If you ever experience clothes that smell after washing and drying and want to know how to remove odor from these clothes, this DIY solution will get rid of the funky laundry smells once and for all.
From body odors to gym clothes, it’s no secret that smelly clothes are the WORST. And when those bad smells hit, you want to find the easiest way to get rid of them fast to start breathing in that fresh air as soon as possible.
The Funk. The whole Funk. And nothing but the Funk. irty clothes and bad odors can seriously be the worst. The good news? There are ways to get rid of those unpleasant smells!
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We recently moved into an apartment while our new house is being built. And the water here smells, for lack of a better word, Funky. It isn’t a problem in the kitchen because we filter it for drinking and cooking. And you don’t really notice it in the bathroom. But our laundry smells Funky, a sort of musty mildew smell. To make it worse, I have this laundry-forgetting problem. I leave loads in the washer for hours (ahem, days) and it only makes the Funky laundry smell stronger.
Being cramped into this little apartment means the Funk smell is everywhere. It taps you on the shoulder in the morning. It slaps you in the face when you walk in the front door.
Funky-water problem + Laundry forgetting problem = Crazy Funky Laundry Smell. Crazy Funky laundry smell + Sensitive-nosed-husband = Unhappy Home
I needed a way to overcome the musty mildew Funky laundry smell quickly, but without using something that would set off my infant daughter’s really aggressive eczema.
How to Remove Odor from Clothes that Smell After Washing
Method 1: Remove Tough Odors from clothes with Vinegar
I already use vinegar for most of the cleaning I do around the house. And I have used vinegar to wash out the mildew smell from previous laundry-forgetting. But it just wasn’t doing enough in this apartment.
I started experimenting with various combinations of laundry solutions.
Method 2: Remove Odor from Clothes with Vinegar & Dish Soap
First I tried vinegar with dish soap. I’ve used dish soap in my laundry to remove biological stains – like oil or grease or baby food – and it works great. But that didn’t really work for the Funk.
Method 3: Remove Laundry Odors with Vinegar & OxiClean
Next, I tried vinegar and OxiClean. Again, no real improvement here either. I did manage to bleach some spots on my husband’s t-shirts though. Sigh.
I’m thinking that I may have understated the severity of the Funk.
Method 4: Remove Laundry Odors with Vinegar, Dish Soap, OxiClean and Bleach
Then I tried all of them together. I mean, why not right?
Since I tossed the bleach into the mix again, it worked, though had the added “bonus” of blue spots on my whites courtesy of the dish soap. However, I can’t use this formula on anything besides my white clothes.
There didn’t really seem to be a good answer here. And putting the laundry straight into the dryer, which we know is a herculean task for me, made a (very small) difference. The Funk was still hanging around our home.
It got so bad that I was spraying our clean laundry with our all-natural bug spray. It’s a family recipe using water and a combination of the following essential oils: lemon, lime, orange, citronella, and lavender. We love the smell of the bug spray, and it’s phenomenal at repelling bugs.
After a recent bout of food poisoning sickness with our kids I needed a deFUNKifier spray for their mattresses and bedroom. I took our bug spray and swapped out the citronella with grapefruit. It worked and it smelled glorious.
Method 5: Remove Odor from Clothes that Smell After Washing with “The DeFUNKifier Mix”
And then it hit me. I could use the deFUNKifier mix with vinegar on the laundry.
I grabbed an empty mason jar (and lid) and added four cups of white, distilled vinegar.
Closed it up and shook it to combine. I may or may not have done a bit of a conga line with my kids while shaking and singing “Shake, shake, shake Senora.”
Then I added a quarter cup, or so to my wash. Okay, let’s be honest, I didn’t measure. So, I added a “splash” to both the bleach dispenser and the laundry softener dispenser on my washing machine. I told the machine to pre-soak and extra rinse and pushed go.
The verdict? No Funk! Not even a hint of Funk. Hooray! I definitely did a happy dance when I pulled the laundry out of the washing machine!
Now every time I do a load I add a splash or two to each compartment – after a little bit of a shake to recombine, of course. I’m calling it my Laundry DeFUNKifier. And it’s awesome.
Preventative Tips for getting rid of that awful musty smell and stink odor on your clothes
Keep in mind that you need to make sure that you’re on top of changing out the wash load right away and putting it into the dryer. Musty clothes and musty towels can happen quickly if they’re left in the washing machine for too long after the rinse cycle is done. One of the most common reasons for sour smells and mildew odor is that we just forgot that we’d added a load of laundry to the machine!
If you want that fresh scent of your favorite detergent, be quick about putting the fabrics into the dryer to avoid odor issues. That’s one of the best ways to avoid having to do the wash cycle over and over again.
Follow the simple steps above on how to get your workout clothes and your sweaty clothes to smell like amazing clean clothes should! In no time at all, that musty odor will be a thing of the past from just one wash!
Course, you should check out this post on how to get sweat smell out of clothes if that’s the issue you’re having or this one on how to remove mildew smells from kitchen towels! The product she uses for both of those is fantastic!
How do you remove laundry smells from your clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing?
For more smell-fighting tips, check out the following ways on how to clean away the odors: