How To Get Your Clothes To Smell Cleaner Longer
Stinky laundry is an issue many people face when cleaning dirty clothing and other laundry. You may be wondering why a musty smell sometimes lingers on your clothing, smelling bad and causing you to wonder if your clothes are actually clean. The next time you do a load of laundry, consider utilizing the following simple laundry tips for great smelling fabrics:
Clean the Washing Machine
There are plenty of hidden parts of any washing machine that have mold or mildew growing within them. You may notice a build-up of detergent or fabric softener, but it is easy to miss, as these areas are not usually visible at first glance inside your washing machine.
According to Consumer reports, this is a big problem for around 17% of people who own front-loading washers, as the washer door gaskets are where mold tends to accumulate, and it may happen to top-loading washers as well.
If your laundry smells bad, clean your washing machine using a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and water and run on the hottest setting, or fill the bleach compartment of your washing machine and run the self-cleaning cycle if your washer has one. (Do not mix vinegar and bleach.)
Wipe the gaskets down with a clean sponge, and once the washer is clean, leave the washer door open to allow fresh air to air it out for at least an hour. Mold loves a damp dark space, so allowing air circulation and sunlight will prevent further growth. Doing this once a month will not allow mildew and mold to build up.
Don’t Overload Your Washing Machine
Clothes in the washing machine need room to move. The machine should never be more than ¾ full, and nothing should be packed down tightly in the drum. When you put too many clothes, towels, and sheets in the washing machine at once, nothing will get cleaned properly. Instead, you will end up with damp, unwashed, stinky clothes. Break the laundry pile into smaller loads for cleaner, fresher smelling items.
Use the Right Amount of the Correct Detergent
If you are washing your clothes with cold water, a detergent that does well cleaning body soils is imperative. There are laundry detergents available that are created for cold water use for this reason. Read the label and use the correct amount of detergent each time. More is not always better. In fact, excess laundry soap can build up on fabrics, causing dirt and mold to stick and allowing bacteria to grow, creating an even worse unwanted smell. Using too little detergent to wash your clothes will make it difficult for the washing machine to adequately clean dirt off clothes.
Wash With Hot Water When You Can
Hot water is more effective than cold water on removing sebum, a body oil that soils fabric and is best removed by a combination of hot water and the right amount of detergent. Although there are several fabrics that fare better in cold water washes, you can sort your items by fabric type and care instructions, allowing you to wash items like underwear and undershirts in hot to eliminate odors and stains.
Wash and Dry Your Clothes ASAP
Don’t wait to wash your laundry, especially if it is something that already smells, like damp towels or workout clothes. The longer it sits in a pile in the laundry basket, the longer time bacteria has to reproduce. This is especially true if you live in a warmer climate.
If freshly washed clothes are not completely dry after the wash cycle, sitting inside your washing machine in the damp and dark space overnight, the wet clothes create the perfect mold and bacteria breeding ground, causing a sour smell from clothes. If you are line-drying your items, make sure each article has space between them so air can circulate and they can dry completely. Sunlight will help kill mold spores and bacteria. Make sure the items are completely dried before putting them away.
Add a Nice Scent
Cleaning your clothes properly is the best way to make clothes smell great after washing, but you can also add scents, treating laundry using a small amount of lavender essential oil, lavender water, rose water, scented sachets, citrus or peppermint scented laundry detergent, dryer sheets, or fabric softener, reusable lavender dryer bags, or wool dryer balls. For especially smelly clothes like gym clothes, using baking soda or vinegar instead may work better than a fabric softener.
Changing your laundry routine, washing and drying properly, and paying attention to these easy tricks will ensure your clothing smells nice every time.