What makes clothes smell musty

Laundry smells like washing? You can do that about it

Video by Esther Pistorius

We have probably all had the problem that the laundry smelled anything but fresh and pure after washing. Dark laundry seems to be affected by the problem. But if you throw the same T-shirt into the washing machine for the third time in a row, hope fades that the smell will wash out and the T-shirt will go to the trash.

There is a very simple reason for smelly laundry: bacteria. Bacteria settle in the fibers of the textiles and then spread the bad smell. The question, which is a little more difficult to answer, is: Why can the bacteria spread despite washing? There can be a number of reasons for this, but most of them can be traced back to simple application errors.

The laundry stinks after washing: what to do?

We have put together for you 5 reasons for smelly laundry after washing and tell you right away what you can do about it.

Cause No. 1: Too little detergent

When it comes to dosing the detergent, we usually orientate ourselves on the amount of laundry. Just as important, however, is how dirty your laundry actually is. Sports items that have absorbed a lot of sweat need a little more detergent than a barely worn blouse that may have a small stain on it.

If we use too little detergent, a residue of bacteria can remain in the fibers and continue to multiply in damp clothes immediately after the wash cycle. The unpleasant smell then remains.

You really need that much detergent

Finding the right amount of detergent is sometimes not that easy. Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb. But you can remember that the dosage depends on four things: the amount of laundry, the detergent, the degree of soiling and the degree of hardness of the water.

The harder the water and the dirtier the laundry, the more detergent is needed. Many detergents have even printed tables on their packaging that take this into account. So it's always worth taking a look.

Read also:Detergent test: the best products for shiny, clean laundry

Cause # 2: bacteria in the washing machine

An often overlooked source of bacteria is the washing machine itself. After all, it is the washing machine that washes all the dirt and bacteria out of our clothes. We ignore the fact that a residue can get stuck in the washing machine. Especially if we always run our washing machine at low temperatures, the bacteria inside are not killed. In this way, mold can even build up in the washing machine or in the door rubber.

In the video: Remove sweat odor - that's how it works!

Video by Aischa Butt

Here's what you can do if the laundry smells musty:

If the laundry smells musty, this can be an indication of a dirty or even mold-infested washing machine. The washing machine needs to be cleaned urgently so that all germs and bacteria inside are killed and can no longer adhere to the laundry. A boil wash cycle at 95 degrees is best for this. The high temperatures kill the majority of the culprits.

In addition, you can use special detergents during the wash cycle. These also descale the machine at the same time. If you don't want to use chemical cleaners, you can use apple cider vinegar instead. A particularly popular product on the net is the hygiene cleaner from Sagroten, which you can buy here directly from Amazon. *

Read about it:That's why everyone swears by this washing machine cleaner

Read also:Practical household tips: 10 SOS tricks that are guaranteed to make your life easier

Cause # 3: Closed washing machine drum

Consciously as we are, we have now boiled and cleaned our washing machine and then closed the washing machine door dutifully - and thus ruined our success again!

The reason: after washing there is always a residue of water in the drum and generally all doors and rubbers are still wet. So if we close the door immediately after the wash cycle, the moisture stays in and the machine cannot dry. We have thus created a perfect environment for the bacteria to reproduce again. With each wash, the washing machine turns more and more into an incubator for bacteria.

It is therefore important that the drum can air out after each wash. Never close the washing machine door immediately, otherwise this could soon take revenge with musty laundry. The same applies to the detergent dispenser, which should also ventilate.

Cause No. 4: Short and cold wash programs

If you're big fans of the fast cycle, you might want to reconsider your strategy. The laundry is visually clean quickly, but if it was heavily soiled beforehand, germs remain. Even the normal wash cycle can be too short if the laundry was already heavily infested with bacteria, for example because it had been in the laundry basket for weeks.

In this case, you should think about a prewash or an extra rinse. Perhaps this is exactly the tip of the balance that will help you get fresh smelling laundry.

Reading tip: 7 Ingenious Household Hacks: Washing Clothes Has Never Been So Easy!

The miracle weapon: hygienic washer

In addition to an extra wash cycle, you can also Hygienic washer (available here on Amazon *) can be used. Many, if not most, items of clothing are not suitable for washes over 40 degrees. Most of the bacteria that cause the bad smell can survive even 40 degrees without any problems. As a result, sometimes we only get rid of the smell with the help of disinfectants.

Fortunately, a hygiene washer is mostly made up of disinfectants and fragrances. So hygienic washer can actually be the solution to the problem. However, people with sensitive skin should use fragrance-free hygiene rinse. This irritates the skin less.

Cause No. 5: Laundry stays in place for too long

Probably the most obvious reason for smelly laundry is probably that we leave the damp laundry in the drum for too long. The same principle applies here: Damp laundry is a great breeding ground for bacteria. If you leave damp clothes lying around, odor-forming bacteria can multiply in them. So if you've forgotten the laundry and left it in the washing machine for a few hours, nothing helps except simply turning the washing machine on again.

By the way: The freshly washed clothes or towels will start to stink even if you fold them up before they are completely dry. So before folding and stowing it away, it is essential to feel whether there is any residual moisture.

Read also: Cleaning white sneakers: Ingenious tricks for sneakers like new

Home remedies for smelly laundry

A popular home remedy for smelly laundry is Soda (here at Amazon *). Soda binds odors and thereby neutralizes them. To do this, just add a tablespoon of baking soda to each wash. However, it is important that you add the baking soda to the washing powder (or liquid detergent) and not just pour it into the drum with the laundry.

Another helpful home remedy for smelly laundry or an unclean washing machine is Citric acid (here at amazon *). Citric acid not only removes bacteria, but also lime. It also leaves a pleasantly fresh scent. Simply mix 7-8 tablespoons of lemon juice with water and pour the mixture directly into the drum before washing.

Danger: Again and again, vinegar is recommended to clean laundry or washing machine. However, vinegar is more aggressive than citric acid and can therefore attack hoses and seals.

There are even more tips in the book "Five home remedies replace a drugstore", which you can buy here on Amazon. *

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Created October 30, 2019
Shared 611 times