Why Do My Clothes Smell After Drying?

Imagine the shock on people’s faces when they move close to you and are turned off by the stench of your clothes. No matter your justification, that’s not fashionable in any way. Washing and drying your clothes should get rid of any smell, but if it lingers, it’s high time you found a permanent solution.

Why Do Clothes Smell After Drying

Always Wondered Why Your Clothes Smell After Drying? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons

It’s important to know what causes your dry clothes to smell before getting rid of the cause. Below are some possible reasons.


Sometimes, the smell of the detergent is so strong that it stays on your clothes even after you’ve rinsed and dried them. Most of the ingredients in detergent are gotten from fatty acids, which can become rancid and form scums in your washer.  These scums are favorites of mold as they’re biodegradable. The more scums in your machine, the more the smell accumulates on your clothes. 


The quality of washing also determines whether clothes will smell after drying or not. If you don’t wash the clothes well, they will smell even after drying them. Your clothes accumulate lots of sweat, dirt, and body oils which have to be gotten rid of. If you have a medical condition regarding your body odor, your clothes will likely smell more. 

clothes come out of dryer smelling bad

Faulty/dirty machine

If your washer is faulty, there are chances that your clothes will smell even after drying them. A washer that doesn’t have a good flow of soap and water or isn’t regularly cleaned will accumulate a nasty smell and transfer it to the clothes it’s cleaning. 


Have you ever worn a cloth that’s still damp? You won’t enjoy wearing it because the smell will almost pinch off your nose. If the drying process doesn’t get the dampness out of your clothes completely, your clothes will smell bad. Also, leaving your damp clothes for too long before air-drying or machine-drying them makes them prone to smelling.


Your washer or detergent isn’t the only culprit. Your dryer can make your clothes smell too. How? There are different ways. If you just bought the machine, it’ll need to off-gas in a few cycles. This is its way of getting rid of manufacturing residues.

However, off-gassing isn’t forever as it takes 2 or 3 cycles. If it’s not off-gassing, you can also check to see if nothing is stuck on your dryer’s drum. If there is, it will melt and cause a horrible smell to your clothes. If none of these factors are the reasons for the smell, your dryer may be faulty.

4 Ways To Prevent Your Clothes From Smelling After Drying

clothes smell bad after dryer

Now that you know why your clothes smell after drying, it’s easier for you to prevent the smell. Here are ways to go about it.

Clean/fix your machines

Dirty or faulty machines undermine the effort you put into your laundry. Imagine spending a few hours cleaning your clothes only for them to come out stinking. To prevent that, wash your machines (dryer and washer) regularly and adequately.

It’s advised you have a routine for doing this so that it won’t slip your mind. If your machines are faulty instead, fix them as soon as possible. Ensure you don’t use them beyond how their manuals instruct.

Use a detergent with a pleasing odor

When buying detergents, look out for those that gently and effectively clean your clothes without leaving a bad smell. Their cost might be a bit on the high side, but it’s little compared to walking around with smelly clothes and having people avoid you like the plague. 

Wash your clothes well

Whether you’re hand-washing or using a washer, ensure you get rid of all the sweat, body oil, and dirt in your clothes. Follow the instructions on each care label for optimal results. For instance, don’t clean clothes meant to be hand-washed in the washer. Also, follow good washing practices.

However, washing your clothes well doesn’t mean you overwash them. Overwashing weakens the fibers and reduces the lifespan of your clothes. You’ve to strike a balance between proper washing and overwashing.

Watch this video on how to do your laundry the right way: 

Dry your clothes immediately

Another way to prevent your clothes from smelling is to dry them immediately. Don’t let your damp clothes stay for too long, as mold will grow on them. If you don’t have time to dry your laundry, don’t bother washing.

You can dry your clothes by spreading them in the sun or using a dryer. If you’re using a dryer, ensure it’s not faulty, and the lint tank is clean. Air-drying is the best way to dry your clothes as the sunlight helps kill germs and evaporates the smell. If air-drying, ensure the clothes aren’t lumped together so that air can circulate each of them.

Want To Remove Smell From Your Dry Clothes? Here Are 5 Ways To Go About It

chemical smell from dryer

There are different ways to remove the smell from your clothes, from spraying vodka or vinegar on them to rewashing them.

Odor catcher

An odor catcher helps to remove the smell from your clothes. Place it in your wardrobe, and it’ll get rid of the stink that clings to your laundry after washing. You can buy odor catchers from the supermarket or make some yourself.

For instance, you can wrap a thin fabric around a scented bar of soap and place it in the corner of your wardrobe. You can make a potpourri of different scents or put some baking soda in a breathable container. Odor catchers will absorb the moisture and make your clothes smell nice.


Even though steaming helps make your clothes smooth, it also evaporates the smell from clothes because of the high heat. It isn’t as intensive as ironing and doesn’t require much space. However, clothes such as waxed and suede fabrics can’t be steamed. As a note of caution, don’t steam your clothes while wearing them. 

clothes smell after drying

Use vodka, vinegar, or lemon juice

Spraying vodka, vinegar, or lemon juice on your clothes eliminates any smell instantly. Dilute the vinegar with some water and spray some on a small part of the inside of your cloth. If you like how it turns out, you can go ahead to spray the rest of the fabric. Do the same for vodka and lemon juice too. 


You can freeze your smelling clothes, too, especially if they’re denim. Freezing kills the germs that cause odor. However, freeze only washed and dry clothes that smell after washing. Freezing dirty clothes doesn’t help because it won’t remove the dirt. Only proper washing does. Ensure you take your clothes out of the freezer some hours before you wear them as they’d have become stiff.


Usually, you don’t have to rewash the clothes after trying the options above. But if the stink proves to be stronger than all you’ve done, you have to rewash the clothes. This time around, use the right amount of detergent and follow the instructions to the letter. Line-dry the clothes immediately. You can also apply one of the options above on the clothes to make them smell nice.

Want To Smell In A Way That Endears You To People? Follow These 4 Practices

laundry smells bad after drying

Smelling good is a form of self-care that you shouldn’t neglect. No one wants to hang around someone who’s making them puke. Besides, smelling good makes you feel good about yourself, and this positivity transfers to all you do. In all the roles you play, you’ll be a better person.

Smelling good also boosts your confidence. Whether it’s an office presentation, showing love and care to your family, showing up for a friend, or closing a deal with your clients, your confidence will shine through. Therefore, you or your clothes can’t afford to stink! So, how do you smell so good for so long? 

Practice good hygiene

Good hygiene is crucial to being presentable and loved. Even if your clothes are the finest, but you’re not concerned with self-care, you’ll still smell. You don’t have to be a neatness freak; follow the basics of personal and environmental hygiene. Have your bath at least twice a day, brush your teeth after every meal, take care of your hair, use good skincare and haircare products, etc. Ensure your surroundings are tidy and orderly too.

Use signature scents

Signature scents help you stand out wherever you go. You don’t have to disregard your budget rules to get one; a nice-smelling perfume or body roll-on that lasts long will do. You can get a variety that goes with your natural smell. Spray the scents on your pulse points so that they’ll mix with your body sweat. Don’t bathe yourself with the scent such that the air starts to choke. If you’re allergic to scents, go for perfumes or deodorants with natural scents, or avoid the types that contain the fragrance you’re allergic to.

Take care of your clothes, footwear, and accessories

As you take care of your body and environment, don’t forget your personal belongings. Wash your clothes and store them in a neat place. You can add essential oils or fabric conditioners to the washer.

If you’re using a wardrobe to keep your clothes, ensure it has enough space for air to circulate. For footwear and accessories such as belts, jewelry, caps, etc., clean them as they ought to be cleaned. 


Clothes smell after drying for reasons such as faulty/dirty washers, dampness, detergents with an offensive smell, etc. The first step is to identify the cause of the smell so that you’ll know how to eliminate it. Besides, you must put effort into smelling nice as it endears you to people.


dryer makes clothes smell

Leave a Comment