Do your clothes sometimes smell musty or dirty, even immediately after you wash them? Would you like your clothing to smell better in general? There are many things you can do when you’re washing, drying and storing your garments to avoid unpleasant odors from creeping into the fibers. If you are dealing with bad-smelling clothes right now and need a quick fix, don’t worry! There are ways you can freshen them up, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
- Method 1.
Washing Your Clothes
- Leggings, shirts, socks, swimsuits, tights, camisoles, tank tops and underwear should be washed after each wearing.
- Dresses, jeans, slacks, pajamas, shorts, and skirts can be worn three or times before washing.
- You can wear a bra two to three times before it will need to be washed. Consider buying several bras, so that you never wear the same bra two times in a row.
- You can wear a suit three to five times before it will need to be dry cleaned. Suits worn to clean environments, such as offices, can last longer between cleaning. Suits worn to smoky or smoggy environments will need to be cleaned more often.
2. Use scented laundry detergent or essential oils.
Most laundry detergents have a fresh scent, but some are more strongly scented than others. Look for brands that advertise a specific scent on their labels. Always use the recommended amount of detergent. It’s tempting to pour in a little extra, but this can leave a residue and actually cause clothes to smell bad. If you’d rather avoid commercial perfumes, try adding ten to twenty drops of essential oil to the washing machine during the final rinse cycle.
- Make sure you like the smell before purchasing a scented detergent, since they tend to be a little pricier. Unscrew the cap and give it a quick sniff in the store.
- Experiment with essential oils to find your favorites. Don’t be afraid to combine different oils to create a custom scent.
3. Remove items from the washing machine as soon as possible.
After running a load of laundry through a wash cycle, try to take out your clothing quickly. Hang the items up to dry or transfer them to the dryer immediately. Leaving wet clothes in the washer too long causes mildew to form, which can create a musty and unpleasant odor on your clothing. If you accidentally forget about clothes in the washing machine and they become mildewed, you can easily deodorize them with white vinegar.
- Pour one cup of white vinegar in the detergent dispenser and wash the mildewed clothes again.
- This will get rid of the bad smell, but if you want your clothes to smell good, you may want to follow that up with another cycle using detergent.
- If you prefer, you can use bleach or a commercial washing machine cleaner instead of vinegar.
- If you use bleach, wash white clothing in the first laundry load after cleaning.
- Leave the lid or door open when you’re not using it. Closing it traps in moisture and allows mildew and odor-causing bacteria to grow.
Drying Your Clothes
Dryer sheets leave your clothes smell nice while also keeping them soft and static-free. Simply toss a dryer sheet into the dryer with a load of freshly washed laundry and proceed as you normally would. If you have a scented detergent that you prefer, check to see if the brand sells dryer sheets with the same scent.
- You can also scent your clothing by putting a few drops of essential oil on a scrap of fabric, then tossing it into the dryer with the rest of your laundry.
- Always discard dryer sheets after one use.
- You can also soak a few towels with vinegar and run them through a drying cycle. The vinegar will kill any odor-causing bacteria.
- If you have white clothes, hang them out in the sun. Not only will the sun brighten them, but the open air will leave them smelling nice and fresh.
- Keep in mind that air-dried clothes will not be as soft as clothes dried in a dryer.
Storing Your Clothes
- You can use dryer sheets in a similar way to absorb odors and freshen cloths. Tuck them in your shoes and slip them into dresser drawers and closet shelves.
- Place an unlit candle or a bar of scented soap wrapped in cloth in your closet or in a dresser drawer.
- You can even use a bath bomb as an air freshener in a closet.
- Spray this in your closet every few days.
- The vinegar smell disappears after a few minutes, leaving only the scent behind.
Place an open container of baking soda at the bottom of your closet or in the corner of a dresser drawer. If you like, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda for an additional scent. Make your own baking soda freshener by taking a small jar and filling it loosely with baking soda. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and mix it with a fork. Poke a few holes into the lid using a nail and hammer, then put the lid onto the jar.
- You can simply not use a lid, as well. This isn’t recommended if you have small children or curious pets, however.
- Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to soak up bad odors. Be sure to dump it out of your shoes the next day!
Freshening Up Clothing and Preventing Odors
- Test the vinegar solution on a small area of the garment before spraying the whole thing with it. As long as the color doesn’t run and there’s no visible change to the item, it is safe for you to use.
3. Spritz perfume.
It is best to spray the perfume directly onto your body and then get dressed. You can spray perfume directly on your clothes if the item is made out of natural fibers, like cotton and linen. Avoid spraying synthetic fibers, such as polyester, with perfume. Be aware that some perfumes can stain light-colored items and damage silk.
4. Keep your house clean.
Clothes can absorb odors, so if your house doesn’t smell so great, neither will your clothes. Clean, dust and vacuum your home regularly, especially the rooms that contain clothing. Use air fresheners and avoid smoking inside the house.
5. Air out your clothes after wearing them.
When you get home from school or work, take off your clothes and hang them by an open window. This can help reduce odors and refresh your clothes. This is especially helpful if you wear a uniform and don’t want to wash it every day.
6. Keep dirty clothes and clean clothes separated.
Never leave your dirty clothes near or on top of your clean clothes, because the smell can transfer. Place dirty items in a hamper, preferably in another room. Avoid putting wet or damp items into the hamper. Let the damp item dry before putting it into the laundry basket. Putting damp items into your laundry basket will cause odor-causing bacteria and mildew to grow.