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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know why, but for the last month or so our towels have smelled awful after they get wet. We were washing them in fragrance free detergent for the last few years and I thought maybe it wasn't strong enough, so I've started to wash them with Tide in hot water and they smell ok before we use them, then as soon as they get wet they smell musty. Does anyone know how to get a musty odor out of towels? I'm at the point where I'm considering tossing them out and buying new ones. Musty is being kind, these towels wreak like they haven't been washed for months after only one use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've been searching online for hours for an answer. The best one I have found is a suggestion to use 1 or 2 cups white vinegar in the washer with the laundry detergent in hot water. Then re-wash them in hot water to let them rinse and spin the vinegar completely out. Then throw them in the dryer and dry them twice to ensure they have been heated enough to kill any remaining bacteria. Has anyone tried something like this and had it work?
 

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I've used this method before and the use of vinegar has helped. 2-3c for a full load on hot wash with a downy ball full of vinegar as well for the rinse. I've hung them out in the sun to dry (burn the smell out?) or tossed in the dryer with a face cloth soaked but squeezed out of vinegar as well.

Seemed to do the trick. I hope this works for you. Is this just with your towels or all your laundry as well?
 

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By the way - I read this on the village somewhere - apparently you can use Pine Sol in the washing machine too but I'm not sure how nor how much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Libby, it's only the towels. We can't figure it out. We moved to a new apartment a few months ago, so we have a different set of washer and dryers that we are using, but it only seems to be the towels.

Although, maybe it only seems to be the towels because we aren't getting any of our clothes wet on a regular basis. The towels all appear fine and don't seem to smell until we get them wet and then they are foul smelling. It's in my nose from sniffing so many of them today and it's repulsive.

Before me moved we could go 2 and sometimes 3 days using the same bath towel. Now moments after drying off from my shower I want to throw my towel away, it ends up wreaking that quickly.
 

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Hmm...I'm wondering if the apt washing machines need a good cleaning? Not sure if you're able to but can you try washing your towels at another laundromat? (not sure if this possible with your situation)

Maybe mention it to the superintendent to see if anyone else has noticed this? Maybe a good cycle of hot water and bleach would kill whatever bacteria is in there.
 

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i had this problem due to the laundry chute awhile back. got the chute cleaned out...

then, washed ALL towels in baking soda and vinegar (no detergent) in hot water then to the dyer on the hottest it goes. and the odor was gone! hope it workes for you.
 

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We've had this happen too. The vinegar helped, but didn't completely eliminate the odor. The best thing I've found for getting rid of it is the laundry detergent for getting rid of odors from pet accidents (available from pet stores). It was a little more expensive, but I only use it for actual pet accidents, which are very rare in our house, and the smelly towels, so I don't have to buy it very often.
 

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I also use Borax in addition to my detergent when washing towels.
 

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I agree with the suggestion to wash them at the laundry mat using the same soap you use at home. Take all the towels in the house and wash them all. If you have no bad Oder then you know it's the machine. You can try cleaning the machine if that doesn't work call the landlord.
 

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Do you have a mold/mildew problem in your bathroom? A freshly used towel would become a perfect home for mildew if you do have an issue.
 

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I also have this problem with my towels, i cant hang mine out to dry properly either as im in a flat :(

Other than the towels nothing else has that musty smell.

The machine is only a year old so it cant be that, does vinegar really help?
 

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yep, try the vineagr/baking soda...

you may also want to "clean" you laundry machine if possible. run a HOT load w/ just water and bleach. that helps too
 

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I had that problem a couple of years ago. Sometimes if I was standing over the washer as it stopped and immediately put them in the dryer and dried them. They didnt smell, but even if I waited 30 minutes to an hour..they were horrible.
A couple of years ago, I had hubby hang a clothes line..since then no sticking towels.
 

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Things like towels and socks I wash with bleach. I know it's hard on the fabric and all, but I really feel it does the best in killing molds and mildew, and I rely on it for that reason. I do it even with colored towels - keep a couple of sets for company, but the rest get the full treatment.
 

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when i wash whites i put bleach in the washer, all my towels are brown or dark coloured so im a little worried about doing it in bleach
 

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Mine get like this too, but I figured out that it's the wood in the linen closets. I put some of those scented sachets in there, but that didn't help for long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you for all of your suggestions. My Dh and I have been trying to figure this problem out since we moved here. It could be the washers, not sure, but worth a try to clean them with bleach before we wash the towels again. I've lived in several apts. and this is the first time I've run into this problem. It's ironic too, since this is the nicest of the apts. that I've ever rented.

Our bathroom here doesn't appear to have any mold in it or any kind of a smell. Our bathroom in our last apt. did, which is why we moved. We didn't have a smelly towel problem there though LOL! The irony of this situation has my Dh and I laughing over this, even though it's really disgusting to us. I really want to burn my towels! I'm afraid to buy new ones and have it happen to them, which is keeping me from running out and dropping some money on some cheap new ones.

I think we'll try running bleach in the washers and then running our towels through with some vinegar and hopefully that will fix the problem. I think we'll keep using the vinegar in the wash with the towels for awhile and see if over time the issue goes away.
 

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It could be the water. I have cisteren water on my washer and the towels and washcloths are the only thing I had problems with too. I put a gal of bleach in the well and after every rain for a while and it seemed to help. Took several washing to get the smell completely out.
 
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