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3 Reasons Your Clothes Are Smelly After Washing…and How to Fix Them

3 Reasons Your Clothes Are Smelly After Washing…and How to Fix Them

Most people have experienced it at least once. You pull your freshly washed clothes out of the machine, and a sour smell wafts through the air. It’s not only unpleasant, but it’s also incredibly frustrating. Every load costs time, energy, and money. Washing a load of clothes only to have them come out smelly is a big problem, and it’s sometimes a tough one to solve.

The go-to solution for many is to rewash the clothes with more detergent or hotter water. That might help temporarily, but it’s not a long-term solution, and it doesn’t attack the real problem. Over-washing your clothes puts undue wear and tear on the fabrics, resulting in holes or dingy garments. It also wastes detergent, water, and energy.

Discovering the root cause of the smell is the first step to dealing with the issue efficiently. Let’s look at three possible reasons for clothing odor post-washing.

You left your clothes in the washer too long.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise when you find the smell of mildew on your clothes after leaving them in the washer overnight. A dark, wet environment like a washing machine is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew to thrive. These can build up in your clothing as time goes on, eventually leaving them with a permanent odor. Sometimes the solution is as simple as a kitchen timer to keep yourself from forgetting to switch your clothes to the dryer.

Suppose you do find yourself forgetting your wet clothes in the washer every now and then. In that case, it’s a good idea to follow your load of laundry with a Glisten Washing Machine Cleaner & Freshener tablet. Glisten removes odor-causing residue and mineral buildup that reduces a washer’s effectiveness and potentially damages clothing. Best of all, it doesn’t contain bleach or other harmful chemicals that pose harm to fabrics or machines.

You’ve got a buildup of bacteria in your machine.

Once bacteria, dirt, and excess detergent have found a foothold in the washing machine, you’ll need to clean and disinfect it. You might see visible buildup, but it could also be hiding inside the drum walls. With Glisten Washing Machine Cleaner & Freshener, just remove the items from the washer, place a tablet in the empty drum, and run the washer on either Clean Washer or Normal using full load and hot water settings.

If you’re unable to get Glisten tablets right away, a little vinegar and a nylon brush can help do the trick. Regular white vinegar is good—and in some cases better—for disinfecting than cleaning vinegar. Put it in a spray bottle and wet the whole drum. Let it sit for a few minutes to air out some of the odor. Don your mask and get in there with the scrub brush. The vinegar is doing most of the work here, so you’ll just be using the brush to agitate it. Clean the rest of the machine with some vinegar and the brush, and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth. Don’t forget the seal ring if you have a front-loading appliance and clean out the detergent and softener locations. Give the outside and face a nice wipe down as well to make the job feel fresh and complete.

Too much detergent

Less really is more in this case. It makes sense that not using enough detergent won’t sufficiently rid your clothes of odor-causing bacteria, but going overboard could have an equally pungent result. More soap means more bubbles, and that buildup of suds can actually trap the bacteria in the fabric. If you’ve ever taken your clothes out and they felt a little heavier or maybe had a filminess to them, that could be leftover detergent holding the odor in your clothes.

This is especially true for workout clothes or any synthetic fabric that you sweat in. Because of these garments’ wicking designs, the natural shed from skin cells and perspiration gets trapped in the grooves of the fabric. Wash the clothes with about a cup of vinegar to break up the detergent in a safe way.

Getting to know and using the right settings for your load type can go a long way in preserving the life of your washing machine, as well as keeping odors from reoccurring. Try separating clothes by fabric type or based on the tags’ instructions. Use the recommended amount of detergent listed on the back of the box or bottle — some people like laundry pods for this reason. Just drop and go, and don’t worry about any pesky measurements.

If you have a pesky smell in your washing machine that always seems to linger, one of these issues is most likely the culprit. Follow the directions above and use Glisten Washing Machine Cleaner & Freshener regularly. You’ll find yourself with fresh-smelling laundry once again.