Asked on Jan 28, 2017

What can I do about my towels having a musty smell?

PennySylvia CandlerLibby


Even after I wash them, they seem to smell a little bit off...
24 answers
  • Jerry
    on Jan 28, 2017

    Try washing them with vinegar
  • Janet Pizaro
    Janet Pizaro
    on Jan 28, 2017

    Run baking soda and white vinegar through a wash cycle with a empty machine.
  • Hillela G.
    Hillela G.
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I agree, a vinegar cycle in an empty machine and then dry right away!
  • Linda Copas-Atkinson
    Linda Copas-Atkinson
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I use laundry detergent and a small amount of bleach. You can get the fibre friendly bleach if your towels are coloured.
  • Sarah E Carroll
    Sarah E Carroll
    on Jan 29, 2017

    Make absolutely certain they are entirely dry before you put them in your linen cupboard. And after following some other other hints. .wipe down the cupboard shelves with baking soda solution . .Again make certain all surfaces are dry! It may also be that your cupboard has no air circulation. .Mine has louvred doors . . which helps I am sure. I live where the water comes with the occasional sulphury smell and this combination takes care of that as well.
  • Sarah E Carroll
    Sarah E Carroll
    on Jan 29, 2017

    Many may suggest using fabric softener but don't do it. .at least not regularly (It makes the fabrics less absorbent)
  • Tova Pearl
    Tova Pearl
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I run the machine one cycle with vinegar, then one cycle with detergent - about once a month, to keep the machine smelling good and prevent this problem. But if it already has happened, and is mild, you can sometimes get away with putting them back in the dryer on hot cycle.
  • Hdd17495180
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I got great advice on Hometalk recently; use ammonia. It's inexpensive, I soaked towels and cloths in ammonia & hot water, then added small amt of Tide, and put them thru regular wash cycle; finally got all the smell out. Thanks to whomever suggested this.
  • Eil3352033
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I always leave the lid up after doing a helps the washer to dry inside and not develop mildew and mould

  • Lyn
    on Jan 29, 2017

    I'm always leaving my laundry in the washer too long which means a musty smell. Usually I just rinse in cold water, dry as usual, then rewash. That usually does it, but using arm n hammer liquid soap helps. Anything else I've done lifted the color, ie ammonia.
  • Lyn
    on Jan 29, 2017

    Washing in baking soda also helps
  • Cindy Smith
    Cindy Smith
    on Jan 30, 2017

    Best advice I have is to hang them on a clothesline out in the back yard. Mom did that when I was growing up and they always smelled soo good. She'd hang them outside even in the winter time. I've done it because that's the way I was taught.

    • Lisa
      on Feb 1, 2017

      Don't they get stiff? Do you put them in the dryer afterwards to soften them?
  • Cindy Smith
    Cindy Smith
    on Feb 1, 2017

    If the temperatures were too cold, Mom used the dryer to fluff them. Mom and Dad were married in 1948, so we didn't have a clothes dryer until I was in 5th or 6th grade. The first house we lived in had a full basement and Dad strung clothes lines across one side and when the weather was rainy, or too heavy with the snow, she'd hang them in the basement. I can hang the clothes out over the winter now, because we live in Florida.

  • Jeris Chitwood
    Jeris Chitwood
    on Feb 1, 2017

    Front load washers are notorious for this. Put your towels in the wash with one cup baking soda (no soap), let it run the full cycle. Next, run the same load of towels with one cup vinegar (no soap) for the full cycle. This will remove the musty odor, stiffness and re-fluff your towels to their original glory!
  • Stacy Baranowski
    Stacy Baranowski
    on Feb 1, 2017

    Oxy Clean!
    • Marsha Callis
      Marsha Callis
      on Feb 4, 2017

      Definitely, if your man has oily skin, use oxyclean in your laundry each time, does wonders On pillow cases also. It is my go to fo laundry & stains
  • Dee
    on Feb 1, 2017

    I used oxyclean for the first year I had my front loader.
    I stopped using it for some stupid reason, and my towels smelled awful.
    After all the cleaning methods out there on front loaders. I finally started using ocyclean again NO SMELLS.
    I tried the amonia, Mr. Clean, white vinegar, baking soda, etc. Nothing worked until oxyclean.
  • Gra10692773
    on Feb 2, 2017

    Try running them through a full wash cycle with NO detergent! It could be a build up of too much soap!Good luck!
  • Mor16541336
    on Feb 2, 2017

    Dry immediately after washing
  • Gai7836997
    on Feb 2, 2017

    I've luck using 20 Mule Team Borax

  • you could always put some sachets in your closet where you store the towels.

  • Brenda
    on Feb 3, 2017

    It may be your washer. I use a washer cleaner once a month to remove any smell. Also you should leave the washing machine door open to allow it to dry out inside. Keeping a wet washer closed up causes mold and smells to grow.
  • Libby
    on Feb 4, 2017

    Much to my dismay, once we started washing in Hot water, the odors went away. Now I basically wash everything on hot.
    I also have a front loader; still use Cleaning vinegar from Lowes, Borax, and detergent.
    one thing that adds to the problem is letting wet towels and wash cloths be in the laundry pile.
  • Sylvia Candler
    Sylvia Candler
    on Feb 4, 2017

    20 Mule Team Borax is excellent for removing smells and it won't harm colors. Put directly in the wash cycle with your regular detergent. I use it all the time for my hub's smelly work clothes.
  • Penny
    on Feb 7, 2017

    Try putting one cup of vinegar in your rinse water, it will fluff your towels while drying and get rid of the musties that are usually from using dryer sheets over time, good luck!
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