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Preventing and Resolving Sour Laundry Smell

You know the smell – sort of a combination of sour milk, stagnant water, and stale mustiness – and it has somehow made it into your clothes. What causes that sour smell in your clothes?

  1. 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. Be certain your clothes are completely dry before putting them away.
  2. Not properly cleaning your garments. Placing too many garments in one load causes your washer to be overloaded, which doesn’t allow the detergent or clothes to move around adequately. As a result, some stains and spills are missed and detergent reside sits on clothes.
  3. 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.
  4. Your washing machine. Front-load high-efficiency washing machines are especially prone to mold and mildew buildup, even if you clean and maintain the machine regularly. To help combat the problem, avoid using too much laundry detergent, leave the door and soap dispenser open when not in use, and regularly run a bleach load. If you have been battling the smell for any length of time, you might want to call a service man to see if it is in an area that you cannot reach.

To help get the sour smell out of your garments:

  1. Rewash whites and white undergarments in chlorine bleach using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.
  2. For color clothes or towels, add a small box of baking soda to the load.
  3. Fresh air and direct sunlight eliminate mildew, so hang items outside to dry. Be sure to turn garments inside out to reduce the chances of fading.

Of course, A Cleaner World is always here to help with your garment-related issues. If you need help with a garment, simply drop it by one of our locations. We are here to help.

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