Thread Number: 79602  /  Tag: Detergents and Additives
Clothes stink, not washer.
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Post# 1035019   6/10/2019 at 18:44 (398 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

Hello everyone, its been a while..

I need some advice on how to sanitize or remove germs and bacteria from my T shirts.
I imagine all my clothes need sanitized since I'm single and wash everything together. I never use bleach, but have done a few citric acid/baking soda treatments to my speed queen FL which doesn't have a sanitize setting but the washer doesn't stink. The T shirts don't stink after the taken from the drier, but start to stink after I wear them for 10 minutes.
I only wash one load a week with tide powder since my employer washes my jeans.

Anyway, can anyone give me some proven ways to get rid of odor causing germs and bacteria without throwing the clothes away?


Post# 1035022 , Reply# 1   6/10/2019 at 18:56 (398 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra SeŮora de Los Angeles de Porciķncula)        

Wash them with pine sol or lysol.

Don't use fabric softener

If they're white, use bleach
Always use the hottest water the fabric can stand.

Some fabrics are made of "Chinesium", over time they will stink, no matter what you do.

Post# 1035029 , Reply# 2   6/10/2019 at 19:15 (398 days old) by imperial70 (******)        
Can Pine Glo

be substituted for pine sol.  I tried searching and everything comes up pine sol for laundry.    The reason I ask is I like pine glo and it also kills nasties. :-)

Post# 1035030 , Reply# 3   6/10/2019 at 19:25 (398 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture

I hear borax is good for combating odors ... haven't had a need to try it.

Post# 1035034 , Reply# 4   6/10/2019 at 19:42 (398 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
maybe tell us exactly what your current washing procedure is....

most likely cold washes and cheap detergent....

never recommended to let them sit in the machine for long periods before drying them...

30 to 60 minute soaks can help at times too...

nothing special really needs done....just the basics will work great

a good detergent, plus a few additives if needed:

bleach, borax, ammonia, washing soda, color safe bleach, peroxide

Lestoil is really good, but mainly used for greasy work clothes...

softener if so desired, first diluting the whole bottle 50/50 with water...

Post# 1035043 , Reply# 5   6/10/2019 at 20:30 (398 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
Partners wash use to stink because he was cramming the washer so full of clothes there was little room for any water let alone detergent. He's learned finally and the stink is gone.

Post# 1035048 , Reply# 6   6/10/2019 at 22:26 (398 days old) by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        

This cheap and powerful additive will remove any gunk that has built up in your clothes and make them nice and fresh. I use about 1C per load with great results. Just be sure you arenít mixing it with bleach. I have had numerous people ask how my clothes smell so good, and I usually assume it is just my detergent, however it is the lack of B/O and mildew smell that nearly everyone else is used to now. Give it a try and see what you think.

Post# 1035049 , Reply# 7   6/10/2019 at 22:30 (398 days old) by littlegreeny (Milwaukee, WI)        
Sounds Like Detergent Residue

littlegreeny's profile picture
That's detergent residue stinking up your clothes.

Wash on hot or warm water, use less detergent and run an extra rinse. What cycle are you using? I'd avoid the Normal Eco cycle and use the Heavy Duty cycle instead which uses more water that isn't dumbed-down in terms of temperature.

Post# 1035050 , Reply# 8   6/10/2019 at 22:35 (398 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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I also have this problem with T-shirts that I use for lawn mowing and cardio workouts.  After a few months I just toss them.  Nothing I have tried (including liquid bleach) has been able to salvage them.


I believe the problem comes from letting them sit instead of washing them immediately.  But that can't be helped as I'm not going to wash tiny loads every day or every other day.


I've thought about filling a bucket with detergent water and adding them to the bucket to soak before their regular weekly washing but have never gotten around to actually trying it.





Post# 1035053 , Reply# 9   6/10/2019 at 22:50 (398 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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This is why I was so upset when they stopped making Wisk. That stuff was great for removing odors. I'm on my last bottle of it. However I did notice that Lysol makes a laundry sanitizer for situations like this. You use it in the rinse cycle and its supposed to kill bacteria. I haven't tried it but the reviews I've seen online are pretty good. Might be worth a try!

Post# 1035061 , Reply# 10   6/11/2019 at 04:20 (398 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

mrboilwash's profile picture
At first you should find out what the reason for the bad smell is.

If it`s because of odor causing bacteria the smell would be rather sour like an old dish cloth or cleaning rag that has been sitting wet for too long.
Remedy is simple, anything that destroys germs like hot water over 150į F, bleach or quat based laundry sanitizers will work.

If the smell comes from a build up of not completely removed or redeposited body oils, dead skin cells and so on then it`s gonna be way more challenging.
The smell would be rather musty or like rancid fat or even like vomit if it`s really bad. The reason for this is usually not using enough detergent over a longer period of time and once it`s there it`s very hard to get it out again.
A combination of a heavy dose of detergent along with washing soda and oxygen bleach in hot water might help after several washes but is also hard on colors. Never tried ammonia myself but it is a very powerful degreaser so it might be worth a try.

Post# 1035079 , Reply# 11   6/11/2019 at 11:01 (397 days old) by philcobendixduo (San Jose)        
I have this same problem....

philcobendixduo's profile picture
.....with my Jockey brand "classic" briefs. I wash them in warm water with ALL "free" (no scent or color) and bleach. They smell fine out of the washer. The smell fine after line drying. Then, after they are put away in the drawer, they begin to reek within hours. I liken the smell to "baby poop". T-shirts and socks washed with these items do not have this issue - just the briefs.

I thought maybe it had something to do with the bleach so I didn't use bleach this last washday and still, they smell horrible.

I never had this issue with Hanes brand briefs so perhaps it IS the lousy fabric that is used or the elastic or....???

I used to use HOT water for whites but it is VERY hard on the elastic so I switched to warm water washes.

Post# 1035081 , Reply# 12   6/11/2019 at 11:24 (397 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

Thanks everyone.

I always use the heavy duty setting with hottest water setting and second rinse, but my water heater is set just a little warmer than I need to shower. I also purge the cold water from the pipe with the sink next to the washer but there's still 8' of pipe I cant purge. I started with one teaspoon of Tide powder, but have increased to two table spoons which has helped but not eliminated the smell. I never use bleach since I wash everything together, as I'm single I only wash one load a week, also because my employer washes my jeans.

I guess I'll try pine sol or lysol pre-soak in a bucket because I'm not sure how to use either in a front loader..

Post# 1035085 , Reply# 13   6/11/2019 at 12:06 (397 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture

... my water heater is set just a little warmer than I need to shower.
What temperature is that exactly?† Check it with a thermometer at that sink when it has run to maximum temperature.

I started with one teaspoon of Tide powder, but have increased to two table spoons which has helped but not eliminated the smell.
There's a clue.† One teaspoon of detergent is hardly enough.† You'll need to take more drastic steps now after the odor has set-in due to accumulation of sweat, skin sebum, and other soils.† Hotter water and a stronger dose of detergent, along with trying the suggested additives, to shift those soils out.

Post# 1035086 , Reply# 14   6/11/2019 at 12:18 (397 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Borax would be a good regular additive for odor elimination. If you use any of the Pine-Sol or Lysol products for a soak solution, do a rinse and spin or rinse them in the sink and wring well because those products really cause sudsing. I imagine that the mild wash temps are not removing organic compounds and the bacteria that feed on them which could be causing the odors. If you have chlorine bleach, you could mix up a solution of that in a plastic pail with very warm water and let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes before washing. You will need to rinse that out like through a rinse and spin before washing with colors.

Post# 1035087 , Reply# 15   6/11/2019 at 12:21 (397 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

iowabear's profile picture

I've had this problem with my workout T-shirts forever.


Back when I used apartment laundry machines I figured it was due to the short cycles.


When I bought a house and got my own top-loader I doubled-down on the Tide and used longer cycles including soak cycles and extra rinse.  Still the problem remained.


Later I got a front-loader with a heater.  Even very long wash cycles with lots of detergent didn't solve it.


So that leads me to think that if my sweat-soaked T-shirts are repeatedly allowed to dry without immediate washing they will eventually have this problem no matter what.  And I don't leave them wadded up in a hamper or basket, I always lay them out to dry when I take them out of my gym bag.

Post# 1035140 , Reply# 16   6/12/2019 at 07:33 (396 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

My hot water temperature is 128 degrees and the dial is set about half way, so I'll raise the WH temperature to HOT when I do my pre-soak wash..

I first read about the teaspoon of Tide powder on the internet, and then heard it again from my appliance salesman.. He said they were told by speedqueen themselves, so I tried it for a while. What is a normal amount of Tide in a SQFL?

And my normal washing routine includes Water and Tide. Not bleach, borax, ammonia, washing soda, color safe bleach or peroxide but its apparent I need to step up my game.

Id rather not have to rinse out the pine sol after soaking, so maybe use ammonia in the presoak so I don't have to rinse before washing? Or just one more cycle of the washer to get all the pine sol out?


Post# 1035170 , Reply# 17   6/12/2019 at 14:55 (396 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Follow directions until you learn your water and machine..its definitely more than just a tablespoon.

Post# 1035184 , Reply# 18   6/12/2019 at 18:16 (396 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

iowabear's profile picture

I think your SQFL has around the same capacity as my Maytag Neptune.  I usually use 1/4 cup of Tide HE powder...however I will use up to twice that amount for really dirty loads or a load that has an item with a stain.


If I use a 1/2 cup there are quite a bit of suds in the final rinse.  I have no detergent allergies and don't worry about it.

Post# 1035186 , Reply# 19   6/12/2019 at 18:30 (396 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

If you are going to buy ammonia, buy the clear, not the sudsy ammonia.

Post# 1035216 , Reply# 20   6/13/2019 at 06:58 (396 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I use ordinary Lysol cleaner that kills 99.9% of germs in my colored scrubs when I've had a patient with nasty infection.  I have been doing this for 21 years with no problems fading.  I have a Miele FL and Asko FL.  I pour a little more than 1/4 cup of Lysol in the drawer when I start the machine.  There's also the brown bottle of Lysol but that stuff smells like a doctor's office.  The lemon scent or fresh scent works fine with my Tide botanical garden pods.

Post# 1035218 , Reply# 21   6/13/2019 at 07:08 (396 days old) by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
It depends on the load

I have a SQ FL and softened water.

A heaping teaspoon of Tide HE powder is the right amount and makes generous suds, but not too many suds to interfere with wash action, with a load of towels.

With a load of tidy whities, it takes 2 level teaspoons in the prewash and 2 more level teaspoons in the main wash. I do a prewash so that the main wash will be hot and stay hot. There are two reasons so much more is needed for the tidy whities. Anti-perspirant in the undershirts kills suds and is difficult to remove and the undershirts, being in direct contact with skin all day, pick up more body oil and perspiration than other garments.

Generally, if you wear clothes only once and donít perspire in them, then a teaspoon to heaping teaspoon will be correct. If you wear clothes more than once or sweat a lot in them, you will need more.

It all depends!

If you are washing only one load of clothes a week, chances are high you are way overloading. Drop or toss garments in the tub. Do not compress at all. Leave say 3 or 4 inches at the top. When everything is wet the level of clothes should be an inch or 2 below the level of halfway up the window. Any more than halfway, itís overloaded. When tumbling there should be an ellipse so that all the clothes are dropping and slapping on the tub, with none caught in the center just rotating.

Ammonia (clear, non sudsy) is my vote for getting dirty clothes or sheets clean. It gets that sweat odor out of dress shirts every time. In your case soak them in ammonia for say 30 minutes. A scant 1/4 cup in the SQ FL is what I use.

Lastly, rinsing is all important too. Push both the second and third rinse buttons so you get a total of 5 rinses. You need that many.

Oh ó and purging cold water from the hot water line is essential too. Really, you should wash everything in hot for awhile to get built up body oil out. It,s probably going to take several washes.

Post# 1035219 , Reply# 22   6/13/2019 at 07:50 (395 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture

5 rinses with 1 tsp of detergent?† Surely not, LOL.

That being said, I have fairly hard well-water.† I use the stated dosage of any detergent for a medium+ to large load ... 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of Persil liquid, 5 to 7 tbsp of Cheer powder or Tide powder ... plus 2 to 3 tbsp of STPP.† Less, of course, for small to mini loads.† Very little sudsing, no odors in my clothes or washers.

Post# 1035220 , Reply# 23   6/13/2019 at 08:33 (395 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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lets not forget a little vinegar in the rinse to kill off suds...

Post# 1035258 , Reply# 24   6/13/2019 at 16:32 (395 days old) by Brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

All our detergents here are low sudsing and still recommend 40ml or 2 tablespoons.

I donít see how cleaning can happen with 2 teaspoons or 10ml

We have soft water and no issue with suds. If things smell, id try using the recommended dose of detergent.

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