Tip: Easy Way to Get Rid of Laundry Odor for Good

For some strange reason, my son's clothes always have a terrible odor to them, even though he showers regularly. Washing with just laundry soap doesn't always get the smell out, but I started adding about half cup of lemon Lysol to the wash water & they come out smelling great. The only scent remaining is the soap & fabric softener.

Do you have any other tips for getting rid of laundry odor?
t laundry odor
  25 answers
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jan 16, 2017
    Oooh I'm going to try this, I also read somewhere to add half a cup of vinegar to the wash, but I haven't been brave enough to try yet. I've heard it doesn't make cloths smell vinegar-y at all

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    • Nettie Ferry Nettie Ferry on Jul 09, 2018
      Vinegar is great...I add 1/2 cup to rinse and it kills smoke odor from cigarettes! Happy washing!

  • Wendy O'Daly Wendy O'Daly on Jan 16, 2017
    needs to be white vinegar you can add about 1/2 to 1 cup the a large load. then replace fabric conditioner with white vinegar & it makes clothes softer & helps remove static electricity in the fabrics

  • Gail Farquhar Gail Farquhar on Jan 16, 2017
    For REALLY bad odors, especially mold/mildew I wash as usual then do another run with a white vinegar presoak followed by a baking soda wash and extra rinse. this WORKS and uses none of the toxic chemicals you get with commercial fabric softeners, lysol, etc.

  • LunJo LunJo on Jan 16, 2017
    This is awesome!

  • Janet C. Epstein Janet C. Epstein on Jan 16, 2017
    Perhaps your dryer isn't doing its job. I would get that smell in my towels if I took them out too soon. They seemed dry but weren't. Here's my problem.....my front loading washer smells bad if I don't always leave the door open?....

    • Bernice H Bernice H on Jan 31, 2017
      Yup...new and improved....there are so many posts on these dryers ..and washers...what a pain! We never had to leave doors open on the former machines...now you have to have a special laundry detergent , a special washer cleaner..and leave the door open when done to prevent mold!! You could go crazy reading people's comments....we just moved into a house that has the new big tubHE . I hate it..there is not enough water to cover and swish the clothes around. There are patches of lint on clothes because the clothes are all crammed together,and don't get tossed enough. Frustrating!

  • Florence Florence on Jan 16, 2017
    All the ideas are so good. Distilled white vinegar may also be used in the rinse cycle. It helps the soap to be released from most all the garments.
    As far as any smells in a front loader, top loader or also the dish washer, it would hurt to run an empty wash cycle with baking soda, or vinegar, with an essential oil of your choice. A citrus sent would be helpful, I would use a few drops. I've also tried the blend 'Thieves' with great results. If the smell is still nasty perhaps a cup or two of chlorine bleach could help. The scent may be bacteria based.
    Keeping the door open is helpful as the air may kill the surface bacteria, but a good flushing out of your appliance may be necessary to get to the root of the problem.

  • Florence Florence on Jan 16, 2017
    Regarding a typo: My previous suggestion should read; it would NOT hurt
    to run an empty wash cycle with baking soda, or vinegar,
    with an essential oil of your choice. Etc.

  • Liz Liz on Jan 16, 2017
    My son does medical research and he said that certain diseases can cause a strong body odor and the odor lingers in the clothes. A Dr. can do blood and urine tests to rule this out. Some people who don't drink enough water have a concentrated perspiration odor. Another possibility is if your son is active, plays sports, etc. and piles his damp dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, they can develop an odor before they're washed. Good luck!

    • Dee Dee on Jan 16, 2017
      Front load washers are notorious for stinky towels.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 16, 2017
    Guy's clothes tend to get odors from their gym bags, and other things that have liners or plastics and athletic shoe contact. They often sit in piles, damp not dried out and grow more 'mangus'. Avoid some of these odor traps and your chore might be lightened.

  • Jane Jane on Jan 16, 2017
    For clothes that smell musty I've had good luck with washing an average size load with a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar (no detergent or softener). The baking soda will fizzle but that's ok no harmful fumes here. Sometimes I have to wash the load twice then throughly dry as hot as the clothes can handle. I then clean the washer. The rubber door seal and the filter. If the washer still smells odd I do a very small load of cleaning clothes/rags (my washer manual states to never do and empty washer load) with clorox and hot water. This does it for me. Remembering to empty the washer as soon as possible after washing a load is sometimes hard but that generally will help keep clothes smelling fresh. Oh and I dry the door after emptying it and leave it slightly open most of the time.

  • Hiba Musmar Hiba Musmar on Jan 17, 2017
    you can add carbonat soda

    • Lisa Myers Lisa Myers on Jan 17, 2017
      I have used baking soda on my clothes when I got sprayed by a skunk. Surprisingly, the odor came out first wash. Tomato juice as body wash & shampoo.

  • Jeff Painter Jeff Painter on Jan 17, 2017
    Distilled white vinegar!!!!!! This will remove odors from the clothes while at the same time cleaning your washer.

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    • Mom15083239 Mom15083239 on Jan 20, 2017
      I have never heard of using black pepper to whiten anything . The non iodized salt is merely for ridding the odors that may be , and leaving it in the final rinse prevents new odors from developing . I wouldn't hesitate to use a half cup of non iodized salt ~ disolved in hot or warm water. I usually just run a bit of warm or hot water as the tub begins to fill. I find oxyclean to be very helpful for whitening clothes safely in the wash cycle.

  • Florence Florence on Jan 18, 2017
    Don't stop! Try baking soda next time.

  • Janet C. Epstein Janet C. Epstein on Jan 18, 2017
    This is the BEST website....Intelligent ideas immediately....woooo woooo!

  • Susan Caswell Susan Caswell on Jan 19, 2017
    All of the above are good suggestions. I Seemed to have that problem with just towels. Then I read that it was because the towels weren't really dry when put away. Towels get an extra 10 min. No more smell.

  • Rene Williams Rene Williams on Jan 19, 2017
    It is also important to clean the rubber seal on a front-loader. Amazing how much scum accumulates on the inside (hidden) surface!

  • Car17221775 Car17221775 on Jan 19, 2017
    I switched from chlorine bleach to oxygen bleach and it has made a huge difference in the odors which I was noticing on my husband's undershirts and on sheets which had been stored on a closet shelf.

  • Veronica Davenport Veronica Davenport on Jan 24, 2017
    Always keep your washer door open when not in use.

  • J Elaine Baker J Elaine Baker on Jan 24, 2017
    Laundry solutions aside, the boy's skin is too acid ... bacteria proliferates in acidic environments. He needs to avoid all SODA drinks and drink more water. Buy some Ph test strips and make it a routine to chart his acidity level through the day. Find out WHAT is his downfall. Something is causing him to make that body odor.

    Is it a big issue? Well, in a maturing body, the better you maintain Ph balance into optimum alkalinity, then the better your general health. (BTW, all cancer patients have ACID blood levels and numerous blood parasites reducing their immune system.) So, I have wished more people did an annual parasite purge (there are natural recipes for using pumpkin seeds etc).

    If your Ph test strip is a 1-14 level, optimum is 6 or 7. I do a reset on people's skin by sit down baths in an organic soap. Thirty minutes in a trace mineral laden soak and it is AMAZING how healthy a person can feel afterward. I get my trace minerals from a soil remediation expert in Texas. Learn more: www.enviromateinc.com

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    • Bernice H Bernice H on Jan 31, 2017
      Good for you ,mom. I dated a man with terrible garlic odor when sweating! So above poster has some good input!

  • Mls17539194 Mls17539194 on Jan 27, 2017
    I learned from my Aunt Betty (many years ago) to use Borax to remove that sour smell from dark colors and towels. This is not a cover-up - it completely removes the odor. P.S. I've raised 4 kids since 1965 and used this method since then.

  • Julie Julie on Jan 27, 2017
    perspiration gets into the fibres of the material.So try a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the wash.Everytime u wash it may take a few goes.Also it is great for adding to towels when washing.Leaves a fresh smell and softens.

  • BILLIE BILLIE on Jan 27, 2017
    thanks everyo for all the tips.

  • Julie Julie on Jan 30, 2017
    HI Lisa u r welcome Kind Regards Julie

  • Annie Doherty Annie Doherty on Jan 30, 2017
    Some wonderful tips here thank you. I am learning so much since becoming a member I love this site.

  • Maria Swain Maria Swain on Jan 31, 2017
    I rehash using 1 cup of vinegar and extra rinse. Also, using 2 or 3 tennis balls in dryer will dry and fluff towels faster.