

What were the brands?

  1. Purex Crystals In-Wash Fragrance
  2. Downy Unstopables
  3. Arm and Hammer Clean Scentsations
  4. Gain Fireworks In Wash Scent Booster Beads
  5. Hannaford In Wash Scent Booster

Side note: these suckers are expensive! Only the Arm and Hammer in-wash scent booster cost under $8 when I bought it. Every other brand was over $10.

FYI, the Arm and Hammer laundry booster is cheapest at Walmart.

How I tested these laundry boosters

I did multiple loads of laundry using a different kind of scent booster bead each time. Every load also included basic Arm and Hammer detergent.

All of the clothes were washed after I’d sweated in them. Trust me–you didn’t want to sniff the armpits of my shirts before I washed them.

Normally, when I have underarm odor in my clothes and I want to get the armpit smell out of my shirts, I’ll presoak them. I didn’t do that before using these scent booster beads.

Also, I did not try them at different water temperatures because I wash all of my laundry in cold water. That’s a personal preference but also a way to save money by not using hot water.

Plus, I wash workout gear in the gentle cycle. So, I didn’t test these out with different load types, because I was happy with the results on my everyday odor by washing my stuff like I normally do.

In addition, I found that adding the scent beads to the washer before adding clothes was the best. You pour the amount of beads you want out into the cap and then dump them in.

When I added them after the fact, I found little bits of residue on my clothes at the end of the washing cycle. This could be because of the cold water or the gentle cycle, I’m not sure.

If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you do not put the scent beads in the little drawer with your laundry detergent. You’re supposed to put them directly in the washer drum.

Finally, some of these brand manufacturers suggest you use additional products in their laundry lines to help make the long-lasting scent and the long-lasting freshness, well, last. This includes their dryer sheets. I did not do that.

Which laundry scent booster was the best

There was a hands down winner. And it was the Arm and Hammer Clean Scentsations laundry booster.

After using the Arm and Hammer product, none of my shirts smelled where they previously had body odor. In fact, they came out so not smelling of anything that it kind of reminded me of the clean smell of using bleach in the laundry.

Except I hadn’t used bleach. Also, the Arm and Hammer laundry booster does not include bleach.

There was also a runner up–the Downy Unstopables. Of the four sweaty shirts I washed with this Downy laundry additive, three came out without a hint of underarm odor. The fourth shirt? I had to wash it again. However, in the end, it came out with a nice, light clean scent.

It’s not that the rest of the candidates didn’t work. This is all about preferences. And for me, it’s just that their scent was so overpowering that I was just turned off.

For some reason the smell of Gain makes me sick to my stomach. The scent booster smelled too much like the laundry detergent, which I refuse to use.

So, if you like laundry with heavy perfumes, then by all means try these laundry boosters that I didn’t like However, if you’re looking for scent beads to reduce odor on your clothes, I would recommend Arm and Hammer Clean Scentsations.

Laundry scent beads odors of different brands

Now that I’ve told you my favorite of the five I tried, I thought I would add some additional commentary on the different scents I tried as well as different fragrances from three of these brands.

Purex Crystals

You may be a fan of Purex laundry detergent for their Odor Stop properties. While Purex Crystals don’t have Odor Stop on their labels, the company says that they’re designed for the same purpose–get the odor out of fabrics.

Right now, there are seven Purex Crystals fragrances. They are:

  • Fresh Spring Waters
  • Cherry Blossom and Ginger
  • Lavender Blossom
  • Aromatherapy Tahitian Breeze
  • Fresh Mountain Breeze
  • Fabulously Fresh
  • Fresh Vibes

Honestly, anything that uses the word “fresh” to describe its fragrance is what I’m more likely to reach for when buying laundry beads. In this review I tested the Fresh Spring Waters and really liked them. However, I really like anything lavender — I keep a bar of lavender soap on my nightstand to help me sleep — so if I was going to buy Purex Crystals in the future, I would probably go for the lavender scent.

Downy Unstopables

Is it just me or do you want to spell Unstopables with two Ps? Unstoppables? That looks right, right?

Anyway, when it comes to the best Downy scent, the brand has a number of different scent boosters, not all of them called Unstopables. For instance, Downy also offers these in-laundry scent boosters:

  • Downy Light laundry additive
  • Downy Infusions
  • Downy In-Wash Scent Booster Beads
  • Downy Fresh Protect

I had to go to the Downy Procter and Gamble website to figure out the differences between these products. Here’s what I learned.

True, Downy Infusions come as beads that you add to the wash. However, primarily they are designed to be used as a fabric softener.

Downy Fresh Protect are designed as odor neutralizers. At least that’s how P&G describes them. My take is that they’re like Febreze scent beads.

After that, it was impossible to tell the difference between the remaining two scent bead products — Downy In-Wash Scent Booster Beads and Downy Light laundry additive.

Best Downy Unstopables scents

As far as the best scent, I tried the Downy Unstopables “blue” fresh scent. However, here are others you may want to try. The scents are:

  • Lush (lavender & vanilla)
  • Old Spice
  • Shimmer (floral scent)
  • Spring (floral and citrus)
  • Tide (yes, like the detergent)

Arm and Hammer Clean Scentsations

From what I can tell, there are a limited number of scents available for these Arm and Hammer laundry scent beads. They are:

  • Fresh Burst
  • Purifying Waters
  • Tropical Paradise

As far as the best or my favorite, I really like the Fresh Burst smell. However, the Purifying Waters is also a lovely, fresh scent. Both do a great job of removing body odor from laundry.

What about the Tropical Paradise scent booster? I find the scent overpowering, almost like perfume, and I don’t like that. Maybe you will but I don’t.

Laundry scent boosters hacks

While researching this article, I came across a number of hacks for these laundry scent boosters that have nothing to do with washing clothes. Here are two I’ve tried around my house.

Scent booster beads in the vacuum

We have a Shark, bagless vacuum cleaner. Also, we have two dogs.

Despite how many times we empty the canister in the trash, the vacuum seems to blow “dog smell” around whenever we use it. Enter scent booster beads.

Now, every time I empty the vacuum canister, I’ll add about a tablespoon of scent booster beads. And, voila, vacuum no longer stinks, but it does suck (see what I did there?).

Car air freshener

I’ve always found the scent of Febreze car vent clip-ons in the car too strong. They tend to trigger my asthma.

However, I recently learned that you can put scent booster beads in satchet bags and stash them under your seat. Suddenly, your car smells fresh and new without it being too overwhelming.

However, primarily they are designed to be used as a fabric softener.

Downy Fresh Protect are designed as odor neutralizers. At least that’s how P&G describes them. My take is that they’re like Febreze scent beads.

After that, it was impossible to tell the difference between the remaining two scent bead products — Downy In-Wash Scent Booster Beads and Downy Light laundry scent booster beads.

Final thoughts on the best laundry scent boosters

Did I miss any brands of laundry scent boosters that you like? If so, let me know.

Also, I’ll continue to look for different brands to try, as well as ways to save money on these odor eliminator additives. Finally, I’ll try pairing this with my DIY laundry detergent and let you know how things turn out.

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  1. My question is, how much scent booster were you using? I follow the instructions, but my clothes can still smell funky.