Soured, Stinky, Smelly Laundry – How I got RID of that SOUR smell in my clothes and clean towels –
Do your clothes smell bad- like, REALLY bad?
Maybe you left those wet clothes in the washing machine too long again – and now your towels and clothes are stinky with that disgusting sour smell.
Ready to know my trick to get rid of that sour smell in laundry and remove that sour, moldy mildew odor from your towels and clothes?
It took me awhile to finally find a way that actually WORKED… I figured out how to get sour smell out of clothes!
Turns out, it was really easy.
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If your laundry smells BAD even after washing then you have sour-smelling laundry – and yes, it stinks! (but I know how to fix it!)
That sour smell has been described as “mildewy” and “musty” – some have told me it smells like mold or smells like rotten eggs or…. ugh… smells like vomit or sewage (guh-ROSS!)
This smelly situation made me CRAZY for so long – felt like I was always screaming to no one: WHY do my clothes smell SOUR?!?!
So, I tried all of these solutions to get the smell out…
What I Tried
Here’s what works – and what does NOT work to get that musty, mildewy sour smell out of clothes. As you’ll see, there are many ways suggested online, but only ONE of these methods worked for me.
- Add baking soda to your washing machine (NO, did NOT work for me)
- My Sour Laundry Remedy below (YES, it’s the ONLY thing that worked for getting that sour smell in my laundry GONE – it works every time. Read below and I’ll tell you how I do it)
- Buy fancy and expensive laundry additives (nope, total waste of money)
- Let clothes line dry in the sunlight (yeahhh… NO, did NOT work and who has TIME for THAT?!?!)
- Wash in super hot with tons of bleach (nope, that did not work either)
- Use a detergent with a super strong smell (Lordy, NO, that did NOT help either – my clothes smelled worse and my towels smelled like barf haha!)
- Use a mildew remover (no, no nooooo, that did not work)
- Use a lot of fabric softener (nope, didn’t work – that sour, musty smell was still there but now my laundry just smelled perfumey-gross)
- Buy all new clothes and towels (yes, someone online really suggested that haha!)
Below is how *I* get RID of that sour smell – it’s cheap, it really works AND it’s easy-peasy =)
✅ My Sour Laundry Remedy
I’d love to say I NEVER do this, but I forget about wet clothes in my washing machine a lot.
The day always starts with the best of intentions, but then, well – life happens.
I’ve often left clothes in the washer overnight (surely I’m not the only one who has ever left wet laundry in their washer overnight?)
And then, not only does my “clean” laundry STINK, but my washing machine stinks, too!
Thankfully, I have a super easy way to fix that =)
(note: I use one of these 3 washing machine cleaners – this Tide washing machine cleaner is my favorite – it makes the whole HOUSE smell GREAT!)
Truth be told, I even forgotten about a load of wet clothes in my washing machine for a week – and YES, that laundry load STUNK really badly.
You know the smell I’m talking about – it’s a stinky, sour, mildew type of odor.
What causes sour smelling laundry and how to fix clothes coming out of washing machine SMELLY?
If you’re SURE it’s your clothes, then let me tell you my secret stinky laundry remedy.
It’s such an easy DIY cleaning / laundry hack and works great every time!
Sour smelling towels and clothes are just gross, aren’t they?
But the good news is:
You CAN remove it with this simple little trick below.
If you’re wondering WHY your “clean” laundry really stinks, here’s how to get rid of that moldy, musty, stinky, gross smell –
Best of all – it’s super easy to get rid of that smell with one common household ingredient.
Yes, that plain old-fashioned white kind that you probably have in your kitchen pantry right now.
I buy a big ol’ container of it, like this:
For a just a few bucks, you have the secret remedy to SO many laundry woes right in your hand – and YES, this what will take the mildew smell out of clothes!
So grab your vinegar, hold your nose, and open that washing machine up.
Now, add about 1/2 a cup to a 1 cup of that vinegar to your load.
I pour mine in the detergent dispenser – that works for me.
Others say they just pour the vinegar around the tub right on the clothes and laundry – either way works.
Then, run your washing machine on the hottest cycle that load of clothes can handle.
(note: you do NOT need to also add laundry detergent, but you can if you want to).
NO, your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar when they’re finished with the wash cycle – they smell GREAT!
In fact, it’s the best way to get mildew smell out of clothes too!
Vinegar acts like a “clarifying” shampoo does for your hair – it removes all the stuff, and smells, and build-up.
In fact, if your towels are starting to get that not-so-fresh mildew-like smell – skip the fabric softener next time you wash a load of towels and use vinegar instead.
My sour laundry remedy is THE secret to many smelly laundry issues… and all you need is that one common household item.
Sour Laundry Causes, Solutions & Prevention
Below are 4 reasons WHY your laundry stinks and smells sour, ways to get rid of it, and how to PREVENT the smells from coming back.
✅ Dealing With Stains?
HE Washing Machine Tips
I have a HE (High Efficiency) washing machine – meaning it uses less water than a normal washing machine, but in most cases, even when I add the vinegar to the detergent dispenser, I do NOT have to set the load for an extra rinse cycle.
Here’s a little trick I use to get my HE washing machine to add more water during the cycle – I soak a towel or sweatshirt in water and then add it to the machine.
The extra weight in the load from the wet towel or sweatshirt will “trick” the washing machine into thinking it’s a bigger load than it is – and use more water in the cycle.
Removing Smells From Your Laundry
This laundry smell removal hack not only works to get that sour smell out of clothes and laundry left in the washer too long, it also works for these other smelly laundry problems:
Someone sneak a wet towel into a pile of dry clothes – and EVERYTHING stinks and smells like mildew?
Yes, this will fix it!
(ohhh, this is a big ‘pet peeve’ of mine!
It never fails – we go to the pool, and some child-who-shall-not-be-named sticks a WET towel into a bag of other DRY towels and then the bag sits in the HOT trunk… everything smells like mildew – yuck!)
If your towels or clothes smell like mildew or have that mildewy moldy smell – try my sour laundry solution above or, try this to remove mildew smell from clothes:
Potty Training Smells?
Potty training a toddler and have poo and pee undies to wash – TOTALLY try my laundry smell remover solution above.
Pet Urine Smells?
Have a pet who insists on peeing on towels? My homemade laundry smell remover above works for that too!
Cat urine is the worst!
I had a cat that INSISTED to peeing on any wet, or slightly damp, towel that was left on the ground.
I got pretty good at removing cat pee smell from just about anything haha!
Rotten Egg Smell?
If your laundry smells bad, it could very well be your washing machine that is the culprit.
If you smell a rotten egg sewage type of smell in your clothes or in your laundry room, try this:
Other Laundry Smells
Does your laundry smell bad after drying? Use my DIY laundry smell remover above and that smell will go away.
Have work clothes, kids sports clothes, workout clothes etc with strong odors? You guessed it – this works for that too.
If your clothes and towels and bed linens are just getting that musty smell – absolutely try this and those stinky smells will be gone.
Also, if your towels are starting to feel stiff and not clean, and have that “smelly stink” when you put your face into them after your shower – your towels have build-up from ALL those loads when you used fabric softener on them – do this for those towels too.
We really shouldn’t use fabric softener on towels – it actually makes them stiff, less clean AND less absorbent (which leads to them getting even more LESS clean each time you wash them!). Use vinegar on your towels instead – your towels will be so soft, super absorbent again and will smell SO good.
If you also have a HE washing machine, like I do – keep this in mind.
High Efficiency washing machines use less water and smells can build up in the tub of your washer pretty quickly – and you might have a sour washing machine, too.
High Efficiency washing machines use less water allowing mildew build up that make your clothes smell sour. My sour laundry remedy above WILL help.
Just keep in mind: It will be extra challenging to get bad smells out of your clothes and laundry if it’s your washing machine that is the issue.
Sour Washing Machine Remedy
Here’s my smelly washing machine remedy that I use when my washing machine smells sour. Here’s how to remove that sour smell from your washing machine.
First, if you’ve never used vinegar in your laundry washing cycle, you might want to clean your washing machine tub first to be sure your washing machine isn’t the cause of your smelly laundry.
I use this HE washing machine tub cleaner – and it smells SO good!
The whole house smells amazing after I use it!
That, alone, will remove a ton (if not ALL) of the stink – but if it doesn’t, wash every load with vinegar and the odors will be gone.
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