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Clothes Smell Bad After Washing

Category Laundry
Smelling clothing in the washing machine.
If your freshly washed clothes have a bad or sour smell, some sleuthing may be called for to determine the cause. This is a guide about when clothes smell bad after washing.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 18, 2010

Sometimes I forget I have a load of wash in the washing machine that has begun to smell musty. How can I get rid of the smell that sometimes remains in the cloths even after washing them again?

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By Mary Jean from Budd Lake, NJ

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October 30, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

With towels use the hottest water you can vinegar is good to use so is oxi clean. I use oxi-clean instead of clorox, clorox eats up the clothes oxi clean doesn't. With the clothes vinegar or oxi-clean (dissolved first). Use at least warm water on clothes.

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By 1 found this helpful
December 2, 2016

My clothes seem to smell okay when they are washed. The problem I run into is that when I start to sweat or my clothes get wet by rain or moisture from any sort, they stink. The smell is an awful sour smell. I tried borax and vinegar and new detergents. I even cleaned my washer as instructed. No luck so far. Please help.

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December 2, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I once had problems with my washing machine leaving my clothes smelling fausty. I cleaned the filter and then followed a tip I had read in a magazine by putting a wash on -with no clothes inside- using just Coca -Cola (full sugar one, not diet).

It recommended a tin but I put in half a two litre bottle in. It definitely helped. My brother was a firefighter for over a decade and used Coca cola to wash his clothes if they smelt a bit smoky or dirty.

Ask a good friend or family member to wash a load of your clothes to see whether it's a fault in your machine. Perhaps it's time to get a new one and if that's the case remember to go to Freecycle!

Good luck, Monique :)

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By 0 found this helpful
September 25, 2008

My clothes smell real bad. I have tried washing them twice each time I visit the laundromat. I followed your instructions regarding vinegar and today when I on the train everyone started sniffing around me. When my fellow employees past my desk the smell themselves. I am desperate and need advice asap.

I sometimes ask people if I smell funny, they say no but it doesn't sound sincere. My sense of smell is poor so I can't even tell if I do smell funny. I used to wash my clothes 2-3 times a week. I cry sometimes because I don't know what to do. I know its not B.O, my clothes just smell sour. I am afraid to wear perfume.

I am becoming more depressed every day. Today I went straight to the nearest clothing store and purchased a whole outfit and then on my lunch break went out and purchased bras because I noticed they smell really bad. Please help me or I might just lose my job.

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Debbie from NY

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September 25, 20080 found this helpful

One thing you might consider is where you are storing your clothes. Could that possibly be the source. Have you tried a different laundromat? If the water in your area is pretty hard try adding some Arm & Hammer Washing Soda to each load to help your soap work a little better. You could also try adding about a 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax to your wash load. And before you go crazy find a close friend to confide in who can help you tell if the smell is your "not so good sniffer" or a real odor.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 26, 20080 found this helpful

Try washing your clothing in baking soda and vinegar along with a detergent.

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September 26, 20080 found this helpful

Could it be your car seats?? Have they gotten wet or mildewed and you are sitting in it? Or, maybe it is mildew in your dresser or closet??

Can you try opening up all the windows in the area where you store your clothing and air it out good? Is it carpeted? If so, how does the carpet smell? Do you maybe live in a damp basement?

And, when you dry your clothes, are you sure you are getting your clothing good and completly dry??

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 26, 20080 found this helpful

Try oxyclean detergent. Worked for me.

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February 4, 20151 found this helpful

My work clothes get washed regularly by themselves. The smells don't go even after they've been washed. Shall I hand wash it? Any recommendations would be helpful.

By F. C.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 15, 2006

I have some foul smelling clothes. I tried vinegar, fabreeze, lestoil, baking soda the works. I have to wash my clothes 2 times a week and the smell is still there. Any ideas.

Deborah from NYC

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

Deborah

Could it be that your clothes are picking up the smells from your washing machine?

Try another washing machine to check this out. If it is the machine at fault then try cleaning out the filters.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

I have tried a few other washing machines and the smell is still there

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

go to www.moldzyme.com, their Moldzyme or Airzyme product will eliminate any organic odor and leave the clothes smelling fresh and clean.

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

Have you tried borax? I always have had excellent results with it. It is a great deodorizer.

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

First, find out the source of the odor and try to eliminate that. Unless it's the water itself- high iron content? Try presoaking and prewashing, in Gain Detergent with bleach- then a regular wash, and two rinse cycles, using extra liquid fabric softener on the last rinse. Better yet, (IF you can hang clothes in fresh air to dry) is to rinse with a cup of white Vinigar added to rinse cycle. Seeing as how you live in NYC, I'm wondering if the odor is from environmental industrial air pollution, especially if you live near or work in an industrial park area?

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

I always use a little Pinesol in my wash water. You don't smell it on your clothes when dry but they smell fresh & clean. My towels always smelled mildewy until I started doing this.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 8, 20080 found this helpful

This is to Karen P. How much Pinesol do you put in the wash? I have the same problem with my towels.

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January 8, 20080 found this helpful

have you tried air drying them??

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 8, 20080 found this helpful

I put two or three drops of perfume on my favorite hoodie before I put the load in the dryer. The smell stays and it smells wonderful.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 13, 2010

Why do my clean clothes smell after awhile? I rewashed clean clothes because they smelled and now they smell again after being in the laundry basket. Please help

By Barbara from Youngstown, OH

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April 19, 20040 found this helpful

How do you get the smell out of nylon shirts? I've worn one twice and now the stench is unbelievable. (None of my other clothes smell this way....)

Lee

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By guest client (Guest Post)
April 19, 20040 found this helpful

My Fashion teacher who is involved in theater told us to keep costumes fresh from daily wear...they would spray the underarms with a mix of water and vodka...I don't know the portions but it would kill the smell and freshen the garment for daily use.

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By guest client (Guest Post)
April 19, 20040 found this helpful

Place your shirt in a bucket and fill 1/2 full with cold water. Shake in 2 cups baking soda and stir. Add 1 cap ERA liquid landury detergent and stir. Leave in cool place for 24 hours and then wring out by hand. Launder as usual with warm water laundry. In future, remember that some NYLON garments don't allow for body breathing and should not be purchased. It is a good idea to purchase a washable blend.

Good luck this worked for me in the same situation when I was younger.

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By guest client (Guest Post)
April 20, 20040 found this helpful

Buy some OUT in the Pet department at WalMart.Pour some in whatever container you want to wash the shirts in,even in the washer.It smells like vanilla extract.Of course if you don't like Vanilla then maybe some Febreze or vinegar might help.

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By guest client (Guest Post)
April 26, 20040 found this helpful

I would soak it in a mix of 1/2 cold water, 1/2 vinegar, then let it drip dry outdoors. If you can let it hang in the sun and fresh air (on a clothesline or balcony) for a day or longer, that would probably be a big help! (I never heard of the vodka suggestion -- interesting!)

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May 11, 20040 found this helpful

You could also be overheating the materials in the shirt. Try drying the garment on low, cool heat or hanging it to dry.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 25, 2015

I washed my clothes and later used a hand towel to clean my face with. It had a bad sour smell to it. I had a cut so I used a towel again and poured hydrogen peroxide on it and noticed it started bubbling. Doesn't that only happen if there is bacteria present? I need help with this matter. Do I change detergent or try vinegar or ammonia to clean the washer? Why do my towels have bacteria on them after washing?

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By 0 found this helpful
July 31, 2016

This sounds a little weird, but every time I do my laundry, afterwards they end up smelling bad. The weird part is that I know what I smell like after I've been sweating. When I take them out of the washer, they seem to smell clean and fine. It's when I take them out of the dryer that I notice the smell. It's not super strong, but strong enough to notice. I end up covering myself with perfume to try and at least mask it. But it's become a problem that is bothering me.

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February 11, 20150 found this helpful

Recently I discovered my clothes have started to smell sour like vinegar. I use Gain detergent and fabric softener along with baking soda. What else can I do?

By Laken M

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