Does your laundry smell after it has been washed? Do you find that even your clean laundry basket has a smell that won’t seem to go away? Here are some DIY laundry tips for ensuring your clothes smell fresh and come out cleaner than ever, without musty laundry smells.
How To Get Your Laundry Smelling Cleaner
- Use the right amount of detergent.
It is important to read all the labels on your laundry detergents, and to follow the instructions. More detergent does not equal “more clean”; the excess laundry soap may actually create a film on your clean clothes that will attract mold and bacteria, while if you do not use enough then your clothes won’t get clean. You will also want to ensure you are using the correct type of laundry detergents, for example, if you are washing in cold water, it is important to buy cold-water detergent and fabric softener.
- Buy natural fabrics when possible.
Using natural linens and cottons will ensure your laundry is naturally less smelly, as these fabrics are inherently antibacterial and antimicrobial, so they discourage the growth of mold, mildew, and allergens. These fabrics also encourage green living as they can also be washed in cold water.
- Pack your laundry loosely in the machine.
When you jam all of your clothes tightly into the washing machine, it will cause undue wear and tear on the machine and will not allow the water to agitate the laundry soap and clothes. Your washer should only be ¾ of the way full at most, otherwise nothing will be properly cleaned during the wash and rinse cycle. Instead, you will be left with stinky laundry and clothes looking dirty.
- Make sure your washing machine is clean.
Laundry odor is usually caused by bacteria, mold, and mildew growing and thriving, and sometimes the culprit is actually the washing machine itself. Front-loading washers are known for getting a build-up of detergent and fabric softener around the hidden parts of the gasket. This can, in turn, get onto your clothes and make them smell.
One of the easiest tips for keeping the washer clean is to use a solution of one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water, wiping the drum and gaskets with a clean sponge, and then running it on the hottest setting. Another way to clean your washing machine is to run the self-clean mode with the bleach compartment filled. (Note: do not mix vinegar and bleach together) Once the washer is clean, leave the door open so it can air out for a minimum dry time of one hour before running your next load of laundry.
- Don’t let your clothes sit for long before washing them.
The longer your laundry sits crumpled in the basket, the more time mold spores and bacteria have to reproduce and grow, creating a more difficult job for your washing machine and leaving your house smelling musty. If your clothes already smell, for example your smelly gym clothes, this effect is compounded. This is even more of an issue if you live in a warm and humid climate.
- Allow your laundry to dry completely before putting it away.
Crumpled up and damp clothes, towels, and sheets in the washing machine are an excellent breeding ground for musty smelling mildew and bacteria. Try to put your clothes in the dryer right away after washing or hang them on a clothes line or drying rack with space between them so they can dry in the air and the sunshine. A bonus to line-drying is that if you hate static cling, if you dry clothes by line drying, they won’t produce static.
- Add your favorite scent for an extra fresh smell.
Depending on your preferences, you may wish to use a linen spray, laundry boosters, wool dryer balls, add a dryer sheet, or even create a DIY scent by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your laundry to make it smell nice.
Cleaning tips and laundry hacks don’t need to be complicated to ensure you no longer have to deal with bad smelling laundry or feeling like your clothes are unclean. Following these simple tips to keep your laundry room clean and your clothes fresh is a form of self-care that you and your family members will all benefit from.