Monday, January 05, 2009

I don't know how to get that musty smell out of towels.

I'm going to start the new year by throwing away some towels. It's annoying, because until I can afford to buy new ones, that will cut the number of towels I own to three -- not that I need more than one at a time -- but it's time.

No matter how often I wash these towels, in no matter what combination of detergent, fabric softener, borax, bleach and vinegar, I cannot get that musty smell out of them. When they come right out of the dryer, they smell fine. As soon as they get damp, they smell like wet dog.

These were not the highest quality towels -- Martha Stewart Everyday, from KMart -- but they are supposed to be 100% cotton, and the only thing wrong with them is this smell.

Before I pitch them, any suggestions? Putting them outside in the sun is not an option; it's Maine in January.


lawlis42 said...

The best thing that's ever worked for me was the borax, washing in hot water and drying the bejesus out of them. All of which is hard on the fibers (and your utility bills). You've probably done that, too, though. I've wondered, also, if it's just minerals in the water that get left behind from the wash. But I'm with you; I can't stand that odor. yech.

Maureen said...

Try Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator. I once (okay, more than once) forgot a load in the washing machine for three or four days, and it got all mildewy. I managed to get the smell out of everything except my favorite T-shirt. I was desolate at the thought of losing that shirt. The Febreze stuff is the only thing that finally worked. It's a little hard to find, though.

Judy Bobalik said...

If it really is pet smells (the hardest thing in the world to get rid of) try Simple Solution pet odor and stain remover. Tis is the same thing as Nature's Miracle but much cheaper. I've had a cat urinate on a shirt and washed and washed and the smell only went away after using this stuff.
You could also try an enzyme killer, ERA or Biz.

Peggy & Scott said...

Not naming any names but someone I'm very close to once left a load of wet laundry in the washer and went out of the county for two weeks. The clothes were beyond salvation and it turns out the washer was too.We-oops-I mean they, tried everything but the washer smelled forevermore.
My own experience working in zoos for nine years might help you. I, and I bet most zookeepers, would swear by Tide liquid with bleach. Elephant odor is especailly clingy. Throw about half a cup of baking soda in there too. I have used regular Febreeze a a pretreater-the anti-bacterial formula in the orange bottle has a very pleasnt scent. Finally, and I say this with love, Clair, it's OK TO GET NEW THINGS even if the old things still serve. You deserve some new matching towels! I saw some nice ones today at Walmart for 3.oo. Go get some or I might buy some for you! Peggy

AnswerGirl said...

I'm using Tide with Febreze, after not getting any results from Tide with Bleach... they smell fine when they first come out of the wash, but smell musty after a single use.

You're right, Peggy... I should just suck it up and buy new towels. Although I wouldn't trust $3.00 ones from Wal-Mart.

Anonymous said...

Did you try lemon juice, salt and sun light?


Anonymous said...

or dilute hydrogen peroxide if you don't care if there is a risk of uneven bleaching.

For pet smell, I have used Natures Miracle (or Harts puts out an odor remover) and I agree with Judy B. that they work great.


Judy Bobalik said...

I have 3.00 walmart towels that I have been using for about 8 years. I wish they would fall apartt so I could buy new.

Anonymous said...

It is the "Yankee-ness" in the air --- that you use something until all the good is used up.

If the towels are not toxic, there must some use left somewhere.