Washed and Dried Clothes Smell Bad?

I live in a rental unit. The laundry room is shared with 2 other families. Most of the time after washing and drying my clothes they smell like they where washed with sewer water. The clothes are apparently stain free and washed with good detergent. I never let the clothes sit in the machine after washing, they go in the dryer. The clothes after being dried feel greasy and have a bad sewer smell to it.


I go to bed and if my sheets have that smell I do not sleep properly and often have headaches. We exposed the situation to my landlord and he doesn't care. My question is, is it possible my clothes are washed with sewer water some how? and can that be the cause of my headaches?
Thank you!

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April 11, 20181 found this helpful
Best Answer

It could either be the water itself or a dirty machine. I would buy a gallon of vinegar and do a wash with that and no clothes in it. That should help clean the machine. If they water were contaminated, your bath and kitchen water would smell too, I would think.

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April 11, 20180 found this helpful

Have you checked to see if the smell is in the clothes before you put them in the dryer?


  • Just wondering if there could be a problem with the dryer and not the washer.
  • Do you know the other families that use the units? Just wondering if it would be possible to just casually bring up the problem to them? No accusations, just that your clothes have this "smell" and you wondered if they had noticed it with their clothes.
  • if possible, that might make them at least think about how they are washing their clothes and the type of detergent they are using. Not sure it would help but at this point you need any help you can get.
  • I agree that you may have to run white vinegar and no clothes (maybe hottest water) at least once but you may have to continue to use white vinegar in every wash and rinse. Vinegar will not leave any lasting odor so do not be concerned about that.
  • You may have to use vinegar and water and wipe down the inside of the dryer as the drum will/may also have this smell from the clothes being dried.
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  • Do not use any type of softener in your wash or dryer as this will only mask a bad odor and the vinegar will act as a softener. Softener liquid and sheets tend to leave a "film" on clothes and also in the dryer.
  • Maybe someone else will have some suggestions for you.
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April 12, 20180 found this helpful

Have you spoken with your landlord and asked if the water line supplying the washing machine is the same as the one feeding the apartments (with no crossover to, possibly, a leaking black water / outgoing line)? And are your neighbours experiencing the same problem?

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