My Clothes Don't Smell Good

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

By Josie from Washington, MI

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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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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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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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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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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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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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I always use Febreze SPORT on my work and workout clothes! Works GREAT for me!

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Answer

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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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


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

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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


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

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

How do I clean my washer and dryer, my clothes stink after being washed? The smell is kind of musty.

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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
In This Article
Smelling clothing in the washing machine.
Clothes Smell Bad After Washing
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Home and Garden Cleaning LaundryOctober 1, 2010
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