How To Deal With Smelly Restaurant Uniforms

smelly restaurant uniforms

Keeping uniforms neat and clean-smelling is easier said than done. That’s especially true for restaurant uniforms.

(Skip to 7 Deep-Cleaning Methods for Restaurant Uniforms


While your food smells great on the plate, the processes and substances needed to make it do not. Your hard work has an unintended consequence: smelly restaurant uniforms. Luckily, the restaurant laundry professionals at Coast Linen Services know what it takes to beat restaurant uniform odors. 

Ways To Get Rid of Smelly Restaurant Uniform Odors

There are two things to blame for smelly restaurant uniforms getting smelly: fumes and grease. Grease is especially hard to remove because it contains proteins that actually attach themselves to garment fibers. These connections are very difficult to break. 

Fret not! We have tips you can use at home to help you get the lingering odors out of your restaurant uniforms:

1. Add Borax Powder to Your Laundry Detergent 

Otherwise known as sodium tetraborate, Borax’s alkalinity makes it strong enough to break down most smell-inducing enzymes. This includes the ones that come from kitchen grease. Additionally, it can also break down stains, effectively and brighten white garments. General measurements are one tablespoon of Borax to one gallon of water.

2. Add Liquid Ammonia to Your Wash Water 

Liquid ammonia is another popular choice for deodorizing restaurant uniforms. While it does work as a laundry additive, do not combine ammonia with bleach. The end result can be dangerous to both you and your clothing. 

3. Use White Vinegar and Baking Soda as a Pre-soak 

Compared to Borax and liquid ammonia, baking soda and vinegar are the easiest to procure and least intimidating to use as well. These are also the safest to have around the house. Vinegar helps break down grease proteins that cling onto the fabric fibers, while baking soda is a great cleaning agent. Dilute both with water and soak uniforms for about a half-hour before running through a regular wash cycle.

4. Heavy-duty Detergent Like Oxygenated Powder

Oxygenated detergent powders are all the rage with whitening clothes. However, this special laundry agent is also strong enough to sop up the nasty smells of the restaurant kitchen.

5. Spray with Vodka and Let Dry Overnight 

Your vodka is more than just a happy hour staple, as it is an ideal solution for your smelly restaurant uniforms. But how does this work on odors? When the vodka is applied to smelly garments, the alcohol binds to molecules that make the garment smelly. Now bound and trapped together, the stench particles inevitably evaporate together. As a result, you’re left with a neutral-smelling restaurant uniform.

6. Leave Out to Dry in the Sun Whenever Possible 

The UV rays in the sun can help neutralize the odor-causing bacteria on garments. Whenever weather permits, hang your freshly-washed restaurant uniforms in the sun to completely dry. Be careful not to leave them out too much exposure can bleach fabrics. 

7. Wash Immediately After Every Use 

Prompt measures are your most unbeatable solution for those nasty kitchen odors on your uniform. Toss them in the wash immediately after use. That way, fumes and grease splatters don’t get the time to actually cling onto the garment.

The Better, More Convenient Cleaning Solution for Your Restaurant Uniforms

As effective as these laundry tips may be for home or small operations, a business will find difficulty using them. There is only so much time in the day and energy left after every shift to do thorough laundry. Only so can be done on days off, and washing grease off uniforms is a terrible way to spend them.

Leave uniform care to the pros: get your restaurant enrolled in the Coast Linen restaurant laundry service! Contact us today at (732) 775-2000 to get a free quote or information about our restaurant laundry services! 

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