How do I clean my washer and dryer, my clothes stink after being washed? The smell is kind of musty. I take them out immediately. I've tried wiping both out with bleach water and I've tried running just bleach and soap through without clothes. Please help, we stink.
April from Mason, MI
I live in the humid south (Alabama) and I have this problem also. What I do is one a week run Pine-Sol through it. It seems to work for mine. (08/19/2006)
Try cleaning out the fabric softener dispenser. Mine pulls off the agitator. I used a paint stick to clean it out and I must have had a half cup of gunk. Smells better. (08/19/2006)
Vinegar. Works like fabric softener. (08/19/2006)
Thank you so much everyone who gave me advice. I used 1/2 cup borax with 1/2 the normal amount of detergent. Then I used white vinegar in place of fabric softener. A little less than recommended, I was scared my clothes would smell like vinegar. They smell just fine now. Thanks again. (08/22/2006)
I add ammonia along with the detergent. It is a degreaser and deodorizer so it breaks down oils and removes any odors. 1/4 cup would be enough for everyday laundry, and I have used one cup for very greasy work clothes. It leaves the clothes clean and fresh.
<lp>Dishwasher detergent instead of laundry detergent can be used on clothes worn working in restaurants. It breaks down oils as well. (08/26/2006)
I think I have finally found the answer to my bad smelling towels. Tide HE. I have several homes and I am know experience bad smelling towels in all the houses. The only thing in common is I have changed to HE from regular Tide and am going to switch back to regular tide. (08/24/2007)
Please check out "washing machine smell" listing on Thrify Fun. The stinky clothes are cause by mold and fungus that is not accessible to remove by hand (see postings that go into this in detail, and explanations of what may cause this). I've tried bleach with no luck, and regularly use vinegar. I've been reading about a product called Purewash smellywasher.com that I have not tried, but am going to order. Several people on the link above say it has solved the smelly washer/clothes problem. Worth a try seeing as a new washer is much more expensive. (08/29/2007)
Use powdered soap, the animal fat in liquid detergents turns rancid. Use less that 1/3 of a cup of soap (use a kitchen measuring cup).
By help from an appliance store
We moved to Germany, where almost all washing machines are front loaders like the Neptune. Yes, there is always some water in the bottom. I do a 90 degree Celsius (almost boiling) was every once in a while to kill any bacteria/fungus, etc. We had a problem with only certain items, like workout and yard work clothes. I washed them, long cycle, with detergent and 1/4 c. baking soda, and a vinegar rinse cycle. (one extra rinse, too). That really helped. Borax is OK, but can fade clothes and seems to be tough on the fabric fibers. Good luck. Oh, and always leave the washing machine door open when not using it. (09/08/2007)
Our clothes seem to have a slight chemical smell and sometimes a doggy smell (we don't have a dog.) We have a Kenmore Elite, which is a Neptune-like washer and dryer. I have tried different things like leaving the door opened when not in use, adding vinegar to the wash, baking soda, bleach, hotter water, Simple Green, Lysol, extra rinse cycle, etc. (they all help a little, although I think Simple Green makes them smell the best.)
Last week, when I was taking the washed clothes to the dryer I noticed a sock hanging out of the rubber gasket between the drum and the door. I turned down the gasket and found about six old, moldy socks that had gotten stuck behind the gasket for who knows how long. They had a terrible musty chemical smell to them. So, my suggestion is check out that big rubber gasket at the door and be prepared for some surprises.
I am not sure this totally solved the problem. These front loading washers make the clothes fibers and colors look better, I agree, but this smell thing has really got me puzzled. I will take the advice of some others now and stop using the Tide HE and maybe try reconstituted dry powder detergent. I am not giving up. (09/08/2007)
X-O Odor Neutralizer really does work to honestly take any odor out of fabrics. Hunters even use it for an odor mask, so you know it's good if animals can't even detect a human smell. Use XO in your wash cycle or immerse the clothes in a diluted gallon and soak before washing. Instead of using dryer sheets you can soak a towel in some XO and throw that in. This really works for those problem clothes that come out clean from the wash initially, but then once again acquire that same smell when you wear them. You can find it at Xospray.com online as well as that QVC site. Good luck. (12/01/2007)
I think I know what causes the bad smell in clothes. A couple of weeks ago we noticed that our clothes from the dryer had a chemical smell to them. Again yesterday we had that same smell. On doing some research this is what I found out.
Yesterday we had a painter in the house using oil base paint. Needless to say the odor was very strong. Now when you use your dryer it sucks air from the inside of the house and blows it outside. If you have strong fumes (paint, dog, cooking etc.) in your home these would be pulled into your dryer and through your clothes.
The painter was here a couple weeks ago when we had the problem with the bad smelling clothes the first time. I am no rocket scientist, but I think what would solve some of the problems is that you don't do laundry when your house smells bad. (01/14/2008)
I have been using dry soap with darks and I have not had the bad smell lately. Even cheap powder soap seems to work. I tried this because of the feedback about liquid soap having animal fat in it. My whites don't smell bad because I use bleach with them. So I just use liquid still with whites. Try powder, it may be as simple as that. Also, I am hooked on using white vinegar as a fabric softener. Not sure if it is helping, but it is an odor eliminator, so it makes sense. (01/15/2008)
I tried all the usual solutions and kept hunting, until I found that the washer was not putting enough water in the tub. It was only putting about 2 gallons in when it should be about 5 for a normal wash. I have a Whirlpool Duel front load. I found this web page very helpful. It shows how to adjust the water level.
To remove musty smell use a detergent with color safe bleach. It works every time. (11/06/2008)
I just solved the very same problem. My solution was in the center of my washer's agitator. It had a cavity for fabric softener. It was not draining and loaded up with crud and disgusting water. I pulled out my user's manual (yes, it's always a good idea to hold onto those things) and on the last page it told me how to pull the top of the agitator off and clean it. Yuck, it's filthy. Currently soaking in vinegar and hot, hot water. Check the manual of your washer, something must be clogged up. You can usually access the manual online if you no longer have it. (01/31/2010)
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