What To Do When Your Clean Laundry Smells Bad

You usually love the way fresh laundry smells, but if clothes are coming out of your washer and dryer with a less-than-spring-fresh scent, there’s a problem. The good news is that the fix is likely as simple as giving your washing machine a good cleaning.

Regularly cleaning your machine’s gaskets and dispensers, using its self-cleaning cycle and giving it a chance to air dry can prevent a musty, moldy stench from developing in the washer and transferring to your laundry.

If an unpleasant odor remains on your fresh clothes and linens even after you have cleaned your washer, you can remove them with a few simple steps.

Sour Smell

The most common causes for sour-smelling clothes are leaving them in the washer too long before putting them in the dryer or overloading the machine. Rewash them in smaller loads with a cup of sudsy ammonia. Use the hottest setting that’s safe for the fabrics you’re washing.

sudsy ammonia photo
Flickr | romana klee

Musty Smell

If you stash clothes away for the season, they can come out smelling stale and musty. Simply adding a cup each of Borax and white vinegar to your load of laundry can get rid of that old, unpleasant smell. You can even put the vinegar in the machine’s fabric softener dispenser.


Smoky Smell

Clothing and linens affected by smoke from a fire or cigarettes can certainly smell offensive. Begin to remove the smoke odor by stashing the items in a large bag with some baking soda and scented fabric softener sheets for several days. Follow up by washing them with detergent and a cup of white vinegar.

smoking cigarette photo
Flickr | Julie Bocchino

Smelly Towels

After using, washing and drying them repeatedly, bath towels can become less absorbent and take on a disagreeable odor. This is typically due to fabric softener buildup. Freshen the towels by washing in very hot water (you may even want to add some boiling water to the load) and a cup of vinegar. Wash the load a second time, using only hot water and 1/2 cup of baking soda.

baking soda vinegar photo
Flickr | trenttsd

[h/t: Tip Hero]