Removing Odor in the Laundry Room

Laundry rooms may not be the smelliest place in the house, but removing odor there requires its own little tricks.

There are two main kinds of house odor that might infect your laundry room - odors in the clothes themselves, and odors in the wash machine. Fortunately, removing odor from either place is not a difficult task.

Washing Machine Odor

For Your Top-Loader

1. For regular 'mustiness' - Run a hot water wash, with no clothes, and add one cup of baking soda straight into the water. Fill the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar. Run through a regular cycle, and your machine should be clean and fresh.

Leave the lid open between loads.

2. If the smell comes from hard water build-up - do as above, but use washing soda instead of baking soda. If it doesn't help, then your build up might require chemical intervention. There are many products available, but they tend to be regionally available. Take a trip to your local hardware store and ask for what is available to remove hard water and mineral build-up from a wash machine. Follow the directions carefully, these are strong chemicals that are not always human or environmentally friendly.

Once you have done the treatment, do a 'washing soda' rinse once every week or two to help keep things from building up as quickly.

Bonus: adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to each load will help, and it will help to reduce the amount of soap you have to use.

For Your Front-Loader

1. For regular 'mustiness'

a. Clean the rubber seal with baking soda and water until you have removed any mildew on the surface. (the rubber might still be stained a little, even once the mildew itself has been removed from the surface)

b. Do a hot-water load adding 1 cup of baking soda in the drum, and white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser.

c. Leave the door open between loads keep the interior dry.

2. For hard water odors, follow the direction for top-loading machines, but check the label to make sure that the product is safe for front-loaders. (Most are, but the occasional product may damage the rubber seal)

Laundry Odors

House odor in the laundry can come from many different sources: cigarette smoke, that musty smell from being left in the wash machine for a couple of days, pet urine from a dog or cat left alone too long, restaurant smells, and the list goes on...

Fortunately, for machine-washables, almost all of these odors can be eliminated with the same technique, using white vinegar...

1. For everything except the pet urine smells: Put white vinegar into both the fabric softener and the bleach dispenser of your washing machine, with the normal amount of laundry detergent. Run the load normally, and you should have success!

2. To eliminate pet urine smells in clothing - Do as above with the white vinegar, but add 1/2 cup of cashing soda or baking soda to the load. Sometimes you may have to do this twice, as pet urine can be very persistent. I've never had to do it more than twice though.

For dry-clean only items, try airing them out in the fresh air for the day. Otherwise, you may have to send them for dry cleaning.

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