Everyone loves fresh smelling clothes. There’s nothing worse than realising that your favourite dress or jumper is beginning to smell a little musty. That back-of-the-wardrobe kind of smell. It happens over time and is a natural process of your clothes retaining moisture and bacteria.
However, bad odours don’t have to ruin your best garments and create awkward social encounters. One survey on smelly clothes found that 38 per cent of people spray their clothes with deodorant to get rid of unwanted scents. But smelling good doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, you can have great-smelling clothes through a few simple steps. Here’s a handy guide from Miele on why our clothes can end up with undesirable scents. Lets dive in to how to keep your clothes smelling great at every stage of their laundry lives.
Why do clothes start to smell?
Don’t worry—clothes that have a small odour problem are in no way a reflection of their wearer. In fact, all clothes begin to make their own undesirable scent over time. The root cause of this problem is bacteria and moisture. Bacteria is what causes the smell, moisture helps it grow. It’s not so much about bacteria being present, but rather the process of breaking down things like sweat and skin cells. Moist conditions can also help them spread.
These bacteria come from different sources including skin, sweat, and general dirt that clothes absorb. Some materials are likelier than others to hang on to these bacteria and odours for longer. Lycra and polyester are the worst culprits for hanging onto nasty smells. Cotton is less likely to hold onto these odours. Luckily, ensuring that all your clothes leave the laundry smelling their best is simple.
Get fresh smelling clothes
It all begins with good laundry practices. From the moment you take off your clothes to hanging them in the wardrobe, everything you do can have an effect on your clothes’ odour.
Firstly, clean your clothes as soon as possible after you have worn them for the last time. Letting your clothes fester in laundry baskets or in a neat laundry pile creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that creates all sorts of odorous problems. Wash your clothes straight away, bad smells, bodily fluids, and bacteria will be eliminated before they become a bigger problem.
As you’d expect, how we wash our clothes has an effect on their smell. A good quality detergent and using the correct and recommended washing temperatures means that you’re following the best practice to make your clothes last longer and smell nicer. Not following these recommendations can create damaged fibres which may hang onto unpleasant smells for longer. Luckily there are washing machines on the market that can dispense the perfect amounts of detergent based on the load size and garment type.
Looking after your washing machine can help to preserve your favourite pair of jeans. Washing machines are breeding grounds for bacteria and mould, thanks to their warm and wet conditions. You should clean your washing machine every few months by using cleaning products designed for the job. Some washing machines even have a dedicated cleaning cycle to ensure this home appliance stays at its best — look out for it the next time you use yours.
Drying is as important as washing. Remember, moisture is the catalyst to bacterial growth which develops bad odours. Ensure that your clothes are dried completely. Letting your clothes sit in the washing machine for too long can create a damp and unwanted smell. Letting your clothes dry completely in the tumble dryer is not advised. It leads to damage of delicate fabrics. Remove laundry from the dryer before it is totally dry and let it air.
Smells that hang on
The final step on your laundry journey can also create long-lasting fresh fragrances for your clothes. Using natural materials in your wardrobe can help to remove moisture and prevent bacteria from growing through your clothes.
Firstly, using wooden hangers can go a long way in helping your clothes smell better. Hangers made from cedar wood absorb moisture that your clothes are storing. Furthermore, cedar wood repels moths and insects, meaning that your clothes will last even longer.
Using air fresheners or fragrance in your wardrobe can also help to create give you fresh smelling clothes. Simply planting a bar of soap with essential oils, or even your own home-formulated potpourri, can infuse some needed freshness to an enclosed storage space. Lavender, rosemary, and woodchips are strong odours that also have the benefit of detracting insects. And some tumble driers can automatically add a fragrance, infusing laundry with perfume as it dries.
Next time you put on your favourite outfit, you’ll be amazed by its fragrance, no damp smells to be found. A good smell can make you feel better, those around you feel more comfortable, and help your clothes last longer.