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How to Make Clothes Smell Good: 14 Easy Methods

man using washing machine

You can’t beat the feeling of getting dressed in fresh, great-smelling clothes, but sometimes when that blouse goes over your head, the aroma is not as pleasant as you expected. There are various reasons why your laundry is not smelling as fresh as you would want it to, but there are ways to make sure your clothes will smell good after every load. If you need a quick fix, there are on-the-go solutions too!

Don’t let bad-smelling clothes be a stress in your life. With these easy methods, your clothes will smell good and can be freshened up in no time!

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The 14 Methods to Make Clothes Smell Good

1. Scented Laundry Detergent

pouring baking soda into washing machine
Image By: CC7, Shutterstock

Choosing the right laundry detergent can make the most significant difference. Most laundry detergents are scented, but some are stronger than others. Choose a scent you enjoy, and make sure you use the right amount in your washer.

If you want to avoid chemicals, you can use natural laundry detergents and soaps or even try handwashing with some natural soap and a few drops of essential oils.

2. Fragranced Water

Fragranced water like Lavender or rose is an excellent additive for your laundry and a quick freshen-up. You can add your favorite fragrance oil with water to your washing load to add some extra fragrance, or you can give your laundry a spritz with some essential oil mixed with water in a spray bottle.

3. Homemade Citrus Oils

kaffir lime essential oil
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Citrus has a great fresh and summery aroma and is an ideal scent to keep your clothes smelling good. Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup Borax, 1 cup white vinegar, and 20 drops of lemon or orange citrus oil and add it to your laundry detergent.

4. Scented Wool Dryer Balls

You can spruce up your wool dryer balls with some extra scent by using a few drops of essential oils. Throw them into your dryer and enjoy fresh-smelling laundry every time. You can also use paper towels with the same method and throw them into your dryer.

5. Scented Sachets in your Closet

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You can freshen up your closet or drawers with scented sachets filled with your choice of dried herbs and flowers. These are easy to find in stores, but you can also make your own by filling drawstring bags with potpourri or dried lavender from the garden.

6. Essential Oils in Your Drawers

You can enjoy the scent of your favorite essential oil on your clothing by adding a few drops to a piece of fabric, cotton ball, or sheet of paper and placing it in each drawer. Lavender has a floral scent, almost like perfume, and vanilla is a sweeter smell, but those are just two examples of many aromatic essential oils.

7. Keep Your Closet Smelling Fresh

Portrait happy brunette woman hold black stylish pair of shoes on heels tidying wardrobe closet at home
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You can spritz some air freshener into your closet every few days to keep it smelling good. This will only be a mask for bad smells, but it can effectively keep your clothes smelling fresh. You can use your favorite air freshener from the store or make your own using ½ cup white vinegar and ½ cup water in a spray bottle with ten drops of your favorite essential oil.

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How to Prevent Odors on Your Clothing

8. Wash Your Clothes Often

To prevent your clothes from smelling unpleasant, you should wash them often. If you have worn an item of clothing a few times or have perspired while wearing them, don’t skip laundry day! Also, try to keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes.

Underwear, socks, swimsuits, leggings, shirts, strappy tops, and vests should be washed after wearing them once. Jeans, dresses, shorts, skirts, and sleepwear can be worn up to three times before being washed.

9. Don’t Overfill Your Washer

washing machine spinning with dirty clothes inside
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When there is what seems to be a never-ending pile of laundry, it’s tempting to stuff as much clothing as you can into one cycle. Unfortunately, overfilling your washing machine results in your clothing not being washed properly, which leads to unpleasant-smelling clothes.

10. Consider a Pre-Soak

Take a little extra time to pre-soak your clothing if they are extra soiled or sweaty. Fill your laundry tub or sink with water and add half a cup of baking soda for a quick pre-soak. Allow the smelly clothes to soak in the water overnight after the baking soda has dissolved.

11. Remove Washed Clothing Right Away

woman using washing machine
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Once your laundry has run its cycle, remove it from the washer as soon as possible. The longer you leave wet laundry in the dryer, the mildew has a better chance of forming on your clothes which can end up smelling damp and musty.

If you forget your laundry in the machine and it becomes mildewed, you can freshen it up with white vinegar by adding a cup to the washer and running another cycle.

12. Clean Your Washing Machine

Give your washing machine a deep clean every six months. Your washing machine can develop foul odors caused by mold and mildew, and the smell can transfer to your clothing if you don’t clean out your washing machine often.

You can run an empty cycle with 2–4 cups of vinegar in the dispenser. Use the hottest setting, and run a second cycle with the addition of baking soda.

13. Dry Clothes Thoroughly

Washing Machine with laundry
Image By: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay

It sounds like a no-brainer, but make sure your clothes are completely dry before you put them away. Any bit of dampness will cause an odor.

14. Maintain Your Dryer

Keep your dryer clean. After each drying cycle, clean the lint trap since lint can trap odors and transfer them to your clothing. Remove the lint trap, clean it with mild detergent and warm water at least once a year, and wipe down the drum at least once a month.

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You can always have fresh and pleasant-smelling clothing with these easy and straightforward methods. Great-smelling clothes start with your washer, so try keeping it clean and be more attentive on laundry day by not overfilling your washer and drying your clothes thoroughly. With great-smelling laundry detergent and some of your favorite essential oils always on hand, your clothes will always smell good.

Featured Image Credit: Elnur, Shutterstock


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