Smelly Washing? Here’s How to Easily Fix Stinky Laundry!

Doing laundry is never fun—we know that already! It’s even less fun when our clothes come out stinky instead of smelling like they are freshly washed and ready to wear. This is a fairly common laundry issue and there are some easy fixes to solve this problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

The 4 Major Sources of Laundry Stank

  1. Your clothes did not dry properly. This can happen if you fill up your dryer with too many clothes or if the drying cycle is too short. Putting away slightly damp clothes and linens is a recipe for mustiness.
  2. You are washing moldy/musty towels or garments with everything else. Dish rags and towels are common causes of this type stank, so make sure you dry out those damp cloths before you throw them in the wash.
  3. You left wet clothes in the machine for too long. Wet clothes can get musty pretty quickly due to mildew growth.
  4. Your washing machine needs to be cleaned. If your machine stinks, of course, your laundry is going to stink too.

How to Fix Your Stinky Laundry

  1. Re-launder your clothes with vinegar and hot water. Vinegar is a fantastic deodorizer so all you will need to do is run your load again with vinegar and turn your machine to the hottest possible water setting. You can add detergent if you like, but the clothes are already clean so it should not be necessary.
  2. Do an overnight soak in vinegar and water for clothes that are truly pungent. You can do this in the laundry basin near your machines. Follow up with Tip #1 above.
  3. To target mildew in particular, soak your clothes in buttermilk overnight and then launder as usual in the morning.

Preventing Smelly Laundry

  1. Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to your detergent when you are running a load. Lavender oil will stop mildew from forming.
  2. Clean your machine on the regular and do not forget to leave the door open when you finish a load. I also like to wipe down the door, the gasket and the tumbler after each use.
  3. Avoid over-stuffing your machine and make sure you are drying your clothes properly. This might mean doing smaller loads or setting a longer drying cycle.
  4. Add a few drops of essential oils to your dryer ball or an unscented dryer sheet to infuse your clothes with your favorite scents.
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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.