Simple Home Solutions: Removing Washing Machine Odors

Being a single working father of two young, active, and messy boys one thing I do not have time to do is repeat a chore that I have already done. I mean going through the house several times a day and putting their toys away sure… but washing the same load of laundry again and again because of a musty odor? No way!

I will not claim to be a laundry expert by any stretch of the imagination. I can turn the knobs and levers and get the stuff out in decent condition. Stain fighting is not a strong suit and the dryer is my arch nemesis. The dryer is a completely different subject to the intent of this post, but I promise you that machine hates me. It produces clothes that contain more wrinkles than they had going into drying. That being said I do have two young boys. I could get their clothes straight from the dry cleaners and they would be a wrinkled mess before I got both of them dressed. I will have to write a follow-up segment once I crack the mystery of the dryer.


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So back to my story. I can’t really put my finger on when I first began noticing it. Catching a whiff of a musty smell here or there on the boys and not thinking much of it except I must get those little monsters in the bath tonight. But then one day all the dots connected. I was swapping the clothes from the washer to the dryer and there was that same mildew, musty, dank, smell…..again. On freshly washed clothes, nonetheless. What is the possible cause for this? In all honesty I had left the wet clothes in the washer for a couple hours, who hasn’t? No way was that the problem. I had only noticed this smell before when I was distracted by yelling, screaming, and general chaos ensuing and completely forgot a load in the washer….. for several days I regret to say. Only until I was attempting to wash another load did I find my mistake. But the smell was only in the clothes and disappeared after washing them again. This time the situation was different. There was no way these freshly washed clothes should reek of mildew. My first inclination was that my detergent was to blame. Having two growing boys eating everything in sight had definitely put a kink in my budget. So off to the discount store to buy the cheap detergent I had been going. However, now that I knew it wasn’t doing its job the good stuff (name brand) detergent went on my shopping list for my next visit to the store.


I was on a mission. My boys would not be the stinky kids in class! I don’t really want to stink either but my family comes first. With everything else I have to worry about with two young children….. getting bullied for something that was completely in my control absolutely was not be acceptable. Dad would fix this and urgently. The next day on my lunch break I went to the store and bought the name brand detergent advertised all over the place. I am fortunate enough to occasionally be allowed work from home. And that is just what I was going to do. Work from the kitchen table and do load after load after load of laundry with my new expensive detergent. That is where I was caught completely by surprise!!! The same musty, stale, mildew type of odor. This time however it was masked by the quality detergents scent. But I could still smell it! On fresh out of the washer clothes.

I had already begun researching prices on new washers by this point. But one last chance otherwise the family summer vacation would have to be postponed. I did the math. If I was careful with my lunch budget for the week, I could easily afford this product to test without having to dip into the savings fund. I was convinced that I had been throwing good money after bad on this stupid machine. What would a few more dollars matter. But this was it! No more. One more test and I was done. I actually smiled when I thought of the washer sitting at the curb to be picked up for recycling. I placed my order from my bed on Friday night and kind of forgot about it as I had a busy day as chauffer to sports practices and birthday parties the next day and had to get to sleep.

Tuesday was a day like any other. Dropped the boys off at school, went to work, and picked them up and headed home at the end of the workday. I was so busy taking care of the kids with dinner and homework I forgot to check the mail. After the kids we tucked into bed I headed out to the mailbox. In it was the product I had ordered and almost instantly forgot about. Really, how exciting was this purchase anyway? I brought it inside, read the instructions which were really simple by the way, and decided to toss a tablet in the machine before heading off to bed myself.

After a few more loads however, the smell was back. I didn’t have the heart at this time to tell my Mom her secret failed to help. I still didn’t understand it though. This secret was coming from a woman that kept me clean and smelling as nice as you can make a young boy smell. I honestly do not know how my clothes did not have to be thrown away each time I wore them as a child. You name the stain and I got it almost daily. Stains from grass, dirt, grime, and in my teen years grease and oil from working on my first car. But every time I went into my dresser there were those same clothes neatly folded without a wrinkle and zero stains. So how could a woman that could do that for my clothes not have the answer to my current problem?

I stopped by the internet to find the answer. I read every article I could find on the subject. I removed pieces and ran them through the dishwasher. Soaked others overnight in various solutions. Nothing was working. Nothing! I was at the end of the line. I had been trying to save my washing machine, but it was rapidly becoming clear that I was just wasting my time and money. The only answer would be to replace the machine that wasn’t even two years old.

But eventually I came across a thread on Reddit discussing the same issue I was having. So many of the same tips and tricks were shared and the feedback was exactly like mine. It worked for a day or few days but then the smell would return. There was this post discussing a product they tried that actually worked insertbrandname. Yeah right. Good marketing effort mystery company. But then I started reading through the comments to the post and person after person said they too were skeptical but for the price of the product versus a new washing machine it was worth a try. Heck, they like me had already spent more on the home remedies than this product cost.

I wasn’t about to be fooled again. The other home-brew remedies and “secrets” worked for a day or two also before returning back to the musty smell. I decided to let it sit for the day and I would do a test load upon returning home from work. I decided to wash something that didn’t necessarily have to wind up being the nicest smelling item in the world. The clothes I wear each week while I mow the lawn sounded like the perfect test. They were washed and dried and……… smelled fantastic.

The instructions were super simple to follow,
just 3 easy steps…

STEP 1 : Empty your washing machine

STEP 2: Place one tablet (or two for very dirty machines) directly in the washer tub, not in the dispenser.

STEP 3: Run the washer on a “clean washer” or “normal” cycle with hot water

It can’t be this simple…. The solution to my problem really is that easy? I did briefly consider putting all 6 tablets I received in at the same time, but I stopped myself. Follow the instructions, just one per month. Ok, I trust you for now instruction book.

I was awake and out of bed before the boys the next morning as I usually am so I can have a couple cups of coffee in peace and quiet before my “real” day begins. While the coffee was brewing, I decided to take a peek in the washer. It didn’t look any cleaner but then again it never looked dirty to start with. I did notice the smell right away though. It smelled clean and fresh. You could smell that wonderful clean smell without even burying your nose in the machine.

More items must be washed. This seems to be working and I am a bit ashamed of myself that it made me that happy. Many loads of laundry and days later everything was still coming out of the washer as it should. Clean and smelling nice like the expensive detergent I had bought should make them smell. But NO MORE foul odor. I was floored. How had this product evaded my research until I had given up hope? Now I know how to combat the problem. I am following the manufacturers recommendations and the smell has not returned in the five months since my purchase.

So how much did this cost? The only solution to my problem that I could find on the entirety of the internet. If you remember from before I told you that I found a discount link to the product. I have hit the jackpot! It was on sale for my initial purchase, and now that I need more it is on-sale again! For a short time at least. My sister bought some a couple days after my first purchase at full price. Absoultely worth full price but who doesn’t like to save where possible. I don’t know how long the sale will last. The full retail price on the website is $29.95 for a box of 6 tablets (a 6 month supply), but as of Friday, August 23, 2019, they are currently offering a 50% off sale for just $14.95 if you order online through their  official website here.

I just wanted to share my story with you in case your washing machine is presenting the same foul odor, or you just want to take extra special care of your family like I try my best to do.

I doubted this would work. I was wrong. It is a fantastic product and I recommend it to all of you. Heck, I even gave a tablet to my Mom and she has replaced her magic recipe with this simple, easy, and cost-effective tablet.

I just wish they could make a tablet that I could feed my dryer so we can be friends…….

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