How To Make Your Laundry Smell Good: 8 Steps

There's nothing better than the fresh scent of clean laundry… but if your laundry smells more funky than fresh, it may be time to mix things up. There are plenty of ways to get back to smelling like sunshine and rainbows again. 

Whether your laundry needs a scent boost or something just smells off, we have the steps to help you rescue your clothes. So, say goodbye to your laundry woes and hello to a burst of freshness. Your laundry will look and smell the best it ever has in no time.

How Can You Make Your Laundry Smell Good? 

Follow these eight tips to achieve incredible-smelling laundry. 

1. Deodorize With Baking Soda 

Baking soda is a great way to deodorize your laundry. You can use baking soda as a laundry detergent replacement or as a booster. Baking soda allows you to use less detergent and makes the wash more effective. 

The powder is made from sodium bicarbonate, which is a naturally occurring substance that can neutralize odors by balancing pH levels. It's the most helpful at removing acidic scents like smoke, sweat, and vomit. Baking soda also absorbs oils that can cause odors. To remove oils, allow the baking soda to sit on the clothes or linens for a day before washing. 

Sprinkle half a cup into your laundry in the washing machine. Add the washing detergent and run your washer as normal. If replacing detergent with baking soda, sprinkle a full cup onto your laundry. You can also run 1/2 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle and add another 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle. 

2. Clean Your Washing Machine 

The odor problem may not be with your laundry but with your washing machine. It's easy to forget to clean it until there's a foul smell coming from your laundry room, and believe it or not, the washing machine is a breeding ground for bacteria

Mildew and mold can develop in your washing machine, and before you know it, it's taken over — and it might not even be growing on the parts of the machine that are visible. The detergent, fabric softener, and fibers of your laundry can also build up in your machine and contribute to unpleasant smells. 

To avoid the smell, clean your washing machine regularly and do a deep clean every three to four months. Bleach and white vinegar are your new secret weapons when it comes to battling mildew and mystery odors. Vineager's high acidity is great for killing the unwanted gunk in the washer, while bleach is ideal for getting rid of mold or mildew. If you opt for bleach or vinegar to freshen your laundry, just make sure to never mix the two together, as this can create chlorine gas.

Add a quarter cup of bleach to the washer and set it to a normal wash cycle using hot water. You may need to check your machine's manual to make sure you can use bleach. If you can’t use bleach, opt for a cup of white vinegar instead. 

It's common for people to forget about cleaning the drain on a washing machine. Remove the drain and allow any excess water to flow out. Once it's empty, you can clean any gunk that may be hiding in there, causing a musty smell.

3. Do Smaller Loads of Laundry

Overloading your washing machine can lead to your laundry not being adequately cleaned. If your clothes are coming out with lingering odors, try smaller loads. The washer will be able to saturate and clean each item thoroughly. 

Trying to wash too many things at once can also strain your machine. The washer's sensors can be damaged and can even break the motor. A trip to a laundromat will be in your future. 

4. Use Scent Boosters 

Laundry scent boosters are rockstars at making your clothes and linens smell amazing. The boosters are made from beads or crystals that dissolve into your laundry in the washer. The scent will linger long after your laundry is washed. 

You add the scent boosters directly to your washing drum before your laundry. You can add a small amount or a full cap, depending on how strong you want the smell to be.

5. Choose the Right Detergent 

With so many detergents on the market, it is hard to pick the right one. You want a formulation with a deodorizer that can remove stains and leave you with clean clothes. 

Liquid detergents are the most effective at stain removal, especially when it comes to ridding clothing of oils. It's also easier to pretreat stains when you have liquid detergent on hand. 

6. Pre-Treat Any Stains 

Don’t let stains take up permanent residency in your laundry. Instead, do a little pretreating once you notice a stain. Allowing the stain to set may mean it’s never coming out. Apply a small amount of detergent or stain remover to the spot with cold water when you get a stain. If you can't wash your items, take your dry cleaning in as soon as possible. 

7. Don’t Let Wet Clothes Sit 

​​Avoid letting your wet laundry sit in the washer when the cycle is done. Every time you wash clothes, move them to the dryer or hang them up to air dry immediately. 

Damp clothes sitting can grow mildew and develop an odor. The mildew doesn't just smell bad — it can actually lead to health problems with prolonged exposure. Use baking soda to help rid the clothes of any unpleasant odors caused by sitting too long.

8. Try Scented Dryer Balls 

Ditch the dryer sheets for scented dryer balls for a customizable scent boost. The swap allows you to create a DIY scent on wool dryer balls using a few drops of your favorite essential oil. The essential oils will make your laundry smell better for longer. 

Smell Good, Feel Good

If you’re dealing with laundry that doesn’t quite the way you want it to, we can help with that. Following these laundry tips can help you keep unpleasant odors at bay and get back to laundry that smells incredible. Treat your washing machine to a spa day once in a while to keep your home and laundry smelling fresh, not funky.


Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) | Chemical Safety Facts

Mold in Your Washing Machine: Mystery & the Menace | Consumer Reports

How to Drain a Washing Machine | Better Homes & Gardens

Water: Is It a Breeding Ground for Bacteria in Your Facility? | Infection Control Today

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