Eliminate Nasty Odors from Your Washing Machine with these Two Household Ingredients:
We’ve all done it; don’t lie – completely forgot about your wet laundry in the machine and now it smells like booty. No bueno. And it can stick with your clothes forever if you don’t nip it in the bud. Personally, I have to do this every month or so – it just happens; you forget. So here’s how to handle it so that you don’t have smell your fail in your clothes and future loads of laundry:
Take a deep whiff and consider what you’re dealing with. If it smells like mildew, mold, etc. then you need to definitely do an extra washing machine cleaning step. If it smells like feet, bread, beer, more bacteria or yeast rather than mold, this first step is usually plenty.
Get White Vinegar and Baking Soda from your kitchen. I keep large amounts of these things stocked because they’re useful for everything. Pour about 4oz of baking soda over your stinky laundry load in the washer (about half of a standard sized box). The pour about two cups of white vinegar over it straight into the washer. That super duper thing that these two do together that makes your kid’s volcano project so cool also does wonders for dissolving and releasing odors. For really nasty loads, feel free to double it. These things are so cheap that it’ll never matter!
Give it about 30 minutes to fizzle out and do it’s magic. Set yourself a phone alarm so you don’t forget again, lol. After 30 minutes, wash again like normal with the same detergent and cycle settings you normally use.
Before putting it in the drier, take a few pieces out and smell them. If they’re still a little dingy, repeat the process and use more baking soda and vinegar this time. Don’t dry them if you can’t get the odors out right away – it just sets them in permanently.
I have never had any color transfer or anything from this method, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you have new clothes in there that may bleed, maybe consider soaking them separately. Although if you forgot them in there, they probably bled onto surrounding garments already… I’ve done that too…
If the smell you have is super mildew-y even after doing this a few times, you may be out of luck with this load. Mildew can be a hard nut to crack if it gets well-established and may need bleach to get wiped out – which is usually not the best for most laundry loads.
Whether this trick did or did not work on your mildew odor, DO take an empty load to clean out your washer. Our washers are fabulous petri dishes because they’re wet and dark. To banish the mildew that lives in your machine, run an empty load with bleach both in the basin and in the bleach slot that most washers have. Run it as the largest load setting and as hot as it runs and to pass the bleach through all the lines water goes through and mildew moves into. It’s comforting to run a second empty load with nothing in it after just to make sure you flushed all of the bleach out, but that should kill it.
So that’s it! This trick works fabulously on smelly shoes as well, so I’ll post that demo for you soon!