Stop your freshly washed clothes from 'stinking' of damp – simple drying rack tip


    While drying clothes on a drying rack is more cost-effective than stuffing them in the tumble dryer, it can run the risk of bacteria leaving a musty smell on your freshly washed clothes. However, according to Ann Russell, a cleaning expert with over 2M followers on TikTok, the solution is as simple as loading up your drying rack correctly.

    TikTok user Eilidh McLeod contacted Ann, asking her for tips on how to stop her clothes from “stinking” and help them to dry. When hanging clothes on a drying rack, Ann said you should “make sure that everything is folded and not too thick.”

    Pointing to a damp towel, she said: “Now this is a towel, it was wet last night, and it’s still a little bit damp where it’s hitting a thick wool jumper.”

    You should try not to overload your drying rack and have plenty of space between garments. Heavier items, such as towels or jumpers, may require more room for air to circulate around them.

    Ideally, clothes should be left out to dry no longer than 24 hours, which is why Ann also recommends using a fan to blow cold air onto your laundry. The fan can help to speed up drying time and help air circulate more evenly around your hanging laundry.

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    “[Make sure] everything is folded neatly,” said Ann. “The reason is, when the fan [blows air] up the air goes through [the clothes] it needs to be able to move and evaporate the water off. If it’s too thick of clump [of clothes] it won’t get rid of the water and then it will smell.”

    The reason behind the musty smell is often down to bacteria which begin to grow on the damp clothes.

    “Clothes can smell after they’ve been washed if they’ve not been dried quickly because, although when you wash them they are clean, they will still have some bacteria on them,” the cleaning expert explained. “Sometimes if you use too much fabric softener that can make your clothes smell. The reason is that bacteria thrive in damp environments.

    “There’s some food for them and there’s moisture and, obviously, if you keep something damp for a very long time those bacteria multiply. As they breed and multiply they give off toxins and those are what give the smell. But if you keep something thin then it dries quickly, they don’t multiply and it doesn’t smell.

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    Five reasons your laundry smells musty

    1 You’ve left it out too long to dry

    Drying your clothes indoors does mean that they will take a lot longer to dry than if they were out on the line or spun in the tumble dryer.

    However, you can combat the smell of damp by investing in a dehumidifier or using a plug-in fan to speed up the process.

    2 You’re using too much fabric softer or detergent

    While you might expect fabric softener and detergent to leave your clothes smelling fresh, too much product can have the opposite effect. Excess detergent won’t rinse away properly and can remain trapped in the fabric, encouraging waterlogging and even mould growth.

    However, using too little will mean your clothes aren’t properly cleaned. Always be sure to check the product bottle or packet for instructions on how much to use for your load.

    3 You’ve left it to sit in the washing machine for too long

    If you’re putting a wash on, make sure you will be home to take it out once the cycle has finished.

    Leaving your damp clothes to sit in the machine for too long leaves more time for a stale smell to encroach.

    4 Your washing machine needs cleaning

    Cleaning your washing machine doesn’t just mean wiping down the front of the appliance, but also includes giving the inside a little TLC.

    The warm, moist environment of your washing machine drum makes it a haven for mould and bacteria, along with holding on to stagnant water and limescale.

    Make sure to run your empty machine on a hot wash once a month, and add vinegar or soda crystals for a deeper clean.

    5 Your clothes need room to breathe

    With the cost of ills rising, it might be tempting to shove all of your clothes into the machine in one load. However, overloading your appliance can mean your clothes aren’t cleaned properly and could be left with a musty smell.

    Give your laundry items plenty of room to move so they can enjoy a proper clean.


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