How to Stop Your Clothes Smelling Damp

Everyone has experienced this at some point. Whether you’re constantly having issues with it, or you occasionally walk away from a load of washing after it finished hours ago, and your towels are left with a mildew smell. These tips should help you out either way!

1. Wash with warm water and vinegar

We’re often told to wash our clothes in cold water because it saves on electricity but what we don’t often think about is the effect that this may have on the bacteria living on our laundry. You see, it’s hot water that can kill off bacteria. This doesn’t mean that it should be done on every load but occasionally (especially when it comes to towels), try washing them with a cup of hot vinegar and on the warm setting along with your regular detergent. Vinegar also helps to deodorize your clothes.

2. Wash damp clothes immediately

Once you’re in a routine of hanging clothes to dry as soon as they have finished in the washing machine, you almost go into autopilot when it’s done spinning. Something that often people forget about is that the clothes already damp before heading to the washing machine need the same love. eg. Swimming costumes, towels or the sweatshirt you wore in the rain yesterday. They should be washed immediately!

3. Clean your washing machine

You can’t expect your washing machine to clean your clothes for you if it’s not been maintained properly itself. The best way to do this is to simply let an empty cycle run. Add some bleach to the load for the best results!

4. Don’t overuse your detergent

A common misconception is that the more detergent you put into your washing machine, the cleaner and therefore sweet smelling your clothes will be but this, in fact, couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re adding more than the recommended amount (check the packaging of your detergent) the excess won’t rinse away but will remain in the fabric. This can cause mould growth on the clothes you’re trying to wash.

5. Air your laundry when drying

Even if you own a washer/dryer, I’d suggest leaving your clothes to air for a while after they are finished washing. For the best results, hang your laundry outside on a washing line. Alternatively, you can always hang them on a clothes airer inside your home, just make sure that all windows are open when possible.

6. Don’t tightly pack your closet

Although I’m sure we’re all guilty of having way too many clothes, this can actually have quite a negative effect on how your clothes smell. Ensure there’s enough space between each piece of clothing hanging in your closet and don’t overcrowd them.

Other helpful tips:

  • Leave your washing machine lid open when possible.
  • Ensure that your clothes airer or washing lines are not overcrowded so each piece has room to breathe.
  • If you take clothes out of the washing machine and they still smell, send them in for another load before drying.
  • Buy (or make your own) air freshener baggies to hang up in your closet.

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