Laundry Smell

Updated on September 21, 2009
T.W. asks from Twinsburg, OH
27 answers

Ooops... I goofed and forgot I had a wet load of laundry in the washing machine for the past two days... the smell coming from the laundry room was absolutely putrid! Anyway, I'm running the load through again in hot water with more detergent as I write this, but I'm afraid the smell is not going to come out of the clothes. Any suggestions to get the horrible smell out of these clothes (it was a load of lights BTW).
Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all of you great ladies who responded. I ran the load through with just detergent before i had received your responses and that didn't help, so I ran it through another time with a cup of vinegar as suggested, and VOILA... clean smelling clothes:) I was really afraid I was going to have to get rid of the majority of those clothes, so thanks so much for your help!

Featured Answers

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M.B.

answers from Bloomington on

Try washing them again using white vinegar and a standard about of detergent. Don't worry about the vinegar smell, it will wash out. I've forgotten about the laundry a time or two myself and this technique has always worked for me.

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A.V.

answers from Indianapolis on

Try doing a presoak with some oxyclean. Otherwise I use baking soda too. I know, I've been there before! Good luck!

A. V.

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D.G.

answers from Columbus on

Let the washer fill up with hot water and add baking soda to it, mix it up well then wash as usual. It should remove all smells.

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B.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

You could try a cup of white vinegar

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.B.

answers from Bloomington on

Try washing them again using white vinegar and a standard about of detergent. Don't worry about the vinegar smell, it will wash out. I've forgotten about the laundry a time or two myself and this technique has always worked for me.

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A.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

no problem...vinegar....just pour a couple of cups in with your load. You can't over do it. Just don't bother with UNDER doing it! Once you dry them, the smell of the vinegar will be gone. I rely on it OFTEN for so many things...gotta love vinegar! Plus it is a fabric softner.

A.

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P.D.

answers from Cleveland on

Try some vinegar. Maybe 1/2 cup to a cup depending on the size of the load.

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A.R.

answers from Cleveland on

Hey T.! I know you got a lot of replies, and I am not sure if anyone has suggested this or not, but Melaleuca is a company that has some FABULOUS household products (laundry stuff included) that smell great, get out stains and odors (and grease) like no other, and don't have any harsh chemicals. It may not help you this time, but it might be something to look into in the future. I've been using their products for 5 years and they are healthy for my family and the environment, smell great, and COST LESS than regular grocery store brands, which is amazing. Let me know if you want more details. :) Have a great day!
-A.

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D.G.

answers from Columbus on

Let the washer fill up with hot water and add baking soda to it, mix it up well then wash as usual. It should remove all smells.

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M.K.

answers from Columbus on

T.:

Been there, done that!!! Depending on how bad the smell is, just do a rinse cycle with vinegar!! Otherwise you may just have to run the whole wash cycle - either way, use vinegar. I just put the vinegar in with the soap at the beginning; or you can put it in the bleach dispenser. Works every time for me. Sorry, if I'm repeating what someone else has said!!

Good Luck!!!

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C.

answers from Cleveland on

Use 1 cup of ammonia, just like you would bleach. I do this frequently for towels that don't get dried all the way and then get folded. Yuck! It's safe for colors too.

C.

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

I'd run some water in there and dump a box of baking soda in. Run the washer just enough to disolve and let it sit for about an hour. Run the regular wash cycle again...adding detergent. The baking soda should absorb the odors.

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S.F.

answers from Cleveland on

add a cup of white vinegar when you re-wash... odor will be gone!

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

The second wash should take care of it. If not, add a cup of vinegar and run a rinse cycle.

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M.P.

answers from Cleveland on

Try a cup of white vinegar.

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T.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

Oxyclean powder...2 scoops w. normal detergent...works wonders!

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K.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Wash with a cup of baking soda.

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A.V.

answers from Indianapolis on

Try doing a presoak with some oxyclean. Otherwise I use baking soda too. I know, I've been there before! Good luck!

A. V.

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H.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

If you run the load with a 1/4 cup of baking soda and half a cap of laundry deterg. the smell will come out. Good luck!

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R.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

Once your clothes are washed, be sure to leave the lid open on the washer so it can dry out. This will help get rid of the sour smell in the washer if there is any after you take the clothes out. I regularly forget loads in the laundry.

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K.P.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Hi T. I have the exact item you need. Go to a hardware store and ask for MPC. It is Country Morning Refresh, it is an odor counter actant matinance solution. My mother in law lived with us for six years and we bought her house and after sitting empty for those years everything in it smelled musty. When we was ready to wash curtains and other things the MPC took the smell out and smelled so good. I feel sure that it will help in your situation.

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K.V.

answers from Columbus on

Run it through a cold rinse with a cup of white vinager. It will remove the smell and soften your clothes as well.

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B.A.

answers from Indianapolis on

UNfortunatly this happens to me way to frequentley, I also have a cat that likes to urinate on my clothes that are to be washed. Odor-Ban works great for both smells. I also had noticed that my washing machine stunk and I just ran a empy load with odor ban and my washing machine does not smell any more.

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

Add about a cup of vinegar to the water when you first put in the detergent and water, before adding clothes. It'll smell at first but once the clothes are dry there is no smell at all.

I add 1/2 cup of vinegar with the detergent/water of every load. Havent' used fabric softener or dryer sheets (I do have 2 dryer balls). Saves a ton of money and works great - haven't bought dryer sheets or fabric softener in over 3 years! (and no stinky clothes if they get left for a day or 2)

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K.W.

answers from Muncie on

Use vinegar in place of your softener. I do this for all my loads. It works great! Clothes are soft too and it's much cheaper.

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S.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

Put vinegar in your next load of clothes...works like a charm. I have a 22 yr old son that forgets alot (I think he does it on purpose so I will finish it for him!!) Anyway, I put a cup of vinegar in the next load and the smell is gone!

A.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have done that more times than I care to mention. LOL! Running it through once more (sometimes twice) should do it. Like you said, make sure you add more detergent because it is now like a dirty load. I also use a little extra liquid fabric softener & then dryer sheets to help it out some. Good luck T.!

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S.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

an added advantage of vinegar is it keeps colors from bleeding.

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D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

We've really struggled with this - the best advice I've received was to run the load through (a few times) with white vinegar and baking soda.
Recently, we've really had a problem with the mildew stink although it's not been because of leaving things in the washer too long.
Please let us all know if you find something that works!

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

I've always heard hot water and extra detergent. Sometimes you need to do it twice. I have a hard time b/c we have hard water...and to get the smell out takes a little more work. If you have hard water I've heard of taking a tsb of table salt and throwing into the laundry also. (Afterall what are they putting into water softners? Salt!)I don't know if this will help or not. Best of luck!

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