How to Make Laundry Smell Good

Clothing that retains an unpleasant odor after washing can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to wear. When laundry is overloaded, washed in a dirty machine or not washed in high-quality detergent, foul odor will become more difficult to remove. Make your laundry smell good by taking care to keep your appliances clean and your clothing washed frequently and thoroughly.


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    Clean your washer and dryer.
    • Occasionally spray the drums with household cleaner and wipe them down with a damp washcloth. Then run your washer through a hot water cycle after pouring in a product specifically made to clean washers or after adding a sprinkling of baking soda.
    • Keep your washer lid open as often as possible to let the drum air out and avoid any mildew growth.
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    Separate heavily soiled and/or smelly clothes into small loads, in order to make sure they have enough space in the washer to be adequately cleaned.
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    Wash damp clothing or towels immediately. Letting them sit in a pile will make odor more difficult to remove.
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    Pretreat visible stains with special gels, sticks or sprays that are designed to remove discoloration and odor. You may also spray stains with distilled white vinegar poured into a clean spray bottle.
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    Wash heavily soiled clothing at the hottest temperature that is safe for the fabric in the load.
    • Hot water is most likely to kill odor-causing bacteria. It also helps the detergent form a stronger lather and more effectively clean.
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    Choose a detergent that is specially formulated for tough odors, or select one that contains an odor-killing additive.
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    Run clothing through an extra rinse cycle, adding a dash of white vinegar and a sprinkling of baking soda to the water.
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    Place clean clothes in the dryer, or hang them on a clothesline, immediately. Do not allow them to sit in the washer.
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    Add a scented fabric softening sheet into the dryer with the clothing, or hang them on a clothesline in direct sunlight.
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    Hang or fold clothes immediately once they have thoroughly dried. Use sachets to scent the drawers and closets where your clothing is stored.


  • If workout clothes are a source of odor, sprinkle baking soda in your gym bag, or keep an open container of baking soda inside of it. The baking soda will neutralize the odor so your clothing doesn't absorb the odor while zippered inside of your bag.
  • To remove stubborn odor from cigarette or campfire smoke, pour a splash of white vinegar into a bathtub full of scalding hot water, then hang the clothing on the shower rod, shut the door to the bathroom, and allow the clothes to absorb the steam for 10 minutes. Follow up with a through wash in your washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Household cleaner
  • Washcloth
  • Washer cleaning product (optional)
  • Baking soda
  • Stain treatment product (optional)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheet
  • Clothesline (optional)
  • Sachets (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Laundry