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The dreaded damp clothes smell and how to remove it

Discover easy steps for how to stop clothes smelling damp even when you’re drying indoors.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

Clothes drying on a washing line against the sky to get the damp smell out of clothes
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Key Steps

  • Wash clothes ASAP, especially if you got sweaty or wet while wearing them.

  • Wash clothes inside out to give them a deeper clean.

  • Add a cup of baking soda or 2 cups of vinegar to your wash cycle to shift odours.

  • Don’t forget to clean your washing machine too!

There is nothing worse than picking out your favourite outfit only to discover it has a musty damp clothes smell lingering. Don’t panic, we have an easy guide for how to get damp smells out of clothes, and prevent them in the future.

A mouldy washing machine can transfer odours and make your clothes smell damp after washing, so remember to give yours a regular clean.

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What causes clothes to smell damp after drying?

There are a few reasons you could end up with damp smelling clothes, including:

  1. Sweating in your clothes, and the sweat not washing out properly.

  2. Wet laundry left in the washing machine for too long.

  3. Putting clean laundry away before it is fully dry.

  4. If clothes smell damp after washing, you could be using a washing machine which is overdue a clean.

    Check out some simple steps to remove the smell from your washing machine here.

  5. Inadequate drying.

    If you don’t know how to stop clothes from smelling damp when drying indoors, they can build up a damp and musty smell.

Top tips for how to get rid of damp smell in clothes

If you want to get the damp smell out of clothes and prevent it building up in the first place, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple tips and tricks for how to stop clothes smelling damp:

  1. Wash damp or sweaty clothes as soon as you can.

    To get rid of damp smells, clothes should be washed as quickly as possible. This will also help to prevent sweat stains!

  2. Try some washing machine tips and tricks for how to get damp smells out of clothes:

    Wash clothes inside out. Especially if you have been sweating in them! This will also help to protect the colours.

    Wash your clothes on the hottest suitable setting. Double check the care label and wash on the hottest temperature recommended by the manufacturer to help eliminate odours.

    Add a cup of baking soda to your wash. This will soak up any unwanted odours during the wash cycle. If you don’t have baking soda, 2 cups of vinegar will do the job too.

    Include a good fabric conditioner. Using a high quality fabric conditioner such as Comfort Intense Fresh Sky will give your clothes a fresh boost.

    Hang clothes outside to dry. This is the best way to blow away lingering odours, add a fresh, outdoors scent to your clothing, and avoid your clothes smelling damp after drying.

  3. On cold or wet days, you may wonder how to stop clothes smelling damp when drying indoors.

    We recommend:

    • Crack open a window and let in the fresh air. • Use a dehumidifier to remove the damp air. • Speed up the drying process by giving them a quick once over with a hairdryer.

  4. Never hang damp clothes in the wardrobe.

    Once you know how to get rid of damp smells in clothes, make sure they don’t build up again in storage. Putting clothes that aren’t fully dry away in a drawer or wardrobe will trap moisture in the fabric and lead to damp smells, so wait until they’re fully dry first.

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So, with our simple guide you have all the tips and tricks you need for how to remove the damp smell from clothes with ease.

Read other articles from the Clothing Care category

How to get colour run out of clothes

What do the symbols on washing machines mean

How to remove static from clothes

How to stop clothes bobbling

How to make clothes smell good and stay fresh

Originally published