As a family of six, you can ‘bout imagine all the laundry I have to do! Despite that being the case, I only do my washing once a week. I begin laundry on Friday, and by the time it’s all finished, it’s Sunday evening. On any given weekend, I can have 10-12 loads of clothes to wash and dry. Out of all the loads that need washing, the washcloths and towels are the ones I have to give extra attention to. Why? Because they stink! Like, really stink. They smell like mildew. Ewwww, disgusting. But I’ve figured out a solution for improving the scent of our washcloths and towels.
Air-Dry before Putting in Hamper
Because I don’t do laundry much during the week, the washcloths and towels can end up sitting in the hamper a little too long. If the kids throw these items in the hamper while they are wet (and they usually are) they will start to smell. And, if you’re not careful, they can mildew. Trust me, you don’t want that problem. You’ll end up throwing the linens out and shopping for more.
I allow items to completely air dry before placing them in the hamper, but my kids are still learning to squeeze the water out of the washcloths after using them. This will help them to dry more quickly (and keep puddles off the bathroom floor)! Once they are dry, they can be placed in the hamper. It’s best that the hamper is not kept in the bathroom because the steam from the shower will cause moisture to get into the linens. It is also a good idea to use a hamper that will allow the items to breathe. Air needs to be able to get in to keep the contents dry.
In trying to get my laundry done quickly, I’ve crammed towels to the top of the washing machine. I’ve found out that’s not best practice. I’ve learned that washing these items in a smaller load is best. I fill the washing machine ¾ up, leaving space at the top for water to cover the items, allowing for detergent and water to swish its way around the linen for a thorough cleansing. Drying in smaller loads also helps the linens to dry quickly and thoroughly. When the dryer is too full, the heat won’t circulate, therefore, causing towels to be damp. Of course, you can repeat the dry cycle, so it’s your preference.
Use Scented Fabric Softener
I find that using scented liquid fabric softener gives the washcloths and towels a much fresher scent, especially if you use a fragrance-free laundry detergent. Follow the measurements on the bottle that fit your load size. A little softener can go a long way. And if you’re like some of the members of my family with allergies, you should add a second rinse to the wash cycle when using a scented fabric softener. The softener also gives the towels an extra fluff when drying. Aside from liquid fabric softener, you can also use the fabric softener sheets that you place in the dryer with the linen.
Use Arm & Hammer Clean Scentsations
This product right here has saved my laundry life! No, really, this is the best stuff. I never knew anything about it until my husband Larry brought it home one day after going out shopping. And the only reason why he bought it was because it was less than a dollar, maybe even free. He’s a couponer, so he finds great deals on a lot of household items. (I will have to share some of his coupon strategies with you on another post).
At first, I was resistant towards the product. I didn’t see the need for it — laundry detergent is good enough. I knew I couldn’t use it on our clothing because it would have bothered the asthmatic and/or allergy sufferers in my family. But I decided to give the in-wash freshness booster a shot on our washcloths and towels since those were the items that would not be worn on our bodies. And I thought they could use the extra boost in scent. It worked a miracle. There’s no going back. Needless to say, it’s now a staple in our laundry room.
The booster provides the washcloths and towels with a long-lasting scent and freshness–I’m talking about weeks later. My dishcloths and kitchen towels are also part of that load. The product has pure baking soda in it, which allows for the extra scented boost that lasts for days. My linens do not have that awful, funky, mildew smell, so I no longer feel the need to throw our stuff in the trash!
For using this, all you need to do is pour about a ⅔ cup of it into the drum of the washing machine as the water fills, before adding your laundry. I just use the cap of our laundry detergent. You can add a little less if you desire. But for towels or even activewear, you probably need all of the ⅔ cup. The boost looks like coarse, crushed up crystals or Epsom salt. You can use this product in any type of machine. It is safe to use on children’s sleepwear or all your clothing. It is also safe for all washable fabrics, colors, water temperature, and load types. I also use the booster when I wash our small kitchen, bathroom, and other small area rugs.
Place in Dryer ASAP
I can’t always add my laundry to the dryer right after washing, especially if I’m not home. But I do try to add to the dryer as soon as I can. The longer the laundry sits, the chances of it starting to smell or mildew increases. There have been times that I washed my washcloths and towels, went to bed, and totally forgot to put them in the dryer the next morning. A couple of days later, I realized my favorite bath towels weren’t in the linen closet, and it dawned on me that they were still in the washer. When I opened up the washing machine, a whiff of unpleasantness hit my nose. I had to re-wash the whole load! I did notice, though, that when I use the scent boosters, the chances of smelly laundry decreases.
Wash the linens in warm water.
Select the largest capacity for water fill.
Use your heaviest cycle.
Measure the appropriate amount of detergent and pour into machine drum as water fills.
Dry laundry completely before folding and storing.
With these washing strategies in place, my washcloths and towels are clean and smelling fresh until my family is ready to use them. Bye-bye, stinky laundry!