The scent of fresh linen is so popular that it’s often found in candles, essential oils, and lotions. It’s the essence of a fresh, crisp, and clean smell, the way your laundry ideally should smell right out of the dryer. However, there are times when clothes and linens don’t quite achieve that fresh scent and instead come out smelling musty or lack any clean fragrance.
Fortunately, we have several solutions to help you achieve that just-washed scent. If you’re looking to make your laundry smell good without relying on scented laundry soap and want to ensure your laundry stays fresh between washes, the expert tips below will guide you through the process.
Ways to Make Your Laundry Smell Good and Fresh
Freshen Up Your Washing Machine
The key to achieving that wonderful laundry scent starts with a clean washing machine. If your clean loads don’t seem as fresh as they used to, it might be time to clean your washing machine.
Always consult your machine’s use and care guide for specific cleaning instructions.
Typically, it’s recommended to clean your washing machine at least once a month or every 30 cycles to prevent the buildup of soils and detergent.
Also learn about The Best Way to Clean Your Washing Machine
Wash Smaller Loads
While it’s beneficial to aim for full loads to save energy, water, and time, it’s crucial not to overload your machine. Leaving room for the clothes to agitate.
Avoid cramming or pushing clothes in, and ensure there are several inches of space at the top of the machine. Loading clothes one by one or in small batches, instead of one large armful, can be helpful.
Avoid Letting Wet Clothes Sit
Wet clothes left in the washer for an extended period can develop a mildewy smell. To prevent this, move your freshly washed clothes to the dryer promptly.
Even a few hours can lead to the development of an unpleasant odor, so act quickly to keep your laundry smelling fresh.
Use Vinegar as a Fabric Softener
Add vinegar to your laundry occasionally as a fabric softener. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar. Vinegar not only neutralizes odors and softens fabrics but also helps prevent mold and residue buildup in the detergent drawer.
Be cautious not to overdo it—twice a month is sufficient, as vinegar can wear down elastics and delicate fabrics over time.
Opt for a Smaller Laundry Bin
Choose a smaller laundry bin to prevent the accumulation of smells. Damp clothing and towels left in a hamper for days can lead to unpleasant odors.
A smaller bin, limited to one load’s worth of items, ensures that clothes won’t linger for an extended period.
Avoid Overfilling Your Washer
Resist the temptation to overpack your washing machine. According to Murphy, overloading prevents your laundry from having the space to spin and move around, which can result in uneven cleaning.
Some items may not get enough detergent, leaving them less fresh. Consider washing a full set of sheets separately and doing smaller loads, especially for items like gym clothes, to ensure a thorough and fresh cleaning.
Hang Your Clothes Outdoors
Let a bit of fresh air work its magic on your laundry, tackling unpleasant odors. A gentle breeze and some sunshine can make a significant difference.
Hang clothes, especially those with stubborn odors like campfire smoke, outdoors on a clothesline or the back of a chair in the breeze for a few hours to release the initial smell.
For heavily odorous clothes, such as those exposed to smoke, using a premium detergent with a boosted fresh scent and deep cleaning properties.
If the smell persists, soak the garment in detergent or an oxygen booster for an hour or more before washing.
After washing, air dry the garment outside or in an area with good airflow, but avoid direct sunlight to prevent color fading.
Pre-Treat Stains to Remove Odors
Give special attention to clothes with extra smelly spots, like underarms with deodorant buildup. Turn the garment inside out and pre-treat the area with a high-quality detergent containing stain-fighting enzymes.
Pour enough liquid detergent, rub it in with your hands or an old toothbrush, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before washing as usual.
This method helps eliminate musty smells and keeps your laundry looking bright and fresh. Consider adding a soaking step for enhanced odor-fighting.
Add Essential Oils
Elevate the scent of your laundry by using essential oils. You just have to spray your laundry with essential oils before washing.
However, use water-based soluble essential oils. Non-water-based oils can stain your clothes during the wash, and these stains are challenging to remove.
Approach this method carefully to avoid any mishaps.
Store Your Laundry Properly
Storing your clothes correctly plays a significant role in preserving their fresh scent, according to Rick Rome.
Consider placing delicate items in cedar closets, chests, or plastic covers, away from direct sunlight, to shield them from outside odors entering your home.
For clothes worn a few times before washing, Rome advises against tossing them in a pile or on furniture.
Instead, hang them up to air out before neatly folding them away in drawers or hanging them in a closet.
Scent Your Laundry with Sachets and Scent Bars
Enhance the aroma of your laundry by adding sweet-smelling sachets or bars to your drawers. Naturally scenting the fabric as you go through the drawer each week.
Sachets and scent bars are also excellent for seasonal fabrics like winter wool coats and cozy fleece jackets that are stored away for the season.
Use Baking Soda to Absorb Odors
Combat foul odors with the neutralizing power of baking soda. Placing a small bowl or an opened box of baking soda at the bottom of your wardrobe can effectively absorb any unpleasant odors.
Baking soda neutralizes odors instead of just masking them, providing a simple way to keep your laundry smelling fresh between washes.
Use Fabric Softener
Elevate the scent of your clothes by incorporating fabric softener into your laundry routine. Whether you choose to add essential oils to a homemade fabric softener or opt for a scented commercial fabric softener, it’s an excellent way to make your clothes smell delightful.
Fabric softeners deposit ingredients onto fabric fibers, fighting wrinkles, reducing static, and imparting a soft touch and fresh scent to your laundry.
Line Dry Clothes Outside
Instead of using the dryer or hanging clothes in the laundry room, consider line drying them outdoors.
Line drying on a clear day without residual smoke or pollutants in the air leaves your laundry with a fresh scent.
The clean fragrance lasts longer when the clothes are genuinely clean, not just perfumed by laundry products.
Use Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are a versatile addition to your laundry routine. They reduce static cling, speed up drying times, and add a soft touch to garments.
If you make wool dryer balls at home, you can infuse them with a natural scent by adding a few drops of essential oils to the wool roving.
As you dry your clothes with these balls, the scent from the essential oils imparts a fresh smell to your garments.