7 Laundry Mistakes That Make Your Clothes Smell Less Than Their Best

Besides simply cleaning them, one of the main reasons we wash our clothes is to make them smell nice and fresh again. The only problem is that there are laundry mistakes that make your clothes smelly. As in, yes, even the act of washing your clothes could be contributing to the smell factor instead of correcting it. Pretty lame, right? But it's not necessarily the machine's fault that it may not be doing its job. Not that it's yours either, there are just some sneaky, yet common mistakes that prevent your clothes from becoming as clean as they should.

And it's not simply forgetting to use a fabric conditioner. Although adding fragrance to your load will help scent your clothes, it won't necessarily fix other underlying issues. So while you may want to consider adding a product or essential oil that will give your garments a long-lasting perfume, there are still some other mistakes worth considering. You'll be surprised what a difference just a few of these things can make. Here are seven laundry mistakes you could be making that result in your clothes smelling less than their best. Get ready to truly have that freshly-laundered scent back in your life.

1. Not Cleaning Your Washer

It may seem a little counterintuitive to have to clean something that has soap and water swirling around inside it on a regular basis, but, as the Today Show reported, washers do still need to be cleaned. Because they have a tendency to hold moisture, mildew has a tendency to grow. To make sure this doesn't happen and cause your clothes to have that musty smell, wipe down the drum with a household cleaner, and run an empty cycle with hot water and baking soda to help kill any lingering bacteria. If mildew growth is a recurring problem, try leaving the lid to your washer open when your machine is not in use so that it has a chance to thoroughly dry between uses.

2. Adding Too Many Clothes

Although really stuffing your washing machine full could seem like you're saving some money on not having to split your clothes into two smaller loads, it may actually be preventing your garments from being properly laundered, WiseBread.com reports. Part of the mechanics that clean clothes is their being able to move around in the machine. That friction allows detergent to really work into clothes. But if there is just too much in the drum, your clothes won't be able to move around as well, and therefore won't become as clean as they should.

3. Using An Improper Amount Of Detergent

More detergent doesn't necessarily mean a better clean. Too much detergent can actually cause a layer of foam that holds dirt and bacteria, preventing it from being washed away. So if you want your clothes to be truly clean and free from odor-causing dirt and bacteria, don't eyeball the "right" amount of detergent. Read the label, use the markers in the cap to measure the right amount, or choose pre-measured packs so you don't overdo it.

4. Using The Wrong Water Temperature

Of course, it's not always best for all of your clothes to use the highest temperature of water, but for the fabrics that can handle it and are particularly pungent, use hot water to help better kill odor-causing bacteria.

5. Not Using A Deodorizer

Fabric conditioners are great for adding a fresh and favorable scent to your clothes, but sometimes it only covers up the smell instead of actually neutralizing it. Vinegar acts as a deodorizer to help rid your clothes of unfavorable smells, and even helps prevent colors from fading.

6. Leaving Clothes In The Washer Too Long

It's way too easy to forget about a load of laundry and leave it completed in the washer for hours before remembering to move it to the dryer. But this isn't the best thing for your clothes. SheKnows.com report that while your clothes are sitting in a dark and damp environment, bacteria and mold could be thriving (those are their ideal conditions). In order to make sure your clothes don't pick up the associated musty smells, try to set an alarm to remind yourself to move your clothes into the dryer as soon as the wash is done. If you happen to forget anyway and it's been a few hours since the last cycle ended, send your clothes through a hot rinse cycle so they won't smell stale before you've even finished laundering them.

7. Storing Your Clothes Improperly

To keep your clothes smelling their best for the longest time possible, it's not just up to how you launder them. It's also about how you store them. Especially if your clothes are kept in smaller spaces that aren't well-ventilated, they could start to smell stale more quickly. Try some hacks to keep your closet smelling great like making your own potpourri sachets or reusing dryer sheets to tuck away in your drawers. This will help ensure that when you pull out a shirt you haven't worn in ages, it won't smell like it.

Images: Miki Hayes (3); kropekk_pl, evitaochel, RyanMcGuire, AGKrejci/Pixabay; Brooke Cagle/Unsplash