How to Get Food Smells Out of Chef's Uniforms

Tom Ross

Get food smells out of chef uniforms or other clothing by attacking the problem on multiple fronts. While fabric does absorb odors, the problem is also a result of food stains that are not completely removed from chef coats when laundered. Pre-treatment of food stains is the first step in getting the food smell out of machine-washable chef coats. Then launder properly and use common household chemicals to remove absorbed odors.

  1. Scrape gently with a butter knife--when the stain occurs--to remove the food material, and then blot the area with a clean paper towel. Rubbing the stain will make the problem worse. Launder stained chef coats quickly since stains are more difficult to remove after they have set for more than 24 hours.

  2. Inspect chef coats before laundering, and pre-treat greasy food stains by working on them from the back side of the fabric to avoid pressing it more into the cloth. Use a waterless hand cleaner product, available at grocery stores, and sponge actively at the stain while working from the outside toward the center.

  3. Remove greasy food stains by washing, according to garment directions, in warm water with a non-scented enzyme laundry detergent designed for greasy stains.

  4. Repeat the wash--if stains persist--by allowing the washer to complete the spin cycle and then running the chef coat through the washer again with clear water and six caps of ammonia.

  5. Eliminate food odors by drying the chef coat on the clothesline in bright sunlight for several hours to work on getting food smells out of fabric. Do not dry clothing in dryer if stains are still present, as high temperatures set stains.

  6. Eradicate stubborn food odors by generously sprinkling chef coats with calcium carbonate crystals or activated charcoal, which are available at health food stores, or baking soda. Let the chef coats remain in an open container for up to four hours, and then shake out or launder.