How To Get Smell Out Of Clothes Left In Washer?

In this article, we will explore practical and effective methods to eliminate unpleasant odors from clothes that have been left in the washer for an extended period. Prompt action is crucial to prevent the smells from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove. By following our step-by-step guide, which includes sorting and preparing the clothes, utilizing natural deodorizers like vinegar and baking soda, as well as incorporating essential oils for a fresh scent, you can restore your garments to their original freshness. Additionally, we will provide tips for preventing future odor issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Prompt action is crucial in preventing future odor issues.
  • Sorting clothes by color helps avoid color fading and color bleeding.
  • Vinegar and baking soda are effective natural deodorizers for clothes.
  • Adding essential oils can help eliminate lingering odors and add a fresh scent to clothes.

The Importance of Prompt Action

When it comes to dealing with clothes that have been left in the washer, prompt action is of utmost importance. The importance of immediate action cannot be stressed enough, as it plays a crucial role in preventing future odor issues. Once you discover clothes that have been left wet for an extended period of time, the first step is to remove them from the washer immediately. Leaving them inside the washer will only exacerbate the smell and make it more difficult to eliminate later on. By taking prompt action, you can minimize the chances of the odor seeping into the fabric and lingering even after washing. With this in mind, let’s now move on to the next section about sorting and preparing the clothes.

Sorting and Preparing the Clothes

Sorting and Preparing the Clothes
When sorting clothes that have been left in the washer, it is important to separate them by color to prevent any potential color bleeding. Additionally, check for any stains on the clothes and treat them accordingly before washing. Lastly, make sure to remove any excess water from the clothes before transferring them to the dryer or hanging them to dry. Following these steps will help ensure that your clothes come out fresh and odor-free.

Separate by Color

To ensure proper care and maintenance of your clothing, it is essential to separate them by color before washing. This step is crucial to prevent color bleeding and fading, ensuring that your clothes stay vibrant and looking their best for longer. Here are three key reasons why sorting by color is important:

  1. Prevent color bleeding: Separating dark-colored clothes from light-colored ones helps prevent color bleeding during the wash cycle. This is especially important for new or brightly colored garments that are more prone to bleeding.
  2. Avoid color fading: Similar to color bleeding, sorting your clothes by color helps prevent color fading. Dark colors, in particular, can fade over time, especially when washed with lighter colors. By keeping them separate, you can preserve the vibrancy of your clothes.
  3. Maintain garment quality: Sorting your clothes by color also allows you to organize them by fabric type, which is crucial for proper care. Delicate fabrics, such as silk or lace, require gentle washing and should be kept separate from heavier, more durable fabrics like denim or towels. This helps maintain the quality and lifespan of each garment.

Check for Stains

Before proceeding with washing, it is crucial to thoroughly check the clothes for any stains or spots that may require pre-treatment. Checking for stains ensures that they are not set in during the washing process. To effectively identify and treat stains, a variety of stain removal techniques can be used. Here is a table highlighting some common stains and the corresponding treatment methods:

Stain Treatment Method
Grass Apply enzyme-based stain remover and launder as usual.
Oil/Grease Use dish soap to pretreat the stain and then wash normally.
Wine Blot the stain with a clean cloth and apply white vinegar. Rinse and wash as usual.
Blood Soak the garment in cold water and use hydrogen peroxide to remove the stain.
Ink Apply rubbing alcohol or hairspray to the stain and then launder as usual.

Remove Excess Water

After completing the stain-checking process, it is necessary to remove excess water from the clothes and properly sort and prepare them for the next steps. Here are some steps to follow to remove excess moisture and ensure effective drying techniques:

  1. Drain the water: Start by draining the water from the washer. Allow the clothes to sit for a few minutes to let the excess water drain away.
  2. Gently wring out the clothes: Carefully wring out the clothes to remove as much water as possible. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric.
  3. Sort and prepare: Sort the clothes according to their fabric type and color. This will help prevent colors from bleeding and ensure even drying. Shake out each garment to remove any remaining water droplets.

Using Vinegar as a Natural Deodorizer

One effective method for removing odors from clothes left in the washer is by utilizing a specific ratio of vinegar to water in the washing process. Vinegar is a natural cleaning method that has been used for centuries as an alternative odor eliminator. To use vinegar, simply add half a cup to one cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine. The vinegar will help neutralize and eliminate any lingering odors on your clothes. It is important to note that vinegar is safe to use on most fabrics, but you should always check the care label on your clothes before using it. Now that we have discussed using vinegar as a natural deodorizer, let’s move on to the next method: harnessing the power of baking soda.

Harnessing the Power of Baking Soda

Baking soda’s versatility and deodorizing properties make it an excellent tool for eliminating odors from clothes left in the washer. Here are three reasons why harnessing the power of baking soda can benefit you in tackling this issue:

  1. Natural deodorizer: Baking soda has the ability to neutralize and absorb unpleasant odors, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean.
  2. Gentle on fabrics: Unlike harsh chemicals, baking soda is gentle on fabrics, making it a safe and effective choice for removing odors without damaging your clothes.
  3. Cost-effective alternative: Baking soda is an affordable and easily accessible alternative to expensive odor eliminators. By using baking soda, you can save money while still achieving the desired results.

Harnessing the power of baking soda is just the first step in refreshing your clothes. Now let’s explore how adding essential oils can give your garments a fresh and pleasant scent.

Adding Essential Oils for a Fresh Scent

Two popular options for adding a fresh scent to your clothes are lavender and lemon essential oils. Using essential oils for aromatherapy is a great way to naturally freshen up your laundry. Lavender oil has a calming and relaxing scent, while lemon oil has a refreshing and energizing aroma. Both oils provide numerous benefits, including their natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. When added to your laundry, they can help eliminate any lingering odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean. Additionally, using natural scents like essential oils is a safer alternative to synthetic fragrances, which may contain harmful chemicals. By incorporating essential oils into your laundry routine, you can enjoy the benefits of natural scents and create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. In the next section, we will discuss some tips for preventing future odor issues.

Tips for Preventing Future Odor Issues

Tips for Preventing Future Odor Issues

To prevent future odor issues in your clothes, it is important to follow proper storage techniques. Make sure to completely dry your clothes before storing them, as dampness can lead to musty smells. Additionally, establish a regular cleaning routine for your washing machine, including wiping down the drum and detergent dispenser, to prevent any lingering odors from transferring to your clothes.

Proper Storage Techniques

When it comes to preventing future odor issues, implementing proper storage techniques is essential. By following these tips, you can ensure that your clothes remain fresh and free from unpleasant smells:

  1. Proper Organization: Keep your clothes neatly organized in your wardrobe or dresser. Group similar items together, such as shirts with shirts and pants with pants. This will help airflow and prevent any lingering odors from transferring between different garments.
  2. Effective Airing: Before storing your clothes, make sure they are completely dry. Dampness can lead to mold and mildew, resulting in unpleasant odors. Hang your clothes in a well-ventilated area to allow them to air out properly. Avoid storing clothes in plastic bags or airtight containers, as this can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.
  3. Regular Cleaning: Regularly wash your clothes using proper laundry techniques to remove any dirt, sweat, or other sources of odor. Follow the care instructions on the garment labels and use the appropriate detergent and water temperature.

Regular Cleaning Routine

Consistently following a proper cleaning routine is crucial in preventing future odor issues with your clothes. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your clothes smelling fresh and clean. Here are some practical tips to help you prevent odors and maintain the freshness of your garments.

First, make sure to separate your laundry by color and fabric type before washing. This will prevent any potential color bleeding and keep your clothes smelling their best. Additionally, always check the care labels on your garments and follow the recommended washing instructions.

Next, ensure that you are using the right amount of detergent for each load. Too much or too little detergent can lead to unpleasant odors. It’s also important to clean your washing machine regularly by running a cycle with hot water and vinegar to eliminate any build-up and bacteria that may cause odors.

Lastly, make sure to dry your clothes properly. Avoid leaving damp clothes sitting in the washer or dryer for an extended period as this can lead to mildew and musty smells. Instead, promptly remove your clothes from the machine and allow them to air dry or use a dryer with proper ventilation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can Clothes Be Left in the Washer Before the Smell Becomes Permanent?

To prevent clothes from smelling in the washer and remove musty smells, it is important to not leave them in the washer for an extended period. Leaving clothes for too long can cause the smell to become permanent.

Can I Use Any Type of Vinegar as a Natural Deodorizer?

Yes, vinegar can be used as a natural deodorizer due to its acetic acid content. However, it is recommended to use distilled white vinegar for best results. Essential oils can also be added for additional odor elimination benefits.

Does Baking Soda Leave Any Residue on Clothes?

Baking soda can leave a residue on clothes if not properly rinsed. To remove odor, vinegar is an effective natural deodorizer. Ensure thorough rinsing to avoid any residue and achieve fresh-smelling clothes.

Which Essential Oils Work Best for Eliminating Odors?

Essential oil blends can be effective in eliminating odors. DIY odor eliminating sprays can be made by combining essential oils with water or vinegar. Experiment with oils like lavender, tea tree, and lemon for optimal results.

Are There Any Specific Washing Machine Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Odor Issues?

Regular washing machine cleaning and maintenance is crucial in preventing clothes odor. Some tips include cleaning the detergent dispenser, running an empty hot water cycle with vinegar, and leaving the washer door open to air out.


In conclusion, taking prompt action to address the smell in clothes left in the washer is crucial. Sorting and preparing the clothes before washing them can help prevent odor issues. Using vinegar as a natural deodorizer, harnessing the power of baking soda, and adding essential oils for a fresh scent are effective methods to eliminate odors. By following these practical tips and implementing preventive measures, you can keep your clothes smelling fresh and avoid future odor problems.

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