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Home Craft Easy Ways to Make Your Laundry Smell Good (Without Harsh Detergents)

Easy Ways to Make Your Laundry Smell Good (Without Harsh Detergents)

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Photo: Robert Kneschke (Shutterstock)

When you have especially stinky clothes, washing and deodorizing them is the bare minimum you ask of your washing machine. That’s why we’ve shared so many tips over the years on how to go about it the right way. But what about when you just want your clothes to come out smelling extra nice?

Here are a few tips for making your laundry smell truly wonderful.

Focus on your washing machine first

Before we can talk about making clothes smell good, we must consider the machines that help us clean them.

Don’t overfill the washer if you want better-smelling clothes. According to Apartment Therapy, a too-large load can prevent your detergent from fully saturating your clothes, thus defeating the purpose of washing them altogether—they won’t get as clean, and you won’t doesn’t do much to meet your goal of creating a great-smelling wardrobe either.

Run an empty cycle every once in a while to clean out your washer. This suggestion comes to us from Reddit, and is an especially good idea if you tend to use a lot of detergent in your washes, as it can build up over time. HGTV suggests running alternate cycles with hot water and bleach, and then hot water and vinegar (note: you cannot mix bleach and vinegar so make sure to allow the bleach cycle to complete before moving on to the vinegar). To keep things fresher between cleaning cycles, after each use, leave your washer door open for a while to dry out the inside, which can help prevent prevent a musty smell. (Here are other tips for keeping your washing machine clean.)

Wash your clothes with smell in mind

Detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets are all standard, reliable ways to deposit good smells into your clothes, so if those strong fragrances are your thing, don’t skimp on them.

You have some additional DIY options, however. Apartment Therapy recommends spritzing lavender water on your clothes before popping them into the wash, or making a homemade citrus oil blend. For the latter, mix a cup of baking soda, a half cup of borax, a cup of white vinegar, and 20 drops of your favorite citrus oil and add it to your unscented laundry detergent bottle. Give it a good shake, and then use your detergent as normal.

Some might advise applying essential oils directly to your dirty laundry before tossing it into the wash, but be careful: Oils can stain your clothes, and the quality of your essential oils matters can make a difference too. Opt for pre-made floral waters or heavily diluted citrus oil mixes instead of using the stuff straight.

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