Nothing makes you appear untidy as much as sour smelling clothes. And try as you might, dousing yourself in perfume will not remedy the issue. So how do you get rid of the musty smell and ensure you do not keep having musty smelling clothes?
Keep reading to learn how get sour smell out of clothes.
What causes sour smell in laundry?
The most common cause of sour smelling clothes is leaving them in the washer too long before putting them in the dryer or overloading the machine. That’s said, below are other causes of musty smelling clothes;
- Putting your clothes away while they are still damp. Damp clothes in dark places many times leads to mold or mildew issues, which causes that musty, sour smell.
- Not properly cleaning your clothes. Placing too many garments in one load causes your washer to be overloaded. This prevents the detergent or clothes from moving around adequately. This in turn causes some stains and spills to be missed and detergent residue is left sitting on clothes that can cause the sour smell.
- Letting your laundry sit for too long before washing. This is especially important when dealing with damp towels or sweaty workout clothes; bacteria begins breeding within hours and leaves an intense odor.
- Another main culprit is your washing machine. Front-load high-efficiency washing machines are especially prone to mold and mildew buildup. Sour smelling clothes in a front load washer is a common occurrence amongst users.
How to get the sour smell out of your garments
- Rewash them in smaller loads with a cup of sudsy ammonia. Use the hottest setting that’s safe for the fabrics you’re washing
- Rewash whites and white undergarments in chlorine bleach using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.
- Use the right type and amount of detergent when you wash clothes. Detergent residue traps moisture, which will ultimately cause your clothes to smell musty.
How do you get sour smell out of clothes naturally?
Before we had commercial cleaning agents, people used natural methods to clean their clothes and you can too. Not only does it save money, it is also environmentally friendly and safe for people with sensitive skin. So what can you use to remover the sour smell out of towels and your clothes naturally?
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar is great for stain and odor removal. It also helps to remove hard water and detergent build up on clothes. Add vinegar instead of fabric softener in the washing machine slot. A quarter to half cup per load will do the trick. Using hot water together with vinegar will get you better results.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent odor remover. simply sprinkle a quarter to half cup directly onto your clothes in the washing machine. Then follow up with a white vinegar rinse instead of using fabric softener.
3. Enzyme Odor Removers
Enzyme odor removers are also great for removing odors. they are made from natural ingredients that have the power to break down odor causing bacteria. follow manufacturing instructions when using them.
This works by absorbing odors and stainds making it great for cleaning moldy and musty smelling clothes. Use half a cup of borax to soak musty clothes in hot water an hour before washing them.
Sunlight kills odor causing microbes. However, it may also bleach your clothes making them look faded. UV rays also break down synthetis fabric such as elastic and spandex. As such, you can only use this method on natural fabrics such as cotton.
Does vinegar get smell out of clothes?
Yes. Vinegar works by killing odor causing bacteria and pathogens. Add a cup of Borax and white vinegar respectively to your load of laundry to get rid of the sour smell. You can even put the vinegar in the machine’s fabric softener dispenser.
How to get sour smell out of clothes without rewashing
Here are some methods you can use to remove odor from smelly laundry without rewashing them
Spray them with white vinegar.
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Gently shake the solution to mix it well. Then spray your clothes with the mixture and hang them up to dry for about a day or until the vinegary smell is gone.
Spot test first is you are worried about the vinegar affecting the fabric of your clothes.
Note: Do not use apple cider vinegar, as it can stain or discolor your clothes.
Spritz them with vodka
Fill a spray bottle with straight, unflavored vodka and use it to spray your smelly clothes. Then hang them up to air dry and to allow the vodka smell to fade away. Alternatively, target the musty parts such as the armpits if you don’t want to spray the whole piece of clothing.
Note: Use unflavored vodka so you don’t add an additional unpleasant odor and so your clothes don’t end up being sticky (which can happen if there’s sugar in the vodka).
Use essential oils
Essential oils work by overpowering any unpleasant odors on your clothes. Some have bacteria killing capabilities such as tea tree oil. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a spray bottle full of water. Then spray your clothes and air dry them.
Lavender, grapefruit, and lemon essential oils are the most effective at getting out musty smells.
Note: Essential oils can be overwhelming and difficult to remove if you add too much. Make sure you dilute a few drops into a bottle of water.
Spot-treat with lemon juice.
Lemon naturally kills odor-causing bacteria and leaves your clothes smelling fresh. Add a few drops of lemon juice to a spray bottle of water and spray areas like the armpits and groin regions of your clothes. Then let your clothes air-dry and they’re good to wear.
Note: do not use pure lemon juices it could stain or discolor your clothes. Always make sure you dilute the lemon in a spray bottle full of water.
Use a fabric spray
Remove the funk and add a pleasant smell to your clothes by using a fabric spray. Spray your musty-smelling clothes and let them air dry. The unpleasant odor should be gone in no time and your clothes will be left smelling great.
Freezing cold will kill smell causing bacteria. Place your clothes in a large freezer bag and seal it shut. Place the bag in your freezer and leave it for a few hours to allow the cold temperature to kill the bacteria.
Sprinkle baking soda on them
Baking soda will absorb the musty odor. Place your musty clothes in a large plastic bag and sprinkle in some baking soda. Shake the bag to ensure that the baking soda covers all of your clothes and then leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Then, remove your clothes form the bag and shake them to remove the baking soda.
You can also use a baking soda and water paste on the mustiest parts. Leave it to dry and harden and then brush it off.
Brush them with a clothing and upholstery brush.
Use an upholstery brush and brush your clothes well to remove any lint, fuzz, pills, and hair that can trap odors. Pet hair and dryer lint can really add a funky smell to your clothes.
For best results, use baking soda to help absorb the odors. and follow up with a brush to remove the baking soda and anything else stuck to the surface of your clothes.
Use dryer sheets
Dryer sheets will add a pleasant smell. All you have to do is place the sheet in the dryer with your clothes and turn on the dryer for about 10 minutes.
Hanging your clothes outside will help get rid of the sour smell. It will also help prevent odor-causing bacteria from making them smell all musty. Always let your clothes air out before you hang them up in your closet after wearing them.
Sun bomb them
Sunlight will zap the bad odors away. The UV rays will kill odor-causing bacteria, and the breeze will leave them smelling nice and fresh. Hang them in a spot with a nice breeze to help air them out too.
The high heat from the steam kills odor-causing bacteria. It will also leave them smelling fresh. You can use a steamer or hang them in the shower to steam them. Then air-dry them to ensure they are completely dry.
Ensure the clothes are completely dry before storing them to avoid a repeat of the sour smell issue.
Note: Some fabrics such as spandex, polyester, and suede cannot be steamed.