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How to Prevent Clothes Smelling Bad after Washing

Can't get your laundry smelling fresh? We'll show you how with just 1 wash!

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to Prevent Clothes Smelling Bad after Washing

Amoy kulob? Want to get rid of sweaty smells out of your washing load? Here are some tips to help you make sure every load comes out smelling fresh and brand-new!

Why do my clothes smell bad after washing?

  1. Your washing machine needs cleaning

    Washing machines have a really annoying habit of holding on to stagnant water, harboring limescale, bacteria or mold, and getting blocked filters. Makulit talaga minsan.

    Luckily, there’s usually no need to call a repairman; you can easily give your machine a deep clean, and there’s very little effort involved.

  2. You’ve used too much (or too little) laundry detergent

    Are you faithfully measuring the amount of detergent you use, or do you just dump a lot in and bahala na? Excess detergent won’t rinse away properly and can remain trapped in the fabric, encouraging waterlogging and mold growth. On the other hand, too little detergent means you won’t get the clothes clean. Make sure you check the detergent packet or bottle for dosing instructions. They’ll often focus on a 6kg or 7kg load, so if you have a larger machine, you may need to adjust and add a bit more soap powder or liquid. And, if you’re only washing a light load, you might not need as much detergent.

    Some laundry brands provide handy dosing kits. If yours doesn’t, it’s worth investing in a measuring cup (you’ll often find them in the baking aisle). Or you could switch to capsules to make life easier.

    Choosing a fragrant detergent or adding fabric conditioner can also help to make your clothes smell fresher for longer, For great, long-lasting fragrance, we recommend using Surf Detergent and Surf Fabric conditioner.

  3. You’re overloading your washing machine

    In the shower you naturally move around to get every nook and cranny clean. Clothes need that free movement in the washer too, otherwise, they’re not going to get properly clean.

    So, it might not be that the washing machine makes clothes smell, you’re just not letting it do its job properly by cramming it full. Kaya umiwas sa siksikan. Clothes need the space to move. We know it’s tempting to stuff it as full as possible to cut down on loads, but resist the temptation (unless you want to walk around smelling kulob all day).

  4. Your clothes have been in the machine too long

    If your clothes smell damp after washing kahit anong kuskos, it might just mean you need to take them out of the machine quicker.

    The longer you leave them in the machine, the worse they’re going to smell. Try using the ‘delay start’ function on your washing machine so the wash finishes at a more convenient time.

  5. It’s taking too long to dry your clothes

    Wondering how to get that damp smell out of clothes? Make sure you dry them right after washing. Mainit na naman sa Pilipinas, so make the most of it, because heat greatly reduces drying times!

    If your laundry smells bad after drying indoors, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier to speed up the process. As an added effect it can make your home feel cooler.

    And if you use a tumble dryer, don’t overload it, this just traps in more moisture.

  6. Your clothes have been put away damp

    Again, this goes back to the need to dry laundry quickly. If you put sheets, clothes and towels in the closet even slightly damp, they’re going to smell pretty bad by the time you come to use them.

    If air can’t circulate around clothes, for sure they’re going to start smelling kulob. Hang them rather than fold them, if you can. And leave space between each item.

    Try hanging unused clothes outside on the line for a couple of hours to breathe new life into them. Often, the combination of sunlight and breeze will be enough to lift the mildew smell.

    Next time you’re storing your clothes for a length of time place a small scented lavender bag in with them.

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These are common reasons clothes smell bad after a wash.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on preventing clothes smells

How can I prevent clothes from smelling after washing?

To prevent clothes from smelling after washing, use the correct amount of detergent and fabric softener, don't overload the washing machine, make sure the clothes are properly rinsed, and remove them from the washing machine as soon as the cycle is finished.

How often should I clean my washing machine to prevent bad smells?

It's recommended to clean your washing machine at least once a month to prevent bad smells and maintain its efficiency. You can clean it by running an empty cycle with hot water and vinegar or a washing machine cleaner.

Can adding vinegar to the wash help prevent bad smells?

Yes, adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash can help neutralize bad odors and prevent them from lingering on clothes. Just add the vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Originally published