Why Don't My Clothes Smell Good?

This is a guide about why don't my clothes smell good?. Determine whether it's your washer, detergent or your water that is responsible for a foul smell in your washed clothes.
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October 1, 2010 Flag
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How can I get my laundry to smell good?

By Josie from Washington, MI

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October 1, 20100 found this helpful
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Hang them outside to dry and they will smell like fresh air and sunshine, or else use fabric softener sheets in the dryer.

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October 2, 20100 found this helpful
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You might try adding baking soda or laundry booster to your wash.

I use this on my son's athletic items, yuck!

You could also try soaking your smellier things in a bucket with white vinegar and water before washing them. Good luck.

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February 9, 20110 found this helpful
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I always use Febreze SPORT on my work and workout clothes! Works GREAT for me!

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October 1, 20100 found this helpful

I have been using biokleen; no chemcials; use only a tiny amount each load as no fillers; they smell wonderful!

Might also get a bottle or make your own "fabric softener"; put tablespoon or so of your favorite one and put it on a rag; toss in with your clothes and it will freshen it all up; bottle should last you a full year! Also, might check if your water has an odor to it; this happened in a town in idaho; where the water had a funky "rotten egg" smell to it however the town insisted that the water was good to drink. Even bathing, or washing dishes the horrid odor was there! Drinking water and brushing teeth water came from a bottled water distributor, however, I did not pay to have water delivered to be used in laundering! I finally just moved away! A "reverse osmosis" that cost thousands of dollars could have been done, from what we were told!

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October 1, 20100 found this helpful

Sure glad someone started this thread. I too have the smellys when I pull my drawer open to go for my night t-shirts.

Puff. It hits me in the face and I pull away. This started when we lived in Nevada, and now here, CA. Different washer/dryers. Being a true fan of Cheer, I tried different detergents. I even went off Downy and tried other softeners.

While putting the clothes away, they smell great.

But then try opening the drawers. Yes, I took the entire dresser apart and washed it down inside and out. I do that each 6 months to almost a year. I never over stuff the washer/dryer. Just two of us, and I wash every 3 days. Clothes with clothes, linen with linen, white towels separate from colored towels I'm going for the dry detergent and vinegar rinse.

Sounds logical.

Thank you so much.

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October 2, 20100 found this helpful

If it smells good coming out of the dryer, or off the line, you can store bars of soap in your drawers, unwrapped, and this will faintly scent your clothing. When someone gives me lovely scented soaps from the body shop, I unwrap them and tuck them into my drawers. This gives them a nice smell. I also use scented candles this way. I am just brainstorming a few ideas.

Are you using warm water for your loads, and hot water for stuff like dishtowels? Cold water is not as good, althought sometimes it is satisfactory. Are you using enough detergent? Measure and use the recommended amount for awhile. See if that helps. Too much is as bad as not enough. Do you separate out and sort your laundry? How dirty are the things before you wash them? Do you remove clothing from the washer and hang it up or dry it promptly? If it sits, it can develop sour smells.

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November 24, 20100 found this helpful

I never used Tide. I purchased Tide because it was on sale for a cheaper price. The first time I used the clothes smelled musty. The more I used it the worse the clothes smelled. Even my son picked up on it. So I found my self having to clean my washer and used a different detergent and no more smell. What I've been doing not to waste the Tide, Ii use a little and mix it with another detergent. If you have sensitive skin try using All baby detergent. It gets tough stains out and as a great mild sent. Will not be buying Tide again.

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October 1, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

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

By Milton

Answers:

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.

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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July 20, 2010 Flag
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I have been using ALL detergent for several years and when I try other brands (especially Tide) my laundry would smell funky. We recently connected to city water instead of well water (which I thought was the problem), but it is still happening.

I haven't found any other brand that works. Any ideas as to what would be causing this? We also have a brand new water heater.

By Shelly from MN

Answers:

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Have you tried Gain detergent? It smells great. My son left all his dirty sports uniforms in his locker and when he finally brought them home. You can't imagine the stench. Two washings with Gain and they were back to new. (03/08/2010)

By Amy3e

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

My guess is it's the washer and dryer that are the problem. Wipe and wash all nooks and crannies, grooves, etc. with white vinegar and water. See if it helps. (03/08/2010)

By PIKKA

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March 7, 2010 Flag
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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

Answers:

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By debbes

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

Vinegar. Works like fabric softener. (08/19/2006)

By superwoman

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By April

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Linda

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Lisa

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Erika

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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).

(09/07/2007)

By help from an appliance store

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Kare

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Coco

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Wendell

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By Genie

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By April

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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.
http://mikes-duet.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html (09/22/2008)

By daviddds

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

To remove musty smell use a detergent with color safe bleach. It works every time. (11/06/2008)

By Carole

My Clothes Don't Smell Good

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)

By sandz

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May 7, 2006 Flag
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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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September 11, 2005 Flag
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