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Thread: Any ideas on how to get the "sour" smell out of towels?

  1. #1
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    Default Any ideas on how to get the "sour" smell out of towels?

    I can't figure out what is going on, but my towels smell "sour" when they get wet. They will smell fine when I pull them out of the linen closet. By the time I am dried off after my shower, they smell "sour".

    Any ideas why this is and how to get rid of it? DH does most of the laundry, so I am sure at some point that they have soured in the washer and he just rewashed them.

  2. #2
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    I think baking soda may work, but I've had that problem too. I end up just rewashing them and making sure I use a good fabric softener.
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  3. #3
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    I put white vinegar in my Downy ball....love that thing! I also put a dryer sheet in with the towels in the closet, that helps too
    Shawn, mom to 3 and wife to my love

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  4. #4
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    I've used baking soda in the dryer when I've left the load in the washing machine too long and don't feel like rewashing it. That has worked.


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  5. #5
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    Candace--You just sprinkled baking soda in the dryer? Interesting...never would have thought of doing that!

    Thanks for all the tips. I will be trying the baking soda and vinegar both!

  6. #6
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    Since my daughter tends to leave towels on the floor of her room (grrrr!!!!), I find that my towels have that same sour smell even when fresh from the linen cupboard. I've started using about a 1/4 cup of pinesol (lemon is good for this) when I wash the towels and it's eliminated that problem.
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  7. #7
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    I've tried the baking soda, it worked a little, but what I have really found is using 1/2 cup of Borax when I wash them and drying on my drying rack then putting in the dryer with a dryer sheet for about 15 minutes.

  8. #8

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    I have noticed that smell if I dont immediately remove from washer and put in dryer or hang. If they sit in the finished washer any length of time they get smelly.
    Sharon

  9. #9
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    Okay I tried the white vinegar last night I will let you know....
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  10. #10
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    Vinegar does work. Also, as soon as the cycle is done, immediately get them in the dryer or on the line and let them completely dry before folding. That should fully kill the spores. After that, you're good as new!

  11. #11
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    You could also "strip" them. Run them through the rinse cycle in HOT water (might have to turn up the water heater for this) till there are no more bubbles. The suds will subside when there is no more soap residue left in them.

    Now, what I did to make sure I have no more problems with my towels is to buy all white towels. When I wash them, I use about 1/4 the amount of soap, a little bleach, and then I use vinegar in place of fabric softener. They have a slight bleach, but very clean smell when used. The best part, they actually soak up water!!! Fabric softener and soap residue eventually keep them from soaking up water. I have a set for bathing, and a cheapy set for clean ups.

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  12. #12

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    Leaving them on the wash-line in the sun for a few days and then re-washing them works if we have few good hot days with full sun.

  13. #13
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    I use downey. That works for me. Another thing is to get them completly dry before folding and putting them up.

  14. #14

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    Sour smelling towels could be a result of a sour washing machine. Something that was suggested to me was to run a full load of hot water with vinegar through and then wash as normal the next load. I've tried it and for the most part the smell goes away. My washer is very old though and so I don't think any amount of vinegar will help it. Good luck!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Try adding white vinegar to your wash next time!

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