What to do when your clothes still have an odor after washing

stinky clothing

No one wants to walk around in clothing that smells. It feels like a time waste when you spend your time washing your clothes and then they still smell. People will comment if your clothes smell as if they are still dirty. Have you ever wondered what you should do if you have washed your clothes and they still smell?

If you have washed your clothing and they still smell, then pinpointing why the odor is sticking around, or what has caused them to smell before drying them is important. Nearly always, if your clothing has an odor after washing it, it may mean that the clothing still has bacteria lingering on it. If you have already dried them then consider these tips, as well and remember not to dry them until you are sure they are smelling fresh and clean.

What is the smell? Mildew? Smoke? Or something else?

Sometimes your clothes can still smell funky after you have washed them. If they smell like mildew, or have a damp smell, then you may have waited too long after washing your clothing to dry them. This can happen if you leave your clothing in the washing machine and you do not set a timer to go and check them in the laundromat.

Smoke is a smell that is extremely hard to get rid of in clothing and fabrics. Oftentimes, you’ll need to wash your clothing that smells like smoke, or fire, by soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Some folks recommend that you place the items that are smoky into a sealable plastic bag and place the mixture on them inside of the bag and seal it afterward. You should soak the clothing that is smoky for at least an hour and then wash as you normally would.

If you have not let them sit for a long period of time and you used enough detergent and fabric softener then think about these factors that can cause your clothing to smell after being washed.

Did you use too much detergent?

You would not think that using too much detergent can cause your clothing to smell, but that is not true. Read the back of your detergent boxes and bottles and find out the appropriate amount of detergent needed when you wash a load of clothing. When you do not use enough detergent bacteria can still thrive on your clothing and cause a smell. When you use too much detergent all you end up doing is trapping bacteria that is living on your clothes inside of thick, soapy suds that do not do much to clean the clothing in the wash. Using too much detergent is about as bad as not using enough detergent. The washers at Best Wash Laundromat all utilize the appropriate type of water; it’s not too hard and it’s not too soft, therefore it benefits to use the directed amount of detergent when washing your clothes at all of our locations.

Overfilling the Washing Machine

Sometimes patrons overfill our HUGE washing machines thinking that they will get an extra set of clothes in them because they are so large. The truth is, even our largest washing machines are not made to get more than the stated loads of clothes washed thoroughly. What this means is that you really are not washing all the clothing in the load thoroughly. Bacteria will remain on them and bacteria always equals odor.

Extremely Soiled Fabrics

Sometimes our clothing gets extremely dirty after we have completed a particularly dirty task. The smell from the debris, dirt and our own body’s bacteria can leave the articles of clothing that you were wearing while doing the task dirty. Some people report that their clothing is particularly soiled when they first begin working out or change their diet. You may need to spend a longer period of time washing extremely soiled clothing in order to completely remove the odors from the clothing.

More than 80% of odor causing substances are invisible. If you do not completely remove the bacteria and substances causing the odor then they will remain on your clothes and build up over time. Eventually, your clothes will start to feel a bit sticky. The stickiness actually causes more odor causing substances to build up on your clothing. Eventually, you’ll just need to replace the item rather than attempt at removing the substances that are causing the odor. If you can, every few washes, wash your extremely soiled clothing in a hot water wash cycle, to completely remove substances like sebum that build up over time on your clothing. Hot water is one of the only things that will melt and remove sebum.

Best Wash Laundromat has several locations throughout the areas in St. Louis and in Illinois just across the state line. We offer clean laundromats, huge washing machines, and the hottest dryers. We provide helpful tips on washing and drying your clothing, including  information on how to not shrink your clothing in the wash, and are we are available for pick up and delivery service as well.

Best Wash has the best washers and dryers (many free!) for your washing and drying needs. Quickly clean your clothes and laundry at any of our Illinois- or Missouri-based laundromats, or have it picked up and delivered! Read about us or look up locations.