45 answers

Help Getting That Weird Smell Out of Washcloths

Does anyone know what causes and how to remove that weird metallic/mildewy smell that washcloths get after a while? We wash our washcloths often, but after a while they start getting a funky smell. I tried baking soda with the laundry detergent, but that only seemed to help until the next time we used them. I'd rather not throw them out- we haven't had them that long! Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

7 moms found this helpful

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Featured Answers

I got this from a magazine a few months ago.........it seems to help.
Use hot water in the washer with normal amount of detergent. Add 1/2cup "washing" soda (sodium carbonate). You can find it by the detergents in the store.
Then add 1/2cup baking soda to the rinse cycle. You may have to retreat initially.
S.

1 mom found this helpful

That happens with bath towels to! I threw a bunch out, bought new ones and the smell is back. I'd love to hear the solution.

Hi L.-
Try some amonia or pine sol. I've had the same problem, and this seem to weok for me. Also try to twice, this should help also. Good Luck!

More Answers

Check out this site for alternative cleaning methods by SWANCC. This topic is under "Removal - Odors". I've tried it on towels and it really works!

http://www.swancc.org/pdfs/HCW/acm-web.pdf

Add Borax to the wash cycle and vinegar to the rinse cycle. Let the washcloths/towels soak for a couple of hours and then wash as usual but DON’T use fabric softener, use white vinegar in rinse dispenser. I can find a box of Borax at Jewel, in the laundry detergent section - it's very inexpensive.

2 moms found this helpful

If you haven't yet tried it, try BioKleen Bac-Out added to the wash (or soak them in it first before washing). Tea tree oil also helps with its antibacterial & antifungal properties. Definitely use vinegar in the rinse cycle. And if you can hang them outside to dry in the sun, that will also help, too. Do NOT use fabric softener dryer sheets, as they will cause build up in the fibers that will trap future odors.

1 mom found this helpful

We have customers with this problem with their reusable diapers. We wash diapers and in this case washcloths so much, that in hard water areas like IL the cloths end up with a mineral buildup from the water. Washing in hot water just intensifies the problem.

The solution though is to strip the cloths or diapers using a product called Calgon found in your laundry aid aisle near the bleaches, borax, etc. Just follow the instructions on the bottle.

1 mom found this helpful

The only thing that's worked for me is a cup of Oxyclean powder added to hot water as it's filling up, regular detergent.

I do this with all my dishrags and don't have a problem with smell break-through anymore. Our dishrags get very mildewy!

1 mom found this helpful

I got this from a magazine a few months ago.........it seems to help.
Use hot water in the washer with normal amount of detergent. Add 1/2cup "washing" soda (sodium carbonate). You can find it by the detergents in the store.
Then add 1/2cup baking soda to the rinse cycle. You may have to retreat initially.
S.

1 mom found this helpful

If they are white, you can add bleach and than a pleasant smelling liquid softener. Liquid is much better for the life of your dryer too. If they are colored, add oxyclean dry powder to your laundry detergent and than again with the fabric softener.

I have the same problem...bleach works for awhile, but it always comes back. I have had success with Borax, especially if you have hard water. You can use it in any load and it won't hurt the clothes. Smells good too.

Also check out the Queen of Clean Does Dirty Laundry book...she has great solutions. (Her solution for grease/oil in clothes...spray on WD40 and use undiluted dish soap on the stain before washing...I tried it on linen pants with door grease on them...TOTALLY WORKED!! I'm impressed!) She may have a good easy solution for odor in her updated books...my old one says soak in baking soda and water before washing.

Hi L.,
Try some vinegar in the washer with your washcloths and towels. Vinegar is a natural bacteria killer and will kill the smell, but not leave its own smell. When I do our towels and washcloths, I put half a cup about once every four to six washing depending on your frequency of washing them. Hope this helps.

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