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Smelly Laundry Tip

It seems like I’ve had a string of bad luck lately when it comes to repairs lately…. the refrigerator, vacuum, car, toaster, window, and my dryer have all broken recently.

Since I knew the dryer repair would be expensive, and this summer has been HOT, I took my time to schedule the repair.  My laundry dries in a fraction of the time hanging outside on my rack than it does in the dryer.  I use my drying rack to dry a lot of my clothes already anyway.  I love the clean, fresh smell of clothes dried on the line.  I only really hate drying towels outside.  Scratchy!

Once I got around to scheduling the repair, I had to wait longer still, since the part seemed to be on a slow boat from China.  As long as the weather has been hot and fair, it’s been mostly great to dry all my laundry outside.

But the last few weeks have brought a mix of weather.  We’ve had some torrential rain here, and since we had a fire on the mountain above our town last year, we’ve even had flooding in nearby neighborhoods.

A few weeks ago, I was crazy busy and hurrying to put wet laundry out on the line when I noticed dark and threatening clouds in the distant sky.  The wind was picking up.  A storm was coming.  So I threw the wet laundry back into my basket and raced it back into the house.  Thanks to my crazy schedule, it sat in the basket in the laundry room, as the rain poured down outside and was forgotten until the next afternoon.  By that point the whole load of laundry smelled musky and and mildewy.

I tossed it all back into the wash, but several items came out still smelling bad.

For laundry odors, I’ve used baking soda, vinegar, and borax.  And of the three, my favorite in Borax.

Here’s how:  I fill my laundry sink (you can use a basin too) with several gallons of water, add approximately 1 tablespoon of Borax per gallon.  Stir to dissolve the Borax.  Then soak the smelly clothes for several hours. It’s a solution that works well for my husband’s stinky running clothes and my kids’ stinky soccer stuff.  After soaking, toss them in the washer and launder as usual.

It takes care of every odor I’ve had trouble with…

I’ve had several requests for a solution for smelly towels, but since I don’t have that problem, I can’t say first hand if Borax works… though I suspect it would be great.  If you’ve tried Borax for smelly towels, or another solution that works, I’d love to hear.



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8 Responses to “Smelly Laundry Tip”

  • That is a great tip and I’ll have to try it next time. I usually rewash (towels too) with a cup of vinegar and it takes out the soured smell.

  • I always add vinegar to the rinse when I wash towels. It works wonders.

  • Kelly:

    I have success if I wash in hot water and dry on high heat and then of course I insist that wet towels are hung up instead of rolled up in a ball on the floor.

  • Donna Hollingsworth:

    I always use 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar in the laundry with my towels. It takes the smell out and seems to make them feel more absorbent and fluffy. Hope this helps!

  • Wendy Barker Paull:

    My laundry area is in the hot, humid garage. If I forget a load, they smell bad very quickly, so I rewash them with Lysol liquid and it does a good job.

    I will have to try borax, because I bet it is a lot cheaper.

    I wish I could hang clothes outside, but it is even hotter and more humid outside!

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Nothing worse than mildew cloths making double the work.
    I’ve used Ammonia. About 1 cup works like a charm every time.
    Use it in the wash cycle and just go through the regular cycle.
    In the end no mildew.

  • Sherrill:

    Wouldn’t it work the same if you used the borax in the wash along with the detergent? Just wondering….

    • Hi Sherrill, I make my own laundry detergent and it contains a lot of Borax. But for really stinky things, it just needs that time to soak. Maybe it’s because I have a front loader and it doesn’t sit in a lot of water while washing.

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