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My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Why do my clothes smell foul after washing and drying them?

By Milton


My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Whenever clothes starts smelling funny, I run a small load of whites with plenty of bleach. My most recent washer even gives instructions to periodically run an empty load (no clothes) using bleach only. (07/20/2010)


By hollip

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Try vinegar in the rinse cycle. (07/22/2010)

By nursehageman

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

There are a lot of suggestions on this site. Here are few to try first.

  • Don't overload the washer and dryer. You may not be getting an effective wash cycle if you are putting too many clothes into the machine.

  • If these are particularly dirty clothes, try washing them as soon as they are soiled. If things sit around in a basket (or tossed in heaps on the floor) for a long time, they only get worse.

  • If these are white things, use hot water and bleach.

  • If these are work clothes with lots of mud or grease, use a detergent booster like 20 Mule Team Borax or baking soda (look on the box, it tells you to use a cup to the wash).

  • If you have particularly hard water, try adding Calgon.

  • Front loading washers seem to have more problems like this than top loading washers. Check out this site for tips on how to clean them. I don't have one, so I can't help with that.

  • You may have to switch brands of detergent. Find out what other people use in your area, who have the same type of water. It may make a difference. Tide works very well almost all over.

  • You may have to use hot water to get rid of the smell initially.

  • Towels tend to get musty smells, as do dish cloths. Do not wash those items with your clothes; do a separate load for these. Towels can stand hot water and I often use bleach on kitchen towels. Bathroom towels are often bright colors and you don't want to bleach them.

  • Ammonia is a good deodorizer, but it will also take the color out of things. Do not use it on garments which have bright colors, but if you are doing jeans and old tee shirts, go ahead.

  • Vinegar, ammonia, bleach, baking soda, these are all good deodorizers. You can try them (I would start with a cup in the wash cycle), but use only one product per load. The combos can be dangerous (bleach with anything) or ineffective (soda and vinegar neutralize each other).

Good luck with your laundry. Oh, and a final word, you should sort, whites, darks, towels, terribly dirty, etc. That helps. (07/27/2010)

By louel53

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Make sure the clothes are fully dry before putting them away. A few times I took my clothes out when my washer's sensor told me to, and they still had a tiny bit of dampness in the seams. I live a a really humid climate, and that dampness gave my clothes a slight smell. I usually fully dry everything with no problems.

Also, are you using your own washer and dryer or those at a laundromat? If you go to a laundromat, they may be absorbing smells from the dryer. I've brought some clothing home with unfamiliar odors the few times I had to use a laundromat. (07/27/2010)

By susanmajp

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

I use a 1/4 cup of baking soda in every load. Another trick, take a washrag and put a few drops of your favorite oil based scent on it and place it in the dryer with your clothes. It's a lot cheaper and lasts longer than regular dryer sheets. (07/29/2010)

By globalgypsy

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