This is why your clothes always smell bad after a wash - here's how you can fix it

During the summer, bad smells become more common in your clothes, even after washing. Here's what the experts say to do.

A woman loads laundry into the washing machine at a laundromat in Cambridge, Massachusetts July 8, 2009. (photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)
A woman loads laundry into the washing machine at a laundromat in Cambridge, Massachusetts July 8, 2009.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)

There's a reason your clothes smell bad, especially in the summer - and we're not necessarily talking about the smell of sweat that deodorant doesn't always manage to prevent. The hot and humid summer weather creates perfect conditions for clothes to become stale and moldy.

You know when you take the laundry out of the machine or take it off the line and it smells bad? 

Well, there are a few things you can do to prevent this.

According to LifeHacker laundry experts, during the summer, bad smells become more common in your clothes, even after washing. Clothes often smell after they have been dried incorrectly or left in the washing machine for too long, or in other words - when they are left damp.

During the summer, there are more opportunities for this: "If possible, try to identify what causes your clothes to stink in the first place. For example, your clothes may smell bad because you sweated while wearing them and they dried before you washed them. This leads to a situation where the bad smells are locked inside them."

"You don't need to change your entire lifestyle."

LifeHacker laundry experts

It's also possible that hanging clothes outside to dry during the damp part of the day or putting clothes in your closet when they're still slightly damp can allow mold to grow. Poor ventilation in your closet, an unclean washing machine or a very humid indoor environment can also be to blame. Synthetic fabrics also have a tendency to hold on to odors over time, while towels have a permanent musty smell if you use them too many times without washing.

Laundry hung out to dry. (credit: REUTERS)Laundry hung out to dry. (credit: REUTERS)

"You don't need to change your entire lifestyle or stop wearing synthetic fabrics," reassured the experts. Simply identify the cause of the odor and then act to get rid of it.

Use this trick next time you do laundry 

When it comes to washing machines, the next time you do laundry - experts recommend adding white vinegar instead of fabric softener during the rinse cycle. "Simply add one cup per machine for top-door washers and a quarter to a half cup for front-door washers," the pros advised, "If the smell won't go away, try washing musty fabrics in hot water with a full cup of white vinegar and no detergent." 

You can also sprinkle up to half a cup of baking soda into your washing machine before washing - and add vinegar during the rinse cycle.

Treating your clothes with a product like borax before washing is also a solution. "Pre-treat stale fabrics with borax by soaking them in a bath of warm water and half a cup of borax for an hour before preparing the garment for a normal wash cycle," suggested the experts. After that, just make sure your clothes are completely dry. Let your dryer finish the job completely before folding and storing.

Even better, avoid the dryer if possible 

The experts go on to suggest that you consider giving up the dryer and hanging your clothes outside to dry. They noted that the ultraviolet rays of the sun have antiseptic properties that can eliminate mildew. However, in Israel this tip is less applicable because there is high humidity in the air.