Stinky Towels

I don't have a problem with my washer making my towels and dishrags smell. It is the men in my house. If you use a towel, it is wet or damp and then leave it in a lump on the floor or bed, it will start smelling. My bathroom smells after my son uses his already smelly towel. It is disgusting. I am ready to bleach the stinky ones even if it ruins the color.


Lisa from St. Pete Beach, FL


Stinky Towels

What a big string of feedback on this one! I have to put in my feedback. Wash smaller loads, use bleach (even on colored towels) it kills bacteria, use hot water and DON'T leave them in the washer overnight. When I bleach colored towels, I simply fill my washer first and start adding the towels after it has agitated a little to mix the water up. Hot water and bleach kill bacteria. A bath towel is one of those areas begging for begging for bacteria to grow! My aunt always washed her towels in Lysol liquid. Good idea also, but only if you can stand the smell of Lysol.
Cheryl (01/31/2007)

By Cheryl

Stinky Towels

Many very good answers. I was gonna say try my method: SCREAMING AT THE MEN TO HANG THEM UP. LOL once a towel is dry then put it in the laundry. then they wash just fine for me. i wasn't gonna bother posting but the original complaint was the men weren't hanging them to dry. maybe put some big hooks up and then a good regular yelling till they're used! (01/31/2007)


By Lily 59

Stinky Towels

You might try "20 Mule Team Borax "you can get it in the laundry aisle. It is in a box. My mother used to use it. I always purchase white towels and linens, It helps keep my life simple. I can bleach them all I want. Biz bleach works wonderful on the whites keeping them fresh smelling and white. (01/31/2007)

By Linda

Stinky Towels and sponges

Isn't Google great? I typed in stinky towels, and here I am. My towels were stinky, from thin kitchen towels to fluffy bath towels - even new ones. I've always hung them up after using and put them in the dryer immediately after washing and they still smelled bad. I now have towels that not only don't stink - they smell great! What worked for me was setting the washer to prewash/soak and putting two cups of vinegar into the water (no detergent). After the prewash cycle was complete, I washed them in detergent and one cup baking soda. Now they smell wonderful. I think that prewashing with the vinegar by itself if the key because using it in the regular wash cycle with detergent didn't help. Vinegar is cheap and safe for colors. If they get bad again, I'll do another vinegar prewash.


Also, have a cure for stinky sponges. Since the dishwasher is right next to the sink, I started keeping my sponges in the dishwasher to eliminate clutter. Then I noticed how good they smell. Plus, they are so clean that I keep my glass table sparkling with just a couple swipes without using soap or windex. (02/01/2007)

By Susan

Stinky Towels

The answer is simple: hang out the towel to air. Best to remove it from the moist bathroom. Or, since the men won't hang out to air, you'll have to wash more often. Try hanging out to dry first. Then, using Cold water, even without bleach, should suffice. Use plenty of water, though. Maybe you aren't using enough water in your washer (or maybe you are loading the washer too heavily for the water level). (02/02/2007)

By Mary

Stinky Towels

We HAD this same problem but now it is fixed. You don't need to call the repair man, it's just a waste of time, money and endless frustration. Tools: 9/32 socket or T-20 torx head bit.
Bunch of rags you don't want when you're all finished.


Lay on the floor in front of the washer and look under the lower panel. You will see three silver colored torx head screws, one on the left, right and center. Loosen these up with your socket or torx head wrench. Remove the lower front cover and set it aside.
See all the wires? Did you make sure to UN-PLUG the washer? Good.

Now look at the center of the bottom of the washer. You will notice a white cylindrical contraption. This is a drain trap where all of the junk from your washer gets hung up so it won't clog up the water pump that discharges the water from your washer. On the front of this drain trap is an access cap. BEFORE you open this place the rags under the trap, along the sides and under the washer. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Now open the drain trap access cap by turning it counter clockwise. Be prepared for some smelly water to come out, probably 1-2 cups worth. Once the water is drained, pull the trap completely out. You'll find the reason your washer stinks in the trap. We had a blob of black goo and a security label from an article of clothing we bought. That was the culprit. The drain trap was "trapping" all of this junk and getting real funky.

Now clean the drain trap out with hot soapy water and a little bleach. Clean out the cylinder where the drain was. Wipe it out with a rag soaked in bleach and soap. Once everything is clean, replace the drain trap and tighten it down. Do not over tighten this or the seal may leak.

Replace the front cover and the three torx head screws.
Plug the washer back in.
Run the washer through the SANITARY CYCLE with bleach.
Your problem is solved (02/27/2007)

By BigChiefM1

Stinky Towels

There are 2 products that will not change the color of anything but hair, and do not need to be rinsed. I buy food/technical grade hydrogen peroxide and dilute down to 3% in a gallon jug. Then get an 8oz spray bottle, put a capfull of "No rinse Body Bath", (get mine at pharmacy order at WalMart for $5.70 a 16oz bottle) and fill spray bottle up with the new 3% H2O2. Keep the 35% H2O2 in the freezer, and the gallon in frig.

Now spray away anywhere you need to rid of odors. I add to the wash water a 1/3 cup of the 35%, even in cold water too, with usual laundry detergent. Whites will never look better. Colored ones don't fade. (03/01/2007)

By Zuni

Stinky Towels

I'm so glad I found this forum because the smell of not only the towels but other clothes too is disgusting. I'm going to try some of the suggestions and hope that something works because I can't stand the smell any longer. I have thrown out several laundry pieces due to the smell, I won't even use them in the rag bin. I have a Whirlpool Duet and wish I had never bought it! (03/22/2007)

By Yvonne

Stinky Towels

I do not have a front loader, but in the past year I've noticed this continual musty smell. And looking back, I realize I changed from Tide w/bleach powder to Tide w/bleach liquid. I've recently began using Tide w/Downy and noticed the smell is worse. I didn't see anything mentioned on this thread regarding liquid detergent vs powder. But either way, I'm going back to powder for my towels at least. I'm trying the bleach soak now. Will try the vinegar if that doesn't work. But somehow I think it had to do with changing to liquid detergent. Anyone else notice a difference? (04/16/2007)

By Nikki

Stinky Towels

I KNOW WHAT CAUSES IT AND I HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET RID OF THE SMELL! 1.) Soap build up is causing the smell 2.) Use at least a cup of vineger in 1st load, then wash with HE detergent, then do it three more time WITHOUT SOAP, just plain water. IF, you don't notice anymore suds during the rinse cycle, you are safe to put in the dryer. 3.) NEVER use any detergent which is not HE, HE is specially formulated to rinse easier. 4) I'm only going to use half of the regular amount of detergent when I wash towels and I am going to use the extra rinse cycle too. 5.) After every 10 loads of laundry or a big day of doing laundry, run a cycle with clorox to make sure the lines don't get a gunky build up and clog up your washer. Good luck guys! (04/26/2007)

By Ranessa

Stinky Towels

I didn't have any vinegar on hand, and figured that the towels were so disgusting that I didn't care if the bleach ruined them. I ran 2 loads of dark towels on the "whitest whites" setting with a scant 1/4 cup bleach and a second rinse. They smell great and are in no way discolored!! Thanks to all for the suggestion. (04/27/2007)

By Stacey


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Cleaning Stinky Towels
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Remedies for Stinky Feet
Stack of Colored Towels
Saving Money on Towels
Stack of colorful towels.
Making Bath Towels More Absorbent
Halloween Ideas!
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