DIY Solution to Remove Odor from Clothes that Smell Funky

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If you ever experience clothes that smell after washing and drying and want to know how to remove odor from these clothes, this DIY solution will get rid of the funky laundry smells once and for all.The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!

The Funk.  The whole Funk.  And nothing but the Funk.

We recently moved into an apartment while our new house is being built.  And the water here smells, for lack of a better word, Funky.  It isn’t a problem in the kitchen because we filter it for drinking and cooking.  And you don’t really notice it in the bathroom.  But our laundry smells Funky, a sort of musty mildew smell.  To make it worse, I have this laundry-forgetting problem. I leave loads in the washer for hours (ahem, days) and it only makes the Funky laundry smell stronger.

Being cramped into this little apartment means the Funk smell is everywhere.  It taps you on the shoulder in the morning.  It slaps you in the face when you walk in the front door.

Funky-water problem + Laundry forgetting problem = Crazy Funky Laundry Smell. Crazy Funky laundry smell + Sensitive-nosed-husband = Unhappy Home

I needed a way to overcome the musty mildew Funky laundry smell quickly, but without using something that would set off my infant daughter’s really aggressive eczema.

Vinegar to Remove Laundry Smells

Most natural remedies focused on vinegar, like this one from Meaningful Mama and another from Living on a Dime.

I already use vinegar for most of the cleaning I do around the house.  And I have used vinegar to wash out the mildew smell from previous laundry-forgetting.  But it just wasn’t doing enough in this apartment.

I started experimenting with various combinations of laundry solutions.

The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Vinegar & Dish Soap

First I tried vinegar with dish soap.  I’ve used dish soap in my laundry to remove biological stains – like oil or grease or baby food – and it works great.  But that didn’t really work for the Funk.

The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Vinegar & OxiClean

Next I tried vinegar and OxiClean.  Again, no real improvement here either.  I did manage to bleach some spots on my husband’s t-shirts though.  Sigh.

The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Vinegar & Bleach

Next up, vinegar and bleach.  This kind of worked.  But only on our whites.  When I tried the color safe bleach there wasn’t really an improvement on the smell.

I’m thinking that I may have understated the severity of the Funk.

The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Vinegar and Dishsoap and OxiClean and Bleach

Then I tried all of them together.  I mean, why not right?  Since I tossed the bleach into the mix again, it worked, though had the added “bonus” of blue spots on my whites courtesy of the dish soap. However, I can’t use this formula on anything beside my white clothes.

There didn’t really seem to be a good answer here.  And putting the laundry straight into the dryer, which we know is a herculean task for me, made a (very small) difference. The Funk was still hanging around our home.

It got so bad that I was spraying our clean laundry with our all-natural bug spray.  It’s a family recipe using water and a combination of the following essential oils: lemon, lime, orange, citronella, and lavender.  We love the smell of the bug spray, and it’s phenomenal at repelling bugs.

After a recent bout of food poisoning sickness with our kids I needed a deFUNKifier spray for their mattresses and bedroom.  I took our bug spray and swapped out the citronella with grapefruit.  It worked and it smelled glorious.The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!

The DeFUNKifier Mix to Remove Odor from Clothes that Smell After Washing

And then it hit me.  I could use the deFUNKifier mix with vinegar on the laundry.

I grabbed an empty mason jar (and lid) and added four cups of white, distilled vinegar.

The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Then I added fifteen drops each of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and lavender essential oils.  The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Closed it up and shook it to combine. I may or may not have done a bit of a conga line with my kids while shaking and singing “Shake, shake, shake Senora.”The MOST amazing way to remove odor from clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing! This DIY De-FUNK-ifier solution works great for laundry smells!Then I added a quarter cup, or so to my wash.  Okay, let’s be honest, I didn’t measure.  So, I added a “splash” to both the bleach dispenser and the laundry softener dispenser on my washing machine. I told the machine to pre-soak and extra rinse and pushed go.

The verdict? No Funk!  Not even a hint of Funk.  Hooray!I definitely did a happy dance when I pulled the laundry out of the washing machine!

Now every time I do a load I add a splash or two to each compartment – after a little bit of a shake to recombine, of course.  I’m calling it my Laundry DeFUNKifier.  And it’s awesome.

How do you remove laundry smells from your clothes, especially when clothes smell after washing? 

Comments

    • says

      Ha. I will see if I can figure it out. I think some type a of shoes hold onto the smell more than others. We once had a pair of shoes that were supposed to be anti stink and they smelt terrible after a while!! False advertising!

    • says

      I love this stuff. If you mix it with water instead of vinegar you can spray it all over. Some days I spray the whole house just because I love the fresh, fruity scent.

  1. Cristine says

    We use essential oils in our home. But somethings cannot be remedied with nothing but old fashioned original Pine sol. I made this discovery when my child got fish oil supplements on their t-shirt. So if you gone through all the natural remedies, try original Pine sol. I’ve used this on my son’s stinky sneakers and smelly bath towels. Pine sol works exceptionally well for removing the funk smell in your clothes that sometimes come from HE front load washers.

    • Kathy says

      How much Pine-Sol do you add to your washer? Sometimes my towels get a funky smell that I have had a devil of a time getting out. I think Pine-Sol just might do the trick, Lord knows, I’ve tried everything else.

  2. Nell says

    I’ve been looking for something that will take the “thrift store” smell out of used clothes purchased at thrift stores and also clothes that have been stored in moth balls. I have inherited some of both clothing items and nothing I’ve tried (even real Bleach on colored clothes–I was desperate!) has worked. Any idea if your formula above will work on these?

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