Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions
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Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions

Do your clothes smell after washing? The causes of stinky laundry and methods for eliminating odor from clothing will be covered in this guide.

It’s a major issue when a load of laundry is washed and then the clothes come out smelling bad.

Rewashing the clothes in either hotter or more detergent is a common solution. That could provide short-term relief, but it won’t address the root of the issue and is not a long-term fix.

To effectively address the problem, the first step is to identify the source of the smell. We’ll discuss all the various causes of post-wash odors in clothing as well as—more importantly—how to eliminate them.

Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing?

Read on to find out what might be causing the disheartening post-wash mildew stench of incorrectly washed laundry if you have experienced it.

Leave Your Clothes in the Washer for Too Long

When you discover mildew on your clothes after putting them in the washer overnight, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise. The ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew is a damp, dark place like a washing machine.

As they accumulate over time, they can leave a lasting odor on your clothing. A kitchen timer can sometimes be the answer to preventing yourself from forgetting to put your clothes in the dryer.

Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions

Letting Dirty Clothes Sit in the Hamper Too Long Before Washing Them

A musty odor can develop in your clothing if moisture is allowed to persist. Don’t mix sweaty clothing or used bath towels with dry laundry when you finish drying off at home after the gym or after taking a shower.

Make sure to wash sweaty clothes as soon as possible to get rid of the sour smell and prevent bacterial growth. Allowing them to air dry before placing them in the hamper is advised if you don’t intend to wash them that day.

Here is how to get rid of different types of smell on clothes:

Use Too Much (or Too Little) Laundry Detergent

Inadequate rinsing of excess detergent can leave it trapped in the fabric, promoting waterlogging and the growth of mold. The converse is also true—if you use too little detergent, your clothes won’t get clean.

The dosage instructions should be found on the detergent packet or bottle. If you have a larger machine, you might need to add a little more liquid or powder soap since they frequently concentrate on a 6kg or 7kg load. Furthermore, if you’re only washing a small load, you might not need as much detergent.

Dosing balls are offered by some laundromat brands. If yours doesn’t, buying a measuring cup is worthwhile (you can frequently find them in the baking section). Or, to simplify things, you could switch to capsules.

You can extend the freshness of your clothes’ scent by using a fragranced detergent or by adding fabric conditioner.

The Residue of Fabric Softeners

If you use fabric softener, this might be the cause of the unpleasant smell in your laundry. Do you realize that the softeners contain oils?

The oils in your clothing are what give the fibers a soft feel, but they have a drawback: in addition to making your clothing less absorbent, the oily coating traps detergent residue, dirt, mildew, mold, and bacteria, which makes your laundry smell bad.

Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions

Dirty Laundry Machine

It’s normal for fabric softeners and detergent to accumulate over time in your washing machine. This accumulated scum can turn into a significant issue if you don’t clean your washer frequently.

In addition to clogging filters, the buildup can harbor bacteria. Your clothes will come into contact with water-borne bacteria as you wash them over a period of weeks.

Aim to clean your washing machine once a month at the very least. We advise doing it once a month, but if you have the time, it won’t harm to do it more often.

Overfilled the Washing Machine

You might be at your wit’s end right now. You use a moderate amount of detergent, transfer your loads with efficiency, and maintain your washer. Why do my clothes still have a smell after being washed?

One laundry load could be divided into multiple sessions as a simple fix. Divide your whites and darks into different loads, or wash each person’s loads separately. In the long run, all of your clothes will smell better no matter how you decide to reduce your load.

It’s Taking Too Long to Dry Your Clothes

Interested in learning how to remove the musty smell from clothing? A few hours should be enough time to dry them. It may take longer for laundry to dry and end up smelling musty and damp if it is allowed to dry naturally without enough heat.

You may want to buy a dehumidifier to hasten the drying process if your laundry smells bad after drying indoors. Additionally, it will help prevent all that water from dissipating into the air of your house, which can cause dampness issues and make it feel colder.

Additionally, if you use a tumble dryer, be careful not to overload it and try to dry items of similar weight together.

Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions

You’re Not Letting Them Dry Properly

Before removing clothing from a tumble dryer or a clothesline, make sure it is completely dry. That might entail setting your dryer to “extra dry.”

Avoid letting your ironing pile grow if you prefer to iron clothes while they are still damp by completing the task right away.

Your Clothes Need a Hotter Wash

Your clothing may require a deep clean if you’ve tried the aforementioned suggestions and you’re still baffled as to why they still smell after washing.

While lower temperatures do a better job of protecting fabrics, they are less effective at eliminating sweaty odors. The highest temperature recommended by the clothing label should be used to wash your clothes on a long wash cycle.

Additionally, you could put a few teaspoons of white vinegar in the detergent drawer. Don’t worry, deodorizing clothes helps and won’t make them smell like the fish and chip shop down the street.

Persil is a more potent detergent that is made for lower temperatures and is recommended if your clothes need to be washed at 30°C or 40°C.

Why Do Your Clothes Smell After Washing? Reasons and Solutions

Why Does Your Laundry Smells Bad After Drying?

A clean load of laundry with a fresh scent can be quickly ruined by the musty odors that tumble dryers frequently produce.Airflow obstructions frequently cause offensive dryer odors. The majority of dryers operate by exhaling this hot, humid air outside after blowing it over the clothes.

The humid air will remain inside the appliance and retain the musty smell if the exhaust vent is blocked or otherwise compromised by lint, debris, a sock, or anything else. The smell returns to the laundry as the dryer is running.

Which Types of Clothes Smell the Worst?

The perception of “worst” smelling clothes can vary based on personal preference and factors such as fabric, maintenance, and usage. However, some clothing styles have a stronger propensity to retain odors.

Because they are less breathable, synthetic materials like polyester or nylon hold sweat and odor. Exercise attire or sports uniforms can collect sweat and bacteria, creating foul odors when worn during vigorous physical activity.

Additionally, if not properly cared for, clothing made of natural fibers like wool or silk can hold odors. To reduce odor retention in clothing, it’s critical to follow proper washing instructions, use high-quality detergents, and ensure thorough drying.

Conclusion: Clean Clothes Should Smell Clean

In any case, leaving wet laundry out too long can result in a musty odor. Your clothes may not smell like fresh linen because bacteria thrive in damp clothing, which can make them smell more like wet dog.

Most adults have experienced the frustration and disappointment of having freshly washed clothes that still smell. These straightforward suggestions should help you reduce stress and keep your clothes smelling clean and fresh as they should!


How Do You Get Bad Smell Out of Washed Clothes?

Many odors can be removed using vinegar or baking soda as part of your wash cycle, and if those don’t work, commercial sanitizers and sports detergents target odor-causing bacteria, too. Another excellent method for reviving fabrics is outdoor air drying.

How Do You Get Sour Sweat Smell Out of Clothes?

  • Vinegar: Your stinky clothes can soak for up to 30 minutes in a bucket of cold water and one cup of vinegar.
  • Baking Soda: When washing in cold water, add one cup of baking soda along with your detergent.
  • Lemon Juice: To eliminate bacteria that cause odors, squeeze the juice of one lemon into your wash load.
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