sheets don't smell fresh after washing

Reasons Why Your Sheets Smell Bad After Being Washed

When it’s time to change your sheets, nothing is more frustrating than pulling out clean linens from the closet only to discover that they stink. If your sheets don’t smell fresh after washing, there are several things that you can do to make sure that your bed clothes always have a pleasant aroma.

Why do sheets smell bad after being washed

Sometimes, sheets have a musty odor despite being clean. Here are the main reasons why:

Check your washing machine – It may need cleaning

One of the main reasons why freshly washed sheets still smell is because of a dirty washing machine. It may look clean on the inside, but the rubbers parts and hidden areas behind the drum might have started to mold.

white top load washing machine

Washing machines are the perfect place for fungi and other bacteria to grow because of the heat and the moisture. Most people don’t think about that. You can fix this problem quite easily by deep cleaning your washing machine.

Take one full cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar and pour them into the washer. You will also want to add this mixture to your soap dispenser area as well. Turn the washer cycle on hot and run it as you would your largest load. This will clean your washer. If it has been a while since you have done this, you may want to run this cleaning cycle a second time before you begin washing again.

Make sure you know what setting to wash bed sheets

If your bedding smells after washing, the second thing you should check is how you are washing your sheets. It has become very popular for people to wash everything in cold water or eco-warm cycles to be environmentally friendly. This is good for many things, but not for bedding, especially if your sheets are stained or stink.

white sheets on the bed before washing

You should wash your sheets in warm water each time. When water hits at least 140 degrees (40C), it will kill bacteria growth. This may be what is causing the damp odor or making your sheets smell like sweat.

Another thing to check is that you are using the right amount of detergent and fabric softener. Too much detergent or fabric softener can leave a residue on the sheets and make them musty. Once they dry with this residue on them, they will start to absorb other household smells.

To get rid of residue build-up, run a hot cycle with your sheets adding a quarter cup of white vinegar to the load (no detergent necessary). This will make them smell fresh and look new.

Are your sheets completely dry when you store them?

If your washed sheets still smell, it could be because they were not dry when you put them away. If your bedclothes are wet before putting them away or they get damp because of humidity, they will start smelling musty. Make sure to put them in your linen closet only if they are completely dry!

pile of washed sheets

How to refresh your sheets to make them smell good

Everyone enjoys crisp and clean sheets. In fact, putting on fresh bedding is the easiest way to freshen up your bedroom. However, if your sheets don’t smell nice, you won’t get that ‘fresh bed’ experience we all love. If you do not have the time to rewash and dry your sheets, you can still make them smell fresh again.

Air out your sheets before putting them on your bed

Take your sheets out and hang them up so that they can air out before putting them on your bed. Sunshine will freshen up your linens quickly. The UV rays have disinfectant properties and can help kill bacteria, while the fresh breeze takes away unwanted odors so your bed will smell like heaven!

bed linen on line outside

Sprinkle baking soda on them

Baking soda is an eco-friendly, natural odor eliminator. You can sprinkle some on your sheets and let it sit for a while. Shake them out really well (or vacuum) before placing them on your bed. You will be amazed at how quickly this inexpensive chemical compound removes unwanted odors and make your sheets smell nice.

Use a linen mist

Whenever your sheets need instant refreshment, a few sprays of a nicely smelling linen mist will do the trick. You can try ready-to-use liquid or make your own one using your favorite essential oils. Mix a few drops of lavender oil with water in a bottle and spray the mixture on your sheets; it will not only make them smell fabulous but also help you sleep better while filling up your room with a relaxing aroma.

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Don’t forget to wash your blankets and pillows too

Most people will store their blankets, quilts, comforters and pillows with their other linens and if they are a bit smelly, they easily transfer the bad smells to your sheets in your linen closet. Therefore, it is very important that you regularly clean such items and store them properly so they don’t get damp and musty.

pillows blankets sheets on bed

Blankets should be washed separately so that the washer is not overloaded. You will want to make sure that they are dried thoroughly. Since they are heavier than your sheets, they may require longer times for a thorough dry. Pillows can be refreshed without washing by using baking soda, vinegar, essential oils or by simply placing them in the sun.

If you are going to store your heavier bedding items for a long time, such as during the warm months until you take them out again in winter, you may want to add a cedar block or other freshener to your linen closet to help keep all of the items smelling fresh.

Linens that make your bedroom smell bad and create stale air are frustrating. However, you don’t have to put up with this if you use the simple tricks listed above.

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