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Remember that time you went to the lake and forgot the wet towels and suits in a plastic bag in the trunk of the car? (Hoping I’m not the only one!) Then there’s your son’s sports clothes that smell like death. And what is up with the kitchen washcloths that form an unforgettably awful smell that gets on your hands? All these items can smell fresh again by simply running them through a couple cycles in the washing machine.
The following tutorial shares an easy way to freshen laundry using two simple panty ingredients, however, if you’d rather just pop something in the washing machine I highly recommend Dropps Active Wash Laundry Detergent Pods. My son plays football and his jersey and pads smell terrible, like roll down the windows terrible. We tried the Active Wear Pods and I cannot say enough good things about them. We used the Fresh Start scent, but there is also an unscented version or Rose Energy scent if you prefer.
What You Need Naturally Freshen Laundry
How to Naturally Freshen Laundry
Collect all your smelly things and put them in your washing machine. Run them through a normal cycle in hot water (or the hottest temperature the items can safely handle), but instead of using detergent, use 1 cup of vinegar. (The “Max Fill Line” on my washer only allows for about 1/2 cup vinegar, so that’s all I used, but if you have a top-loading washer, use a full cup).
Once the cycle is done, add 1/2 cup baking soda (instead of detergent) and run the load through another normal cycle in the hottest water your garment(s) can tolerate.
Remove the items as soon as the load has finished, because wet items in an enclosed space only creates that mildew smell again. Dry the items on the hottest dryer setting that the garments can tolerate and add a few drops of essential oil to some dryer balls. Remove promptly from the dryer. You should notice that the foul smell is gone and replaced with a fresh, clean scent.
*Keep in mind that while towels can handle heat, swimsuits cannot, so check the labels before choosing the temperature settings.
Bonus: I have a front-loading washer and sometimes it can start to smell pretty bad (which is, apparently, “normal” for front loaders). After following the above directions with towels, I noticed a significant difference just opening the door to the washer… even the washer itself smelled fresh!) For the full tutorial on cleaning a washing machine, check out this post.
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Love your blog! Found out a while back that manufacturers of front loaders recommend wiping down the door seal & leaving the door open after use in order to control mold/mildew. It helps.
Thanks Jessica! And, yes! Leaving the door open will help significantly. I actually talk about it in this post on cleaning your washing machine: https://www.lemonslavenderandlaundry.com/cleaning-tip-tuesday-cleaning-the-washing-machine/
However, I’ve never wiped down the seal after each use, but I bet that would be super helpful to eliminate the moisture and reduce any mold/mildew build-up. Thanks for the tip!
Oops! Guess I missed that one! 🙂
Mary-In the boondocks says
Erin these are really great tips.
Oooh, great tip!I’m going to save this for future use when I get my own place 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
Absolutely! Have an amazing day!
Good to know. My dishcloths smell like death way too often. I usually opt for bleach but this is such a better solution and not as harsh on my cloths either. Thanks!
Seriously! What is up with those dish rags? They are the WORST. I actually read that they house a ton of bacteria. Lovely. I know bleach is great for disinfecting, but vinegar does almost as good, and I’m fine with vinegar killing, like, 99.6% of bacteria vs. bleach that does 99.9%- especially because vinegar is so much safer. Hope you have a wonderful day!
Great tip. I will have to try it out sometime.
Wonderful! Have a great day!
Amy | Canary Street Crafts says
Great tips, Erin! We’ve had a front load washer for a few months and I know exactly what you’re talking about with it getting a little funky sometimes. Good to know your tip works to freshen the washer too!
Thanks Amy! Everyone seems to experience the same thing with that smell. I get why is happens, but it sure would be nice if the washing machine makers could come up with a solution. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! Thanks for stopping over!
Great tips!! I use baking soda in my wash about once a month and it seems to help. Just a note though- if you have extremely hard/limey water – vinegar will only exacerbate your problem so avoid it! (I learned that the hard way with cloth diapers) 🙂 I’m enjoying checking our your blog!
Interesting about the vinegar- I’ve used it to get rid of hard water stains on my faucet before, so I would have thought it would be helpful… good to know. Glad you’re enjoying the blog! Have a great day Teresa!