7 Ways to Remove Perfume Smells From Plastic Bottles

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 6 min.

The plastic bottle is a wonderful, albeit not so sustainable, invention. Reusing your plastic bottles can be a great way to reduce your plastic waste, but there’s just one small problem: the smell. 

Yep, no matter how you slice it, putting anything besides water into your plastic bottle is going to leave behind a smell. Whether it be coffee, tea, juice, or, yes, even perfume. 

But is it possible to remove the stink from your plastic bottles? As a matter of fact, it is. 

There are several ways to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle. Soap, boiling water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and even sunshine are all safe, natural, are effective methods for getting rid of the smell. 

Let’s take a closer look at these quick and easy solutions to your perfumed plastic problem. 

1. Soap and Water

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and venture the guess that if you’re reading this article, you’ve already given this one a try. Soap and water are a dynamic duo for a reason, and they’ve got more than enough firepower to take down a stubborn fragrance, especially if you clean regularly. 

To use soap and water to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Run lukewarm to hot water and rinse out the bottle a few times. 
  2. Add soap, and with a sponge or bottle brush, scrub the inside of the bottle, being sure to get into all of those hard to reach nooks and crannies. 
  3. Repeat multiple times until the odor is gone. 
  4. If a good scrub down isn’t enough to get rid of the smell, fill the bottle with soap and water, cover, and let sit for a few hours or overnight. 

2. Boiling Water

Using boiling water to sanitize and deodorize your plastic bottle is another easy and effective method. Boiling water is used to sterilize glass or plastic containers for making jams, preserves, and pickles, after all, so a good soak in boiling water might be just what your bottle needs. 

Depending on the bottle, too hot water can ruin your plastic bottles shape. It might be smart to let the water cool for a few minutes before trying it the first round.

To use boiling water to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Bring enough water to fill your bottle to a rolling boil. 
  2. Fill your bottle up, cover, and let soak for a few hours or overnight. 
  3. Drain the bottle, then wash with hot water and soap to ensure that the lingering smell is gone. 
  4. Repeat as necessary. 

3. Baking Soda

If you’ve got a more fragrant problem on your hands, simple soap and water simply ain’t gonna cut it (with all due respect). In that case, you’ll have to bring out the big guns. And where better to start with the big guns than the conqueror of colognes, the slaughterer of stink, the annihilator of aromas, the exterminator of effluvia, the one, the only: sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda?

This champion of clean can take down any foe, no matter how pungent. Perfume smell in a plastic bottle? Ha. That’s small potatoes for good ol’ NaHCO₃. 

To use baking soda to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with water. 
  2. Fill the bottle with warm water, and add one tablespoon of baking soda. 
  3. Cover, shake gently, then let sit for a few hours or overnight. 
  4. Drain the bottles and rinse with hot, soapy water. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. 

4. White Vinegar

Coming in at number four is yet another flayer of fragrance, the bane-of-all-bouquets, the one, the only: white vinegar. Is there anything this stuff can’t do? Sure, it can’t exorcise your inner demons, but it can keep your house, and your plastic bottles, smelling fresh, clean, and odorless. You won’t have to worry about any lingering vinegar smell here – it’s gone as soon as it evaporates. 

To use vinegar to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle. 

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with water. 
  2. Fill the bottle up with white vinegar (no apple cider or balsamic, please). If you like, you can dilute the vinegar with warm water. 
  3. Let the bottle soak for a few hours, or for best results, overnight. 
  4. Drain, and rinse well with hot, soapy water. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. If there are any residual vinegar smells, soak the bottle again with hot water and soap. 

5. Lemon 

Finally, bringing up the rear, the lesser, but still powerful member of the household cleaning triumvirate: lemon. Like vinegar, lemon is acidic, and its astringent qualities are more than serviceable when it comes to odor obliteration. When you’ve not got vinegar or baking soda on hand, lemon is your next best bet. 

To use lemon to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with water. 
  2. Either fill the bottle with lemon juice and warm water or rub the insides of the bottle with a cut lemon, or both. 
  3. Let soak for a few hours or overnight, for best results. 
  4. Drain and rinse well with hot, soapy water. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. 

6. Charcoal 

Yes, that charcoal. No, we’re not firing up the grill (though if you’d like to do that, that’d be greeeaaat).

If you’re not in the know, charcoal is actually widely-recognized as a natural deodorizer and scent absorbent – perhaps almost as mighty as baking soda in that regard. Best of all, if you use charcoal to absorb odors, there will be no lingering effects, so you’ll be able to reuse it for your next barbecue. 

Just be sure to use natural charcoal for this – none of that mesquite or easy light stuff. Otherwise, you’ll be opening up a whole ‘nother can of worms. 

To use charcoal to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with water. 
  2. Put one or two pieces of charcoal in the bottle and cover. 
  3. Let sit for at least a day or two, or until the odor is not detectable any more. 
  4. Remove the charcoal, then rinse the bottle with hot, soapy water. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. 

7. Sunlight

These days, the cool kids on the block are all about doing things naturally and sustainably. What could be more sustainable than the skin-crispening power of the sun? It’ll be around for another ten billion years at least. And for those of you who might be out of the loop – in addition to lighting our planet, exerting the gravitation required for the Earth to remain in the habitable zone, allowing for photosynthesis, and giving you that bodacious beach tan, the sun is also quite efficacious at exterminating pesky odor molecules with its all-penetrating UV rays. 

To use sunlight to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle: 

  1. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with water. 
  2. Leave the bottle open and uncovered outside in direct sunlight. This will expose the bottle to UV rays and let it air out at the same time. 
  3. Let sit for a few hours, or, if you like, overnight. 
  4. Rinse well with hot, soapy water. 
  5. Repeat the process as necessary. 

The Final Word

Getting the smell out of a plastic bottle can be an arduous task, and it can be even more difficult if you (somehow) throw perfume into the mix. 

But with these safe, natural, easy, and effective methods, you’re certain to get rid of that persistent perfume smell from your bottle. 

There are a number of different natural ways to remove the smell of perfume from a plastic bottle. From reliable soap and water, to household staples like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon, to charcoal, and even sunlight, any one of these methods will give you results.