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How To Keep Your Laundry Room Smelling Fresh

Washing machine with the words "How To Keep Your Laundry Room Smelling Fresh" digitally written on top.

I love having a laundry room in our house. When we lived in an apartment, we actually didn’t have a washer and dryer in our unit. So our laundry room was basically just a place for me to store dirty laundry. Which, honestly, made our laundry room smell like a locker room. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted to keep our laundry room smelling fresh.

When we lived at that apartment, doing laundry was such a pain. We had to pack it in laundry baskets, cart them and our laundry supplies to the laundry room in the complex, and then wait. It was not really the best way to spend a couple hours of free time.

Plus, I have a lot of clothes, so I can go a long time without doing laundry. I’m probably more proud about that than I should be.

And, I don’t have much free time. So spending it in the laundry room in our complex wasn’t ideal.

If you’re similar, you run the risk of your laundry room smelling like a locker room. Which is gross. Really gross … especially if you have company over. Imagine if your company is looking for a bathroom, opens your laundry room door by accident, and gets a whiff of gym socks. Gross.

Don’t worry. Follow our tips and you’ll figure out how to get rid of laundry room smell.

Why Does My Laundry Room Smell?

First, let’s tackle reasons why you have a smelly laundry room in the first place. Then, we’ll figure out how to get rid of those smells so your laundry room will always smell nice (and not like socks).

Dirty clothes

If you leave dirty clothes in your laundry room, they’ll smell. 

Dirty hamper

Maybe your hamper smells. We use plastic laundry hampers so we don’t have this issue, but if you use a fabric or fabric-lined hamper, you might want to clean your laundry hamper.

Dirty machines

There might be mold or mildew growing in your washing machine or dryer, or its gaskets, that’s causing your laundry room smell.

How To Keep Your Laundry Room Smelling Fresh

Now that we’ve figured out why your laundry room potentially smells, let’s figure out a few ways to fix that laundry room smell. Follow these tips below to keep your laundry room smelling fresh. 

Socks on a dryer with a bottle of detergent behind it.

Do your laundry.

This is a no brainer. If you don’t want your laundry room to smell like laundry, don’t leave laundry sitting. The sooner you can do it, the less time smells have to get into your clothes.

I try to keep to a schedule so that dirty laundry doesn’t pile up. I usually do my laundry on Monday, towels on Tuesday, and Pete does his laundry on Friday. Then, one of the open laundry days is spent washing things that don’t need to be washed on a weekly basis, like window or shower curtains, throw pillows, etc.

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And finish it all.

I know. Doing laundry isn’t anyone’s favorite chore. But once you start it, you should finish it. If you leave your wet clothes in the washing machine for hours (or, heaven forbid, overnight), you’ll end up with a musty smell in the laundry room — and in your clothes. You can rewash them, of course, but just go ahead and start and finish your laundry all at once.

And this goes for folding the clothes after you dry them too. Sure, leaving them there won’t affect contribute to any laundry room odor, but it will wrinkle the clothes (although we do have a hack to get wrinkles out of clothes without ironing).

Open your washing machine’s door.

After you do your laundry, keep the washer door open. Any leftover water will dry quicker, reducing your risk of mold. And mold smells. A lot. So you end up with a mildew smell in the laundry room. You should leave your washer’s door open whenever it isn’t in use. Just be mindful if you have pets or kids. Obviously, their safety is paramount.

Air out your laundry room.

If you have a window in your laundry room, open that up and air out the room from time to time. That breeze is a great way to get fresh air in and take any smells out.

Bottle of Purex laundry detergent on a washing machine.

Use the right detergent.

High-efficiency washers need high-efficiency detergents. Because of all the magic that makes them HE, they can’t really “process” normal detergent properly. So residue gets left behind. Eventually, that adds up and turns into gross smells. So even if you are doing your laundry in a timely manner, the room will still smell.

Hand holding an Air Wick air freshener refill.

Plug in an air freshener.

A small air freshener can fill the whole room and give a sweet kick to your nose every time you open the door.

Clean the washing machine and dryer.

It seems funny, honestly, that you have to clean something that cleans. But you have to. Wipe down the outside and inside of your washing machine and dryer with a wet cloth every week or so. This helps with fresh smelling laundry.

Speaking of cleaning them, don’t forget to clean out the lint trap in the dryer. You should be cleaning that out after every load to prevent fires. But, be sure to see if any lint has gotten stuck in the screen. If any did, you’ll want to rinse that down. Then, wait until the lint trap has completely dried before putting it back into your dryer.

Wash your washer.

Rebecca commented that you need to wash your washers. So every so often, you need to do more than the wet cloth run down. She said gunk builds up everywhere, so run your washer — empty! — with bleach, vinegar, or another cleaning solution to clear out any hard water deposits and musty odors.

That’s a great tip to figure out how to get fresh smelling laundry. If your washer or dryer smells because you haven’t cleaned it, your laundry will smell too.

Bounce dryer sheets.

Use dryer sheets.

I love the smell of fresh bed sheets. Honestly, there’s nothing better to me than sleeping on fresh sheets. I always use two dryer sheets instead of one when I wash the sheets because it makes them softer and they smell great.

Plus, dryer sheets add a little bit of a nice scent into the air of the laundry room. And sometimes, that little bit of scent is all you need to keep your laundry room smelling fresh.

Washing machine and dryer in a laundry room with the words "Ten Things You Forget To Clean In The Laundry Room" digitally written above it.

Clean your laundry room:

To keep laundry room smells away, you actually want to clean your laundry room. And believe it or not, there are a ton of things in the laundry room that you just forget to clean (or don’t know you should clean).

Be sure to check out our Ten Things You Forget To Clean In The Laundry Room.

Laundry in a laundry basket with a bag of Tide pods on top.

Want some laundry tips?

We’ve actually written quite a bit about laundry here on Drugstore Divas. So check out our other posts about the laundry.

Rebecca Mendoza

Friday 17th of March 2017

Good tips Lisa, also people need to wash their washers. Gunk builds up everywhere so running it empty with bleach or any cleaning solution should suffice. Vinegar will also work, to clear out any hard water deposits and musty odors.

Rebecca Mendoza

Friday 17th of March 2017

Good tips Lisa, also people need to wash their washers. Gunk builds up everywhere so running it empty with bleach or any cleaning solution should suffice. Vinegar will also work, to clear out any hard water deposits and musty oders.