How To Wash Stale Laundry
The Clothes From The Washing Machine Feel Musty
You‘ve just pulled freshly washed laundry out of the washing machine and you feel something is completely wrong. You expected it to be fresh and pleasantly fragrant but instead, there’s a stale odour. There are several reasons why this could be.
How The Laundry Got Stale
There are several reasons why laundry can become stale and it is not always easy to figure out the reason immediately. Here are some potential reasons and how to solve them.
Closed Washing Machine
Pull the laundry out of the washing machine immediately after washing and then leave the washing machine open to allow it to dry from the inside.
Low Washing Temperature
Washing at low temperatures is more environmentally friendly and most clothes today do not even allow washing at high temperatures. However, often the low washing temperature is the reason why the laundry smells bad. Detergents are more difficult to dissolve at a lower temperature and can settle in the washing machine. These deposits can then be released and cause an odour.
Overfilled Washing Machine
Never overfill the washing machine drum. Always allow the laundry to move freely during washing and thus clean. When there is too much laundry in the washing machine, the detergent doesn’t spread evenly on all the clothes. It can even settle on the laundry. In the end, the laundry is not washed well and has a nasty smell.
The popularity of washing gels is ever increasing, but they have a habit of clogging the narrow areas of the washing machine, where odorous deposits are then formed.
Yes, limescale can also be responsible for stale laundry. If you do your wash in hard water and do not use a softener, limescale could settle on the heating coil. It then does not heat up and the laundry simply does not wash well in cold water.
If your laundry did smell right after being pulled out of the washing machine but began to be smell during drying, the drying method is probably to blame. The laundry needs to be dried immediately and quickly. This is usually not a problem in the summer, but in winter without a tumble dryer, it can get stale easily and quickly. If you use a tumble dryer - don't forget to clean it regularly.
Faulty Washing Machine
Of course, it could be the case that none of the above are the cause of the problem. It could be a more complicated situation, where you may need to call in a repair. For example, it may be a bad pump that doesn‘t drain dirty water, causing the laundry to get stale.
How To Prevent The Odour Of Stale Laundry
The easiest way to deal with stale laundry is not to let it get stale at all but there are a few easy steps to follow to give the odour no chance.
Clean The Washing Machine Regularly
If the washing machine is clogged with dirt and limescale; it supports the growth of mould and bacteria that cause unpleasant odours. It is therefore important to clean the washing machine from time to time. One method of doing this is to, wash towels at high temperatures, which will destroy the bacteria and mould. If your washing machine has its own cleaning system, make sure to use it regularly. For older washing machines, you can use a special product to clean the machine. Regularly wash the powder container and check and clean the rubber seal.
You could also read our article on how to clean the washing machine, here.
Proper Detergent Dosage
You might feel that the more detergent you add, the nicer the laundry will smell. You would be wrong. If there is too much detergent, it doesn’t dissolve properly and tends to settle, not only in the washing machine, but directly on the laundry. This can cause an odour and some nasty skin problems. At the same time, it is also not advisable to use too little detergent. Therefore, it’s important to always read the instructions on your detergent carefully.
If you’re unsure when to use fabric softener then read our other article, here.
Ventilate The Washing Machine
After washing, the washing machine is warm and damp, which are the optimum conditions for the growth of mould and bacteria. Therefore, it is necessary to let the washing machine ventilate properly after washing. Be sure to air the detergent compartment as well. If the washing machine is ventilated and dry, there is no chance of mould or an odour.
How To Get Rid Of The Odour Of Clothing
If the laundry already smells, you have no choice but to get rid of it. There are several methods to refresh your laundry.
Washing In Vinegar
The laundry often smells because there‘s detergent on the fibres. This creates a layer that cannot be washed with detergent. A cheap and simple solution, which is also used by professional laundries, is to wash the laundry in an acidic washing bath. This disrupts the structure of the layer and the deposits are released from the laundry. There are of course, special products, but they cannot be bought ordinarily at the shop. However, vinegar will serve you just as well. Add it to the wash, regardless of the washing temperature. This removes deposits from laundry. When washing in this acid bath, do not add detergent to the laundry as this will disrupt the reaction and nothing will happen. If necessary, you can repeat this process until the deposits are removed from the laundry. Finally, put the laundry in a normal wash.
Some people use baking powder for washing. Fill the washing machine as normal and add detergent to the compartment. Then simply add the baking powder into the drum of the washing machine - one bag (13g) per wash. The powder removes the musty odour from the laundry and, also, refreshes and brightens it.
Bicarbonate Of Soda
Soda also eliminates odours. Put the stale laundry in a bag and add the baking soda to it. It's good to let it work overnight, but if you don't have time, a few hours should be enough. Take the laundry out, dust it and then wash it. Feel free to add baking powder or vinegar to the wash according to the instructions above and you can achieve a stronger effect. Be careful not to use too much soda. It is relatively aggressive and with frequent use, it can damage clothing fibres.