Musty towels - ew! Help!

Liz - posted on 12/04/2012 ( 20 moms have responded )

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I am wondering if anyone can give me their tried-and-true method for getting rid of that musty smell that towels get. I have searched for some methods and tried them, but none have seemed to work. I really hate to have to replace my towels, so if anyone can give me some tips, I would appreciate it!

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Denikka - posted on 12/04/2012

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Vinegar. I find that doing a load of laundry with vinegar (no soap), then wash it again with your normal detergent, gets rid of that musty smell.

The other thing, that I've found is DON'T LET IT SIT WET!!! As soon as the wash cycle is done, or at least within an hour, move it to the dryer and dry it. Doesn't give the mold (or whatever it is) time to start growing.



I've also noticed that it may be the washer itself. Clean out everything that can be cleaned, then do an empty load (no clothes) with a few cups of vinegar on super high heat. That kills and cleans anything that might be left in the washer. I try to do that once a month or every other month. It seems to help. :) Good luck :)

Denikka - posted on 12/04/2012

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I just throw in the towels, estimate on the vinegar (I buy the huge jugs, so I just dump some in :P ), throw it in and turn the machine on. I don't let it sit. And I also wash it again, right after, with normal detergent. Maybe that's the difference. I've never noticed my clothes, towels or anything smelling like vinegar afterwards (I hate the smell of it too :P but it's GREAT for cleaning :P)

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Nikki - posted on 01/14/2013

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I got the dryer bar, and than put cabinet liners in with dryer sheets under the towels in the cupboards... that helped the smell in my towels. The dryer bar alone was a huge help, but we also live in a really old house, so I cabinet had that odor as well. Hopefully this helps.

Merrie - posted on 12/30/2012

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I had the same problem. I switched to Seventh Generation laundry soap and never had the problem again. Also I wash my washing machine once every two weeks. I just do two cycles with no clothes, just soap.

Toni - posted on 12/21/2012

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put approx. a cup of vinegar in with the wash cycle, and then on the rinse cycle put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in, no vinegar.
The vinegar will kill the odor, and the eucalyptus oil will have it smelling fresh and yummy.
Also make sure you washing machine is cleaned regularly and your linen cupboard in clean and dry.

Liz - posted on 12/16/2012

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Thanks, Stacy for the idea about running just vinegar through my washer. I never thought of that!

Stacy - posted on 12/15/2012

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Mine did this and I finally realized it was because I didnt dry them all the way, they felt barely wet but I have to make sure they are now super dry before I take them out. My washer also started making a not so good smell when it was running, it was like when the water ran, it just got a dirty smell, I rewashed my clothes but before I did I poured some vinegar in the washer and let it run a light load (with nothing in it) and I havent had that problem since. With the towels though I use them a few times before I use them and we juts hang them up on a rack and let them air dry. Along with everyone else you can try the borax or super washing soda, those should help

Liz - posted on 12/15/2012

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I think I will try to borax as well. I buy that to make my laundry soap so I have some on hand. Perhaps it won't leave any lingering smells like the vinegar sometimes does. Thanks!

Joyce - posted on 12/12/2012

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The best way I have found is to just buy a box of Mule Team Borax, usually found at Walmart or Kroger or at many other stores. It runs about 4.00 a box and I use about a half cup scoop per load. It will remove all the smells that come from wet towels laying wet a little to long.

Nazevyanga - posted on 12/10/2012

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yep...empty load also when you dry them, dry them completely! After you if you re-use before washing them, hang them to dry on the bars or on the door.

Ellen - posted on 12/09/2012

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Did you use white vinegar? White works better than regular apple cider vinegar and doesn't leave the vinegar smell. Also use bleach instead of vinegar to clean the washer.

Kyla - posted on 12/09/2012

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Use powder detergent instead of liquid. Once I switched, my towels never had the musty old water smell again. The liquid detergent builds up in towels and such, which is why it smells.

Liz - posted on 12/04/2012

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I've tried vinegar before, but it just seemed to make my towels smell like vinegar, which isn't exactly a scent that I enjoy! Maybe I was doing it wrong, though? The instructions I had said to fill the washer with water, then add 1 cup of vinegar. Load the towels and let it sit for 30 mins. Then during the rinse cycle, add another cup of vinegar.

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