Clean laundry smells funky!

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  #1  
Old 11-08-18, 07:38 PM
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Clean laundry smells funky!

A few weeks ago I noticed that my clean clothes were smelling really funky. It's not a mildew smell, it's just a bad smell. I poked around Dr. Google and did some of the things I found with my 3-year-old front-loading LG Washer. I ran a Tub Clean cycle with bleach. I drained the filter area at the bottom and cleaned the filter. Just to cover all the bases, I sprayed bleach in my dryer and let it sit for a few minutes, then air-dried a damp towel after wiping the dryer tub. And still, the clothes smell funky.

I think the dryer heat is activating whatever is making the clothes smell funky, but even clothes that I hang dry have the smell. So I don't think it's the dryer.

Now here's the thing: My washer and dryer are in a laundry closet, not a room. I have to keep the door to this closet closed at all time so my cats don't do something stupid like scratch holes in the dryer vent hose and take a trip through the hose to who-knows-where. I do leave the washer door ajar between loads.

I hang the clothes in a walk-in closet. It gets daylight but is dark at night.

After doing the tub clean and a hot water cycle, the washer seems to smell clean, but the clothes come out smelling funky. And here's another thing: It's not everything. Denim, synthetic and cotton underwear, terrycloth towels, cotton and synthetic knits are the worst. Flat dish towels and synthetic knit pants don't have it anywhere nearly as bad. Neither do socks.

I'm just trying to gauge this to try and isolate the problem.

I am using a Kirkland environmentally responsible laundry detergent that is now about a year old. I live alone and it is a big bottle of detergent. I'm wondering if perhaps it's gone bad, or perhaps it's interacting somehow with the fabrics? And if so, why now?

Anyone have any other ideas about what I can do?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-08-18, 07:45 PM
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I wish I had a positive answer for you. I have the same problem with my work tee shirts. As soon as they get slightly damp.... like from sweating... they smell awful. I've tried many different laundry soaps. I've used Affresh for clothes washers. The clothes come out smelling clean but as soon as they get damp..... whew ! I even keep the lid up on my machine. Doesn't seem to make any difference.
 
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Old 11-08-18, 08:35 PM
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I'm assuming you're using HE detergent if it's an HE washer? Are you rinsing on hot, warm, or cold? I'm wondering if there could be detergent residue building up. Have you tried a wash and rinse, then an extra rinse (or two)? Hot/warm wash without detergents? Wash cycle with no detergent, but a little bit of vinegar? (Vinegar is a common trick used for removing soap and oil build up in cloth diapers, for example).

Unfortunately without smell-o-Internet, it's hard to know exactly what odor you might be getting.

I did read something online that said that the Kirkland environmentally friendly detergent has coconut and palm oil products in it. I suppose if it's made with that kind of stuff, there's the possibility that it could go rancid. Unfortunately, more specific details are hard to find. How does the detergent smell in the bottle?

Try a different soap. Try a laundromat or a dry cleaners, to take your machines out of the equation. See if any of that improves the odors.
 
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Old 11-08-18, 09:18 PM
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Not to hijack the thread....

My machine is an older top loader. It only has cold water rinse. I've tried extra rinsing and even washing the clothes twice. I usually wash in warm water. There is no smell in the washer. The clothes smell clean and fresh when removed from the washer. Still smell good after drying. I've even started using Gain Fireworks In-Wash Original Scented Booster Beads. They help and give the clothes a fresher and distinct smell but I still smell a rancid smell when my shirts get damp. You aren't supposed to be able to smell your own body odor but that's what it smells like.
 
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Old 11-08-18, 09:41 PM
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This https://www.elsevier.com/connect/sme...n-to-chemistry is an interesting article about the "science of laundry smells." In short, there are select bacteria that off-gas bad odors. I really wonder if it's just a build-up of bacteria that never truly gets clean. Are you wearing colored work shirts, PJ, or white? I'm curious how bleached whites compare to unbleached colors, in terms of their smell.

I saw an ad on TV the other day for a Lysol laundry sanitizer. I haven't tried it personally, but it claims to kill bacteria without bleach. I'd be inclined to try that, or even just a vinegar wash first, to try to kill some bacteria and strip some detergent buildup. There are also enzymatic cleaners that I've used that worked well on things like vomit odor. But without knowing the real source of the odor, it'll probably take a bit of experimenting to find what removes it.
 
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Old 11-08-18, 09:56 PM
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Excellent article. I enjoyed reading the peoples replies as they sound similar. I wear dark colored shirts since I work in dirty environments. I did notice a common thread and that cotton is the most affected. With my shirts..... it's predominantly the collars that smell. Nothing from the pit area at all.
 
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Old 11-08-18, 11:00 PM
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While it doesn't seem to pertain, every bit of evidence needs to be reviewed.

I have found this same scenario from time to time. Shirts smell fine until you start to sweat a little in them and they give off a funky odor that makes me self conscious. The link that I found is the time from when it is washed to when it is dried. If for example, you put a load in at dinner time and then don't dry it until the next morning, the whole load will have that funky "only when sweating" odor. If however, I dry the load directly after the cycle ends, I have no issue with funkiness. Therefore, if I ever come upon a stale load that has sat for any length of time in the washer before going into the dryer, I re-wash it. Have never had the funkiness in any other scenario.
 
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Old 11-09-18, 04:12 AM
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All I can say thank god my smeller doesn't work that good.
 
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Old 11-09-18, 08:28 AM
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Czizzi, did your clothes smell like mildew in that case? Or something else? I certainly have seen clothes get mildew on them by leaving them wet in the washer. But the same dark, wet environment that is good for mildew is probably good for lots of other bacteria.

PJ, forgive me if this is too personal, but do you wear antiperspirant deodorant, or just deodorant? I sweat like there's no tomorrow, and so I slather on antiperspirant like there's no tomorrow. As a result, my armpit sweat is very minimal, but the rest of my shirt can be soaked in sweat.

If you're in to scientific studies, here's one https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4249026/ looking at the affinity of different bacteria for different textiles.
 
  #10  
Old 11-09-18, 10:30 AM
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We've experienced this as well. As Czizzi said, time from washer to dryer seems critical. It does seem that once it sets into the fabric, it is hard to remove. After this happens, we've had luck getting it out by soaking the affected fabric in vinegar, then doing a normal wash, then moving it to the dryer quickly. I swear by Tide with bleach alternative.
Good luck,
Andy
 
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Old 11-09-18, 10:38 AM
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I use combo anti p and deodorant. I am a heavy sweater. It's just strange that it is predominantly the collar.... not the entire shirt. I may have to presoak them in vinegar or possibly hydrogen peroxide

Leaving the clothes for an extended period in the washer before drying is a definite no no. Usually in that case when you pull them out the entire load already has an odor to it.
 
  #12  
Old 11-09-18, 11:06 PM
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I usually do a double rinse on our cloths as the wife is ultra sensative to too much soap and will hive up. So in effect, any of those wonderful fragrances left behind by washing are rinsed out by the second rinse cycle. So, leaving a load wet for too long doesn't smell bad initially, but when dried smells fine. It is when you re-wet the clothes with sweat that it brings out the smell. Its not a mildew smell or a mold smell, it is kind of unique. Its like I can smell it but no one else probably can. Like day old underwear, you may know that you are not as clean as you can be, but nobody else knows. Although I have run into some people who I couldn't believe they can't smell themselves. Its a messed up world sometimes. Was in the grocery store with the wife last week. Walked by a guy using a motorized cart provided by the store and we both looked at each other and gagged. Smelled worse than a baby's dirty diaper. He seemed to follow us around the store. We kept taking detours so as to not encounter him. Ended up to be a very long shopping trip to get what we wanted. How can you not smell yourself when that strong?
 
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