How to Tackle Laundry Smells Without Going Nuclear

Jul 25, 16 How to Tackle Laundry Smells Without Going Nuclear


If you’ve found yourself banging your head against a brick wall (proverbially of course) having fallen foul of a funky-smelling laundry issue, take comfort in the fact that you are far from alone. There’s really nothing more disconcerting or unpleasant than thoroughly washing your favourite garments time and time again, only for them to continually come out with that damp, dank and musky smell that’s actually worse than it was when they went in the machine.

As already touched upon, the problem itself is extremely common to say the least and one that most people will face at least once along the way. You’ve just loaded up on a new delivery of clothes from , though have ended up in a situation where you’re almost afraid to wash them.

Despair not however as with a few tips from the experts, permanently banishing unpleasant smells from both your laundry and your washing machine is actually relatively easy. So before resorting to any extreme measures…one of which being to replace your washing machine and throw your clothes in the garbage…at least try the following simple tips and tricks:

1 – Dry Faster

First of all, the number one cause of garments smelling less than ideal after being washed is quite simply the fact that they were not dried fast enough. The problem here being that the longer clothing is left wet, or even slightly moist, the likelier you’ll be welcoming a build-up of mould, bacteria and other nasties.  This is why the single most important thing you can do is to ensure that everything you wash dries up as quickly as possible, not leaving anything in the washing machine for a minute longer than necessary.

2 – Damp Laundry

You might also want to think twice about throwing wet clothing into the laundry basket with the rest of the dry garments in there. All you’ll end up doing is distributing moisture throughout the garments in the basket, which prior to the washing process will likewise serve as ideal homes for mould and bacteria. If you aren’t planning to do the washing in the very near future, ensure the washing basket itself remains dry.

3 – Cut Down on Detergent

Contrary to popular belief, to put a little extra detergent in with each wash load is to play a role in making things considerably worse than they already are.  The reason being that laundry detergents, especially those that are highly concentrated, go a hell of a long way to say the least and are very difficult to fully rinse out. The more detergent you use therefore, the higher the likelihood that it will not in fact all be washed out properly and will be left in the fibres of your garments. This in its own right can lead to exactly the kinds of smells you are working hard to get rid of.

4 – Dilute Fabric Softener

It’s also pretty much exactly the same thing when it comes to fabric softener as commercial fabric softeners have a habit of building up both inside a washing machine and within the fibres of garments, when used too generously. It might seem like that tiny capful couldn’t possibly be enough – chances are it’s actually too much. So rather than fighting fire with fire, it’s always worth trying either cutting down or diluting the fabric softener you use each time, which could make a significant difference.

5 – Clean Your Machine

When a washing machine is in itself dirty and harbouring bacteria, it is inevitable that the garments it washes will be doomed to the same fate.  Mercifully, giving a washing machine a very good clean is actually incredibly easy and costs next to nothing. It’s simply a case of emptying a half-litre bottle of white vinegar into the drum, after which the machine should be set on its hottest setting for a cycle of at least 1 hour with absolutely nothing in it. The difference this can make is truly remarkable.

6 – Boil Wash

Last but not least, if you’re really having trouble getting those unpleasant smells out of your towels or bedding, you might want to think about putting them through a boil wash. Once again, a capful of vinegar has the potential to work a treat and there are plenty of commercially available products specifically designed for stripping more robust garments of anything that may be sticking around and returning them to their former glory. Just don’t fall into the trap of attempting to wash the rest of your clothes at excessively high temperatures – it will only end up doing more harm than good!