How To Make Your Laundry Smell Good and Stay Fresh For Long

Scents can take you on a stroll down memory lane. The sense of smell has a direct link to emotions and memories, unlike other senses. This is why scent leaves a lasting and memorable impression. With this, it is only imperative that you start the day wearing clean and fresh-smelling clothes.

But what do you do when your laundry does not smell good even after washing? It is such a waste to spend time doing the laundry, only for your clothes to come out stinky. In today’s post, you will learn what causes foul odor on freshly laundered clothes and how to make laundry smell good.

What’s Hindering Your Laundry From Smelling Good?

You are washing your clothes to clean them. A thoroughly cleaned laundry smells good. If it does not smell fresh and clean, there must be something wrong with how you do the laundry. Here are some common culprits that make your laundry smell awful:

Too much or too little detergent

Detergents clean and disinfect laundry. But using too much or too little of this wonder powder can affect how clothes are cleaned. It also has a say in how your laundry smells.

You may not clean your clothes properly when you use an inadequate amount of detergent for one laundry cycle. However, excessive use of this laundry product can cause extra suds. These suds can carry mold and dirt that cling onto the fabric. Mold causes that musty smell you might observe after washing.

You want to maximize your laundry detergent and make your laundry smell amazing. Hence, you have to put just enough of the product per cycle. Check out our guide here on how much laundry detergent you should use.

Do not overload the washing machine

How do you know when enough is enough when loading your washing machine? When you pack too many clothes in the tub, your garments will end up partially cleaned and wrinkled. It’s essential to leave enough room for the clothes to tumble inside the washer. That way water and detergent can circulate and penetrate fabrics.

A simple rule of thumb when loading your washer is to place the clothes loosely and evenly. Leaving the tub 3/4 full is enough for the washer to do its job of cleaning your clothes. Thus you can make your laundry smell and feel amazing after washing.

Damp laundry

Damp clothes smell bad because microorganisms such as odor-causing bacteria thrive in them. If you let your wet clothes in the washer for long, bacteria will wreak havoc in your clothes. This can make your laundry smell awful.

According to Dr. De-Wei Li, a research mycologist in Connecticut, “Some molds and bacteria produce and release microbial VOCs (volatile organic compounds)—it depends on the species.”

If you observe your clothes smelling musty, you may blame it on mold. But the stinky smell is actually from bacteria. To avoid this, air dry damp clothes that you can not wash yet. Once they are dried, you can add them to the other soiled clothes in the hamper. This way, the chance of bacterial growth in your laundry is reduced. You will also increase your chances of having great smelling laundry.

Laundry that was left on a soak for too long

Mildew loves to stick on wet clothing. If you presoaked a garment for long, chances are they will stink before you run them in the washer. If you need to presoak your clothes, make sure you wash them immediately after soaking.

If you forgot about your pre-soaked clothes, you are in for awful-smelling clothes. You have to wash your over-soaked laundry in the washer using the warmest temperature the clothes can tolerate. You can use color-safe bleach or even white vinegar to wash your wet clothes. This practice gets rid of mildews that thrived in your wet clothing. Since color-safe bleach can smell strong, you can wash the clothes using detergent. Washing with detergent can make laundry smell good and remove any nasty residual odor.

Mold and mildew on the washing machine

Your washing machine cleans clothes. However, do you know that it also needs regular cleaning and disinfecting? Even if your washer looks clean, it could be silently harboring mold, dirt, and grime.

Air out the machine by leaving the washer door open after each use.

One of the simplest methods to prevent the growth of mold and mildew in your washing machine is to leave the door open after each use. Do not close them until they are completely dry. The moisture left behind serves as a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. This is especially true for front-loader washers. When water evaporates, you avoid damp environments that make your laundry smell.

Regularly clean the washing machine to avoid breeding bacteria and molds

All the soil and dirt your washing machine removes from clothes have to go somewhere. Aside from going down the drain, they can build up inside your washer over time. Thus, you have to clean your washing machine regularly. The leftover detergent and other grime can cause your laundry to smell musty. To make your laundry smell good after they come out of the washer, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Use two cups of vinegar and run your cycle using hot water.
  2. After the laundry cycle, wipe down the washing machine. Focus on the fabric softener and detergent dispenser.
  3. Use a cup of baking soda and run another wash cycle with hot water.
  4. Let the water dry out by leaving the lid open.

Body soil not being washed away

Your clothes, towels, and sheets get all the body soils at the end of the day. These body soils are composed of dead skin flakes, sweat, and natural body oil. As you go through your day, you remove skin cells, sebum, and sweat. The majority of these get stuck on fabrics. Usually, they get washed away with detergent during the laundry cycle.

Wash on hot water if you can

Another laundry tip to get rid of body soil on clothes and attain great smelling laundry is to wash them with hot water if possible. Washing your clothes with hot water gets rid of water-soluble stains. All the dirt and grime are delivered down the drain.

How To Make Your Laundry Smell Good

1. Vinegar and baking soda

Some clothes stink worse than others. These include washable nappies and workout clothes. When you mix damp and extra-soiled clothes with other clothes in the hamper, you increase the chance of bacterial growth. This can lead to foul-smelling laundry.

White vinegar and baking soda are natural deodorizers. You can use vinegar and water as a presoak. You may also add a cup of baking soda to the wash to remove odor on clothes. They can even make your clothes smell great. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Add one cup of white vinegar to the washing machine and fill the drum with hot water.
  2. Let your clothes soak in the vinegar solution for 10 minutes.
  3. After soaking, wash your clothes using the recommended amount of detergent and add in a cup of baking soda.
  4. You can add drops of lavender essential oil if you can not move your clothes in the dryer right away. Lavender prevents the growth of molds.

2. Especially formulated odor eliminating products

For those who are not keen on using natural products, they can actually use commercially bought odor-eliminators. These especially formulated odor eliminators are sometimes designated as odor blasters, laundry boosters, or deodorizers. These products can remove strong smells such as body odor, musty smell of towels, smoke, and even urine. By using them as part of your wash as a detergent additive, you can be sure that your clothes smell good after washing.

3. In-wash scent booster beads

Clothes smell good when in-wash scent booster beads are added to the wash. These booster beads elevate the effectiveness of laundry detergent.

Laundry scent boosters make clothes smell good. They do this by masking an unpleasant odor that remains after washing. Some of these products can make your laundry smell good for up to 12 weeks. You can choose from a wide variety of options from floral or fruity fragrances.

4. Scented laundry detergent

Some people are drawn to fresh and clean laundry smells. Detergents make laundry smell good. If you want to achieve the crisp-linen smell of newly washed clothes, then you could try using a strong-smelling detergent the next time you do the laundry.

5. Scented fabric softener

A fabric softener works great in keeping your laundry smelling good for longer. Besides, fabric softener also reduces static and makes your clothes soft to the touch. There are a lot of scents to choose from too. All of them promise to make clothes smell good after the wash.

Be careful with using fabric softener on your workout clothes. When used on polyester or elastic fabric, fabric softeners act as a barrier that locks in sweat and odor.

6. Scented dryer sheet

Dryer sheets are great for reducing static cling between clothes. They also make them unlikely to get lint accumulation. Another benefit of using dryer sheets is the way they eliminate odors. They can make your clothes smell good after they come out of the dryer.

If you are into DIY, you can make your scented dryer sheets. All you need is cotton fabric and your favorite essential oil. It is pretty easy and reusable! Here’s how:

  1. Grab a cotton shirt and cut a piece of it.
  2. Add five to 10 drops of your choice of essential oil to the piece of cotton.
  3. Add your DIY dryer sheet to the load 10 minutes before it finishes drying.

7. Wool dryer ball with essential oil

Like dryer sheets, wool dryer balls also lessens the chance for static during drying. They also boost fluffiness, leave your laundry soft, and reduce wrinkling. As these natural and reusable balls tumble with your laundry, they provide air circulation. The process leaves you with completely dry clothes faster. 

Add a few drops of essential oils to your wool dryer balls to infuse them with a pleasant smell. Just add a few drops of your choice of scent to the wool dryer balls. Then wait for an hour before you use it in the dryer. As you dry your clothes, wool balls infuse the aroma into the laundry. 

8. Herb sachet

If you want to use another natural option to make your clothes smell good, you can try using an herb sachet. Herb sachets add an aromatic boost to your laundry without any chemical additives.

To make your herb sachet, you will need the following:

  • 1/2 cup dried herbs such as lavender or mint
  • Cotton or muslin herb sachet

Put the herbs into the sachet. Sew the cloth and make sure the leaves are not released when you use them in the dryer.

Ways To Keep Your Fresh Laundry Smelling Good Beyond The Laundry Room

1. Scented drawer liners

Scented drawer liners are papers that are soaked with essential oils and placed under your dresser’s drawers. The scented liners release an aroma when you use them as lining in your drawers.

2. Scented hangers

If you want to keep clothes smelling fresh and well-organized, you can use scented wood hangers. Cedar hangers can absorb moisture and odor. Moreover, they repel insects such as moths while giving off a light woody scent. There are also lavender-scented hangers available that give off a calming vibe.

3. Baking soda at the bottom of the wardrobe

Baking soda is a cupboard staple that not only cleanses clothes. It also works great as a deodorizer. If you want to remove a distinct smell from your dresser, you can open a box of baking soda and keep it inside the closet. The baking soda will absorb the humidity and remove the smell from your dresser. You can replace the box every month to achieve the best result.

4. Spray your clothes with fabric refresher

If you want to retain that freshly-laundered smell of your clothes, you can spritz them with fabric spray. Just put your fabric refresher in a spray bottle. A few spritzes can keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean for longer.


A nice smelling laundry starts in the washer and how you wash your clothes. It pays to be responsible when dealing with your laundry. By maintaining your washing machine in top shape, it will also do its job of delivering fresh-smelling and deodorized laundry. You can use a variety of products in your laundry room to make them smell great. Don’t forget to follow our tips to keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

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