How to Get Rid of Damp Smell in Clothes: The Complete Guide

Temps de lecture : 4 minutes environ

Tired of your laundry still smelling damp after washing? It’s so frustrating, especially when you want to feel fresh in your clothes. It’s time to restore the freshness in your wardrobe. Discover all the at-home cleaning tips on how to get rid of damp smell in clothes!


Where Does the Damp Smell Come From?

Even after washing, clothes can sometimes retain an unpleasant damp smell. Why? It’s usually due to leaving items in a damp laundry basket or not drying clothes properly after washing.

The Importance of Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean

A clean washing machine is a game-changer. Keeping your machine clean maximises energy efficiency and extends its lifespan. Plus, your clothes will come out cleaner and odour-free. No more mysterious stains on your freshly washed clothes! A clean machine also helps prevent breakdowns.

To recap:

  • Save money
  • Extend the machine’s life
  • Improve wash quality
  • Prevent breakdowns

How to Prevent Damp Smells in Clothes

To prevent bad smells before, during, and after machine washing:

  1. Use the right amount of detergent. Too much can cause build-up and bacteria growth.
  2. Set the correct temperature. Consider the fabric types. Generally, 30°C is too cold to kill microorganisms effectively. Check labels for guidance.

For a thorough clean:

  • Clean the drum seal with a damp cloth and vinegar.
  • Wash the filter with soapy water.
  • Ensure no water backflow from the waste pipe. Use a mix of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to clean the pipe.
  • Run an empty wash at 90°C with three litres of white vinegar to disinfect.

Natural Tips to Remove Damp Smells

Use White Vinegar: Soak smelly clothes overnight in a basin of white vinegar, then wash as usual. This is great for strong odours and delicate textiles that smell of sweat. However, avoid using vinegar on wool and silk; dry cleaning is safer for these fabrics.

Bicarbonate of Soda: This natural product is excellent for eliminating smells. Wet the fabric, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the smelly areas (like armpits), and rinse after an hour or overnight. You can also add bicarbonate directly into the washing machine, though it’s less effective than a vinegar soak.

Choosing the Right Washing Temperature

  • 40°C: Ideal for white and black clothes.
  • 60°C: Perfect for sheets, towels, and kitchen cloths. Pre-treat stains with lemon or bicarbonate of soda for the best results. Baby clothes can also be washed at 60°C for cleanliness.
  • 90°C: Reserved for heavily soiled white cotton or linen like underwear, bath towels, kitchen towels, and baby bibs.

Why Quick Drying is Crucial

Drying clothes quickly prevents bacteria and mould growth, maintains fabric quality, and keeps your wash fresh and hygienic. Drying your clothes outside is great if the weather is good. Indoors, a dehumidifier speeds up drying. A clean tumble dryer also does the job efficiently.

The Role of Essential Oils

Use essential oils sparingly. They don’t replace fabric softeners but add a pleasant scent. Add 5 to 10 drops to the fabric softener compartment. Here are a few options (check if they’re suitable for you):

  • Lavender: Insecticidal and antibacterial.
  • Lemon: Antiseptic, perfect for disinfecting clothes.
  • Sweet Orange: Antibacterial and purifying, it deeply cleans and scents your laundry.

Opt for organic essential oils to support the environment and health.


Feeling good in your clothes is a must. You now know how to get rid of damp smell in clothes effectively! Use the right products and dry your clothes quickly to avoid damp smells. Soaking clothes in white vinegar is a handy trick for particularly smelly garments. You’re all set! Need help with home cleaning? Have you tried a home cleaning service yet?

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