Why does my laundry room smell? - Get rid of odors (2023)

Laundromats are the main places in the house where bed and bath linens are taken to be washed and left clean and odorless. However, sometimes odors can seep in and cause clothes to smell for a variety of reasons. So why does your laundry room smell disgusting?

Laundry rooms can smell bad because the hamper is dirty, or the clothes stored inside have not been cleaned and are spreading the smell throughout the room, or the washer and dryer used to wash clothes are dirty and moldy. and mushrooms. Fortunately, there are solutions to combat bad odors in each of these cases.

This article will cover each of these three sources of odor in general and how they produce a bad odor, what you should do to eliminate odors from your laundry room if the odor has already started, and how to prevent it from developing in your laundry room. these smells. In the future.

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Sources of a bad smell in clothes

There are three main sources of odor commonly found in a home laundry room. They are the following:

  • Dirty clothes:If you leave clothes unattended in a laundry hamper, they will start to smell after a while due to the buildup of bacterial gases that break down dead skin cells, bacteria, and bodily fluids that may be left on your clothes. . Also, if you forget to take your clothes out of the washing machine, they can develop mold and mildew.
  • Sucia route:While plastic baskets can prevent odors, cloth baskets or those with a cloth lining and a closed lid are especially susceptible to odors. The dust that accumulates inside it can trap bacteria on the clothes and transmit its odor to the basket.
  • Dirty washing machines:Although washing machines are designed to wash clothes, they can smell without regular cleaning and maintenance. Mold, mildew, and bacteria from clothing can get trapped inside the seams of the washer along with soap scum, dirt, body oil, and hair, creating unpleasant odors.

Now that you know the causes of laundry odors, removal and cleaning methods to eliminate them can be discussed. The next section will show you how to clean and/or handle each of these odor-producing items.

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How to remove odors from your laundry room

Fortunately, there is a way to clean and deodorize every stinky item in your laundry room. By following the steps below for each one, you will have your laundry room smelling fresh and clean again.

Cleaning your washing machine

These are all the steps you need to take to properly clean your washing machine and restore it to its best working order.

  1. Remove and wipe down detergent, soap, and bleach dispensers.Standing water forms in these parts if too much water gets into them, creating a comfortable environment for mold to grow and cause odors. Use a clean old toothbrush and pipe cleaner to get into these parts to remove any built-up grime.
  2. Scrub the inside of the washer with the same tools that were introduced in the previous step.Be sure to use a reputable washer cleaner during this process.
  3. Disinfect your washing machine with chlorine. Chlorine bleach kills mold and mildew. It is toxic and must be separated from other cleaning products. Add two to four cups of bleach, start a rinse cycle, and allow the bleach to settle. After the bleach has been in the water for 30 minutes, rinse again to remove it.
  4. Deodorize the washing machine with vinegar.The acid in the vinegar helps remove hard water and any remaining bacteria. Set the washing machine on the hottest setting and add two to four cups of white vinegar. Use the same process that you would use for bleach cleaning.

After completing this process, your washer will be like new and clean to boot! You'll feel so much better washing your clothes in a spotless, sanitized machine.

Cleaning your laundry basket

There are different cleaning methods that you should use for your basket depending on the material it is made from:

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  • Polyester or plastic:Use a mixture of baking soda and water (1 cup of baking soda per gallon of water) and scrub the basket with a soft bristle brush, allow to air dry when done.
  • Tissue:Remove the interior cloth bag and wash it in warm water with a strong detergent, allowing it to air dry when finished.
  • Wood or wicker:Since these baskets cannot get wet, use a vacuum to clean them, then use a damp cloth dampened with baking soda and water to wipe down the interior, allowing it to air dry.

To sanitize a basket, use chlorine bleach mixed with clean water and use gloves to gently wipe the basket if it is made of a material that does not hold up when wet. For materials that cannot get wet, you can also use a mild disinfectant spray.

Clean clothes that have been left out

To get rid of smelly clothes in your laundry room whether or not they have been left in a hamper, simply wash them regularly with your preferred detergent and fabric softener if desired. That way, the clean smell will neutralize bad odors and leave your clothes clean.

If your clothes still smell, make sure you have cleaned and sanitized your washer and hamper before trying to wash them again.

How to avoid odors from clothes

Knowing how to keep your laundry room in order and getting rid of odors immediately when you smell them is just one key part of maintaining your smell. You should also focus on ways to mitigate the possibility of odors before they happen.

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Here are some ways to keep your laundry room clean:

  • Start and finish your outfit in one go.This will prevent your clothes from building up and developing an unpleasant musty smell.
  • Keep the door of the washing machine open after you have finished all the clothes.This will allow excess water to dry and reduce the chance of mold growing inside the washer.
  • Open any windows you have in your laundry room.Letting in fresh air will neutralize bad odors.
  • Use air purifier.Keep a plug or fresh air mister near the door so there is always a nice smell in the room.
  • Throw away the drying sheets along with the wash.They help soften and refresh your clothes, in addition to spreading their pleasant aroma throughout the room, eliminating the bad ones that were previously present.

If you use any of the above methods or even a combination of a few, you'll be well on your way to keeping your laundry room as fresh and functional as possible. Doing laundry is a much more pleasant task when there is a safe and clean space to do it.


Laundromats can smell horrible if the clothes they contain, the washing machine or the baskets are not cleaned and handled properly. Either way, bacteria, mold, mildew, and/or hard water build up, bringing with it an unpleasant odor.

The best remedy for all these problems is to regularly clean your washing machines and baskets and wash or put away your clothes as soon as you finish using them to prevent anything unsightly and potentially harmful from developing.

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You can help keep your laundry room clean by washing and putting away all your clothes at once, using air purifiers and clothes dryers, or leaving the washer door or window open to air out the space.


Why does my laundry room always smell bad? ›

Why is There a Bad Smell in My Laundry Room? Mold and mildew thrive in environments that have lots of moisture. So although it can be difficult to do so in a laundry room, controlling moisture is the main way to limit mold or mildew growth.

What kills odor in laundry? ›

Use baking soda and white vinegar to get rid of smells

A cup of baking soda is a great way to get rid of odors - in fact, it's one of the best. It absorbs smells by using its porous structure and neutralizing them. Distilled white vinegar is also an excellent substance when it comes to getting rid of nasty smells!

Why does my laundry room smell when the washer runs? ›

You Have a Sewer Leak

It's also possible that your sewers are leaking, allowing gas to float up into your laundry room or some other part of your home. If so, it's in your best interests to get this fixed quickly. Sewer water is dangerous and leaks can get worse over time.

How do I freshen my laundry room? ›

Nine Ways to Refresh Your Laundry Room
  1. Organize detergent and cleaning supplies. ...
  2. Add a space to fold clothing. ...
  3. Install Shelf Genie shelving system. ...
  4. Add a hanging rod to dry clothing. ...
  5. Use bins and baskets. ...
  6. Keep a laundry care chart on-hand. ...
  7. Upgrade the lighting. ...
  8. Liven up the space with color.
May 30, 2019

What causes musty smell in laundry room? ›

What causes a musty smell in a room? The damp, earthy smell of mold and mildew is due to excessive humidity, especially in stagnant places like the bathroom, basement, or laundry room. When mold and mildew build up, they release foul-smelling gases, which permeate textiles like your carpet, curtains, and upholstery.

How do I get the cleanest and best smelling laundry? ›

  1. 7 Secrets to Great Smelling Laundry. ...
  2. Use the Right Amount of Detergent. ...
  3. Use Full Rinse Detergent. ...
  4. Keep a Clean Washer. ...
  5. Move Clothes to the Dryer ASAP. ...
  6. Do Laundry Regularly. ...
  7. Be Careful with Activewear. ...
  8. Don't Overload the Washer.
Jul 26, 2022

How can I deodorize my laundry naturally? ›

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and brightener, and it's probably already in your pantry. To make your laundry detergent work harder, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle of your washing machine.

Will adding vinegar to laundry get rid of smell? ›

Vinegar seems to neutralize odors, leaving your clothing smelling clean. It can reduce odors from smoke, pets, and sweat. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to your laundry to deodorize smelly clothes.

Why can I smell myself through my pants? ›

Poor hygiene

Refraining from regular bathing can lead to dirt, sweat, and dead skin cell buildup that leads to strong smells through your clothes. You can reduce these effects by showering regularly and washing with mild soap and warm water.

What does a dry P-trap smell like? ›

Dry air might just be the cause of that unpleasant rotten egg smell in your home. Especially during winter, a P-trap can dry up and allow sewer gas to enter the home.

Why does it smell like sewer when I run my washing machine? ›

The most likely is bacteria growing in your washer because of built-up dirt, mildew and mold, lint, and/or soap. If you don't regularly clean your washing machine, these things build up on, under, or inside the rubber seal and in the crevices of the drum.

What absorbs odors in a room? ›

Some of the best odor eliminators are coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, oats, and baking soda. Leaving a bowl of any of these odor absorbers out in a room that's due for a little freshening up will help clear out the less-than-pleasant smells from the air.

Why does my room smell musty but no mold? ›

If your home has a stale, musty scent, there could be a handful of explanations, including a plumbing leak, high humidity, poor airflow, dirty HVAC equipment, or soiled carpet.

Why doesn't my laundry smell clean after washing? ›

If your clothes aren't smelling fresh when they come out of your washing machine, it's probably down to a buildup of detergent, dirt or limescale inside your machine. The biggest symptom of this is your laundry smelling damp or musty, even when dry, as well as an unpleasant smell coming from inside your machine.

How long does it take for vinegar to remove odors? ›

Room odors.

Pour some vinegar in a small bowl, then let sit overnight to erase odors.

Where do you put vinegar in laundry? ›

Add Vinegar To Laundry

Experts recommend adding it during the rinse cycle, because that's the time it's most beneficial to remove the residue of dissolved detergents or grime. Pouring 1/2 cup of vinegar into the fabric softener compartment before the last rinse cycle can bring dingy clothes back to life.

Why do I smell when he comes in me? ›

If you have P-in-V sex, semen — which is alkaline and the opposite of your vagina's acidic environment — can temporarily change your smell. V-to-V sex can also do it if your partner's vaginal fluids get inside your V through tribbing, sharing a sex toy, or if they finger you after touching their V.

Why do I smell under there? ›

Body odor is caused by bacteria breaking down the sweat from the apocrine glands in your armpits, groin, and pubic area. You may be more prone to body odor if you are overweight, eat certain foods, have certain health conditions, or are under stress. Genetics may also play a role.

Why can I smell myself even after a shower? ›

In addition to bacteria, oftentimes there is deodorant residue and other impurities that are trapped in the underarm pores and within the hair if you have armpit hair.

What is the black gunk in my P-trap? ›

What is this black gunk in my drain? The black gunk that accumulates in your drain is created by a build up of bacteria living on hair, hand soaps, shaving cream, skin cells, lotion, toothpaste, and phlegm.

What is the black stuff in my P-trap? ›

That black substance that keeps seeping into your sink or toilet is usually bacteria that's clinging to waste in your drain lines. This bacteria tends to grow and spread over time, particularly because the matter that goes down these drains is organic in nature, providing a food source for the bacteria to live on.

What do bad drains smell like? ›

There could be odor-causing bacteria feeding on debris in your pipes. This process will give off a foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like sewage or rotten eggs. Also, mold grows where it's warm and wet — and mold growth on the debris causing a drain clog can also cause a bad smell.

Why does my laundry room smell like rotten eggs? ›

Mold and mildew may be the cause of the rotten egg smell coming from your laundry room. As with any place that has high humidity — mold, mildew, and other fungi are more likely to flourish, particularly in darker, damp places.

Why does my laundry smell bad after drying? ›

Mold & Mildew Odor: Why Your Laundry Smells Bad After Drying

You may have excess moisture build-up if you wait too long to transfer your clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Or, extra moisture can build up and lead to mold growth if you forget to turn the dryer on and leave damp clothing in it for too long.

How do you clean smelly washing machine pipes? ›

Here's how to clean a smelly washing machine drain:
  1. Add two cups of vinegar to the detergent dispenser.
  2. Run a normal wash cycle with no clothes.
  3. Pour hot or boiling water down the drain trap.
  4. Add 4 ounces of mineral oil to the drain to prevent evaporation.

How do I get the cleanest laundry? ›

Simple Home Solutions
  1. Use natural laundry soap for washing natural fibers such as cotton and silk.
  2. Add a half-cup of baking soda to the wash cycle along with your normal detergent to get rid of odors and residues left in clothing.
  3. Add a cup of vinegar to your wash to remove any residue left by fabric softeners.

How do I clean my washing machine so my clothes smell nice? ›

Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to your machine's detergent container. Use four cups of plain white (not apple cider) vinegar to a top-load machine or two cups to a front-load model. Pour the vinegar into the drum. Run a high-temperature cycle.


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