5+ Most Common Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Washing

Von John Griffith / May 12 2022

Has your laundry started to smell less often like fresh cotton and daisies and more of stale bog? There many be plenty of reasons hiding behind the horrid smell. Nobody wants to put their clothes to be washed and for them to come out seemingly worse than before they were put in. So, what do you do know? Knowing where the problem lies is the first step and the key to figuring out how to fix it. That’s why today we’re going to take a look at the 10 most common reasons why clothes smell after washing. Finding out why your clothes smell, will help you fix the issue and once again you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, nice smelling laundry.

There many be plenty of reasons hiding behind the horrid smell

woman with blue jeans in a washing machine

Reasons Why Clothes Smell After Washing

This odor that you’ve come into battle with is probably a lovely mix of stale musk, dirty water, and a sour smell. All of this is usually caused by mold, bacteria, and mildew. It’s bacteria’s fault that gives the clothes this foul aroma. However, don’t worry this is a fixable issue. All it’s going to take is either some cleaning or a change in laundry habits. So, let’s see what can be causing the fact that clothes smell after washing.

The terrible smell is usually caused by mold, bacteria, and mildew

clothes smell after washing white wahsing machine in home

The Washing Machine Is Dirty

It may be that the insides of your washing machine is dirty. Washers tend to retain stagnant water. This water is packed with limestone, which is the main reason for bacteria to form as well as old. Consequently leading to blocked filters and stinky smells. However, on the bright sides you don’t need to call in a repair shop to get it fixed. You can clean it yourself! The main things you should take care of is the washing machine drawer, the filter, and the rubber seal.

It may be that the insides of your washing machine is dirty

clothes are smelly after washing cleaning washingmachine rim with towel

You’ve Used Way Too Much (Or Too Little) Detergent

Be honest, are you actually measuring the detergent based on the manufacturers instructions or are you eyeballing it? Too much detergent will not be able to get rinsed off properly. This will likely mean it’s growing to remain on the fabric. Consequently, making a perfect environment for mold growth and waterlogging. On the other hand, if you use too little of the detergent, you won’t be able to clean your clothes properly. Always check the manufacturers instructions for the correct amount.

Find the perfect balance between too much and too little 

why do my clothes smell detergent being poured into washing machine

It’s Takes Way Too Long For The Clothes To Dry

If your clothes constantly have a wet, damp smell to them, then they are probably taking way too long to dry. The ideal drying time for wet laundry should be a couple of hours. If you’ve hung them outside while the weather is rainy or moist, they will take way too long to dry, and they’ll end up smelling moldy and damp. If you can, it’s best to invest in a dryer or put the clothes in a spot where it’s warm enough for them to dry.

The ideal drying time for wet laundry should be a couple of hours

washing line with different types of clothes

You’ve Overloaded The Machine

In order for your clothes to be properly cleaned they need space within the washer. This is because they need to spin and move around. By overloading it you aren’t letting the machine do its job and often the clothes are still soaking when the program has finished. While it’s tempting to try to get rid of as many loads as possible, it’s quite counterproductive in the long run.

In order for your clothes to be properly cleaned they need space within the washer

child bent over into the washing machine

The Clothes Have Been Sitting In The Machine Too Long

We’ve all been there. It’s late, you’ve just put on another laundry load in the washing machine, and you’re too tired to wait the program out. So, you leave the clothes in the washer. But then you also forget them in the morning, and they sit even more. By the time you’ve got to them, they have overstayed their time. The longer you leave them, the more stale they will smell. Try to get the laundry out as quick as you can after the program has ended to avoid this.

The longer you leave clothes in the washer, the more stale they will smell

smelly clothes clothes in the washing machine door

The Water Is Too Cold

Some clothes need warmer temperatures than others. For example, there is a right and wrong way when it comes to washing your towels. Same goes for your clothes. While lower temperatures help protect the fabric, they might not always get the job done when it comes to cleaning. So, sweat stains may still smell even after washing them. Check the clothing label to see what the maximum washing temperature is to ensure the clothes are clean. You can also always add a bit of white vinegar to your laundry detergent to help get any bad odors out of the clothes.

Tougher smells and stains need warmer temperatures than others

clothes smell after washing dirty laundry in a blue baskey

If you’ve cleaned the machine, changed your laundry habits, started drying them properly, and they still smell, then it may be time for a new washing machine. On the bright side, instead of throwing your old one away you can just recycle or repurpose the washing machine. However, most of these tips should have been able to get that nasty stench out of your beautiful clothes. Now you can finally enjoy soft, clean smelling laundry.

Enjoy clean and fresh smelling laundry

washed clothes smell woman smelling laundry

Read more