6 Simple Laundry Mistakes That Make Your Clothes Stink

We wash our clothes not only to clean them, but to make them smell nice and fresh as well. But sometimes, we pull our clothes out of the dryer and they smell less than fabulous. It’s pretty frustrating. We invest so much time washing our clothes. Why are they stinky?

There are some simple mistakes that you could be making (unknowingly) that contribute to the funky smelling laundry, however, these mistakes are easily fixed. Check out these six mistakes that may be making your clothes malodorous, along with some simple fixes. 

  1. The Mistake—Not washing the washing machine: It may seem a little counterintuitive to have to clean something that has soap and water swirling around inside it on a regular basis. But, your washer holds moisture, which can lead to mildew growth and musty-smelling clothes.

The Fix—Clean your washer: You should clean your washer periodically to prevent mildew growth. About once a month, wipe down the drum with a household cleaner, then add two or three tablespoons of baking soda to the drum and run an empty hot wash cycle to help kill any lingering bacteria and mildew spores.

  1. The Mistake—Overloading the washer: It’s tempting to stuff your washer to save time. It’s quicker to do one huge load, than two smaller loads, right? Unfortunately, your time-saving trick may actually be preventing your clothes from getting clean. Part of what helps clothes get clean is their ability to move around freely and generate friction with each other.

The Fix—Lighten your load: The fix here is pretty simple. Start washing smaller loads. Laundry day may be a little longer, but your clothes will smell, and actually be, cleaner.

  1. The Mistake—Adding too much detergent: More detergent doesn't necessarily mean a better clean. In fact, too much detergent can cause your clothes to hold onto dirt and bacteria.

The Fix—Read the label: If you want your clothes to be truly clean, don’t assume “a capful” of detergent is perfect for every load. Read the label and pour in the recommended amount of detergent. Use the markers in the cap to measure more precisely. Or, switch to pre-measured packets or pods for convenience.

  1. The Mistake—Choosing chilly temperatures: You may wash everything in cold water to reduce energy use (which is admirable) and hot water bills (which is smart). Of course, cold water isn’t always the best choice for getting clothes truly clean.

The Fix—Put your clothes in hot water: For the fabrics that can handle it, washing clothes in the highest water temperature possible can kill odor-causing bacteria and result in a better clean. But always read clothing labels to ensure fabrics are hot-water safe.

  1. The Mistake—Not using a deodorizer: You might be thinking, “I use a fabric softener, so this doesn’t apply to me.” Fabric softeners are great at adding scents to clothing, which masks odors, but doesn’t neutralize them.

The Fix—Add a little acid: The slightly acidic nature of vinegar acts as a great deodorizer. Add one or two tablespoons to each load to truly remove odors. As a bonus, it will prevent colors from fading. 

  1. The Mistake—Letting your clothes get lonely: It’s so easy to forget a load of wet laundry in the washing machine. But this isn't the best thing for your clothes. While your clothes are sitting in a dark and damp environment, bacteria and mold are setting up shop.

The Fix—Set an alarm: Use the timer on your smartphone, oven, or microwave to remind yourself to move your clothes into the dryer as soon as the wash is done. If you happen to forget anyway and they’ve been sitting more than two hours, run the clothes through a hot rinse cycle, then immediately dry them.

Try these tips to keep your clothes smelling clean. But if your clothes are still smelly, then consider a new washer and dryer. Reno’s Appliance is proud to carry an extensive inventory of world-class brands that are known for dependability and durability like Samsung, Whirlpool, GE, Electrolux, and many others. Stop by our showroom in Paterson, NJ to view our selection.