My Clothes Smell Bad Even After Washing Them
Freshly-cleaned laundry should smell nice. But if your clothes are coming out of the washer or dryer smelling musty or dank, there’s some sort of issue.
Maybe it’s a sour or moldy smell. It’s kind of like mildew? Stagnant water? It could come from damp laundry being left to sit too long, using too much or too little detergent, residue, a clogged or dirty machine, or you don’t even know. The bright side is there are easy remedies to repair your foul laundry odors. From using a different laundry detergent, or adding a washing cleaning agent, to cleaning your washing machine– below are ideas and tips to get rid of dank-smelling clothing.
Reasons Your Clean Clothes Smell Bad
Leaving Them in the Washing Machine too Long
A lot of us are guilty of this. We throw our laundry in the washing machine, run it, then forget it for hours or days. This often winds up as a smelly load of laundry. Leaving clothes to sit in the washing machine for hours will let odor-causing bacteria and germs grow on them. Keep in mind, your washing device is often in a warm, moist atmosphere, and such a place lets bacteria and mold grow quickly. Don’t let wet clothes and laundry sit long.
What if you forget or life happens, then you’ve got a moldy-smelling load of laundry? Simply wash it all again.
Dirty Clothes Sit too Long Before Washing
Letting dirty, sweaty, damp clothes and towels sit around for a long time before getting around to doing laundry will trigger a musty smell that one cycle in the washer and dryer might not defeat. If you’ve got wet, sweaty, filthy clothes, keep those clothes separate from dry, more usual loads in a hamper. Then, try to get the damp, dirtier clothes or towels into the wash sooner. If you can’t do laundry for a day or two but have damp, odorous clothes waiting, hang them up and at least let them dry instead of sitting in a hamper or pile together. This will limit bacteria and the damp smell from getting worse.
If you have smelly laundry, use warm water in the washing machine. Cold water keeps clothes and textiles in better condition longer, but you need warm water when you’ve got to get rid of especially sweaty and dirty smells. This is especially true with bacteria or moldy smells, too. If the load is fine with a hot water wash cycle, then you can go all the way to hot.
Too Much Detergent
You need detergent to do laundry. It is possible, though, to use too much. Using too much detergent to clean your clothing makes it difficult or impossible for your washing machine to rinse the cleaning agent out. As the detergent residue accumulates on your clothes, it will attract dust and microorganisms. You get dank-smelling clothes, sheets, and towels very fast. The amount of detergent you require may be less than you think. Read the label or try a little less detergent for the load size you put in the machine.
Try a New Detergent
You can try out a different detergent to see if a different product works better. If your clothing smells okay right when it’s been washed and dried, but then gradually has an odor, it could be the detergent. The detergent smells great at first, but it might not get your laundry truly clean. You might need a more powerful cleaner. There are detergents formulated to work better with warm or cold water cycles.
You might be doing everything right with detergent, fabric softeners, staying on top of loads of laundry, using the right cycles, everything. If there’s still a smell, it could be the washing machine or dryer. If an appliance is dirty, has a clog, or has a dirty filter, it could be putting dirt, mildew, lint, or germs into what you think is clean clothing.
Tips for cleaning a washing machine
* Pour two cups of vinegar into your detergent space. Run your washing machine empty through the hot water cycle on the longest cycle. When it’s done, use of a sponge to wipe down the inside. Run a hot water cycle again to remove all of the vinegar. Or, if your machine has a sanitizing cycle, you can use it instead. Sanitize and allergen cycles remove hard-to-get bacteria.
* Leave the washer door open. When your washer is clean, keep it this way. When you’re done running a load of laundry, leave the door open so it can air out. Mold chooses dark, moist places, so good airflow and light will do a great deal to keep it cleaner.
Overloading the Machine
A load of laundry needs room to move in a washing machine. Or else, they’re not going to get clean. It may not be that the machine or detergent isn’t working, but overloading the machine makes it impossible for them to do the job. We know it’s tempting to put large loads into the machine to save time, but it won’t work and you could end up with stinky clothes.
Laundry Smells Dank After Drying
Dryers can hold musty, moldy odors and this can quickly foul up what was a clean load of clothes, towels or sheets. Bad dryer odors are usually the outcome of blocked or obstructed airflow. A lot of dryers function by blowing hot air over the clothing and having the hot air be vented out. If the exhaust vent is clogged or dirty with dust, lint, a sock, or anything, the hot, humid air will stay in the machine and build a damp smell. As the dryer is running, the odor is going into the laundry.
What’s a Wet Dog Smell Come From?
A wet dog smell typically occurs when there is an accumulation of cleaning agents in clothes. It’s likely too much detergent has been used gradually, over many loads, and the buildup becomes too much. If you’re getting a bad smell of any variety, you can always run an extra rinse cycle with no detergent, dry the clothes, then check the smell at that point.
South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.