how to air dry clothes without smell

How to Air Dry Clothes Without Smell?

You might have experienced nasty sunless weather in your area, which means that you have probably taken a trip or two to the laundromat. If you have, then you’ve likely experienced the uncomfortable and sometimes hazardous situation of drying your clothes in a public space. It can be quite an annoying practice to air-dry your clothes without smell. Some people can be uncomfortable with the musty odor, and one of the solutions is to air dry them. 

But often, even after doing it all day, you still can’t get rid of the smell. It can’t help with the lack of sunshine outside also. Here’s what we can do to dry the clothes without the foul smell. First, we need to check what is causing the smell and how we can make our clothes freshly dried outside even when it’s cloudy all day.


Why do outdoor dried clothes smell so good?

There is a science behind the scent. UV light from the sun kills bacteria effectively in your clothes. Plus, clothes dried in the sun produce a range of flowery and fruity scented chemicals.

What Causing Clothes to Smell?

Air-drying clothes is an excellent money-saving technique that always leaves laundry clean. It’s not normal to have your clothes smelling bad if you air dry them, and if they do, below are mainly causing it.

Moisture and humidity

Is your house unusually humid? Even with the best smelling fabric softener, the damp smell is caused by trapped moisture. You might still have some water left even after drying, which will leave your clothes smelling damp. If there is too much wetness in the air, it can cause several other problems, such as black mold.

High humidity can encourage mildew growth even if the clothing has been in the laundry basket for a short time. Partial damp condition in your drawer could also cause it. Store your dirty clothes inside a cotton hamper, and never put anything moist inside. Always ensure that you extract the laundry from the hamper as it’s drying; otherwise, mold & bacteria will start feeding on the dirt.

Mold and mildews

Moisture brings us here. Mould and mildew can cause a musty smell in your clothes. Once the mold has grown or attached to the fabric, it will stick there until removed. Mold is harmful for many reasons, but the most important ones are allergy aggravation and asthma problems.

Both can happen from inhaling spores or from coming into contact with surfaces that have been infested with mildew. We can answer this problem by using a humidifier to decrease the humidity in your home.

Washing your laundry too long can lead to mold and mildew growth. It could also be that the washing machine itself has mold, which is transferring onto clean laundry. 

To decrease humidity, you can buy a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will come in a range of capacities. To avoid having to drain the water container constantly, we recommend going for a larger size. If 12 Litres sounds like the correct size for you, then you might want to take a look at this particular dehumidifier. However, there are many other good choices on the market.

Bacteria and fungus

One of the reasons natural fabrics like rayon, cotton, hemp, and linen can give off an unpleasant smell is bacteria and fungus. They will start growing on the clothes and make them stink!

Drying your laundry indoors

The main issue you may face when drying your laundry indoors is having it come out smelling like mold. It’s much better to let the fresh air dry clothes by hanging them outside in nature to get fresh air and sunshine without smell.

Air circulation

Here’s a pro tip:

  1. Optimize circulation in your bathroom.
  2. If you live in a tropical, sticky climate, open the windows or place a fan inside.
  3. Even if it’s true for your washing machine, put the washer’s lid open for about an hour to let it dry. 

Air pollution

Do you have a lot of air pollution where you live? This is a problem in urban areas with unhealthy air quality.


Air-drying is not suitable for all fabrics or natural materials. This includes heavy garments made out of natural fibers like wool.

Washing machine

If you think there might be a more outstanding issue with your washing machine, take the time to give it a good deep clean! No matter what, washing machines will become moldy as they’re mostly made from plastic and metal.

One of the more peculiar parts about your garbage disposal is the seal (gasket), so it may be a bit complicated to clean this around. This is where mold and mildew will build up over time and produce an unpleasant odor.


Before the Washing Process

Check your tumbler/washer.

A stinking tumble dryer or washing machine can also make your clothes smell damp. Ensure your rubber door seal for mold and mildew by wiping around the inside with a microfibre cloth. If you find any gunk, use white vinegar to remove it.

To prevent or remove mold and mildew, remove and clean out the filter and condenser tank. It will also help dry clothes better and faster. Tumble dryers need cleansing, too, and are often neglected in our cleaning routines. Clean The Tumble Dryer with its filter and condenser.

Clean your washing machine

Washing machine cleaners help in making the laundry smell better by cleaning the innermost parts of the appliance.

  • Use your chosen cleaner and a microfibre cloth to clean every surface of your washing machine. Don’t forget to wipe the detergent drawer and remove it for a thorough deep clean.
  • Sometimes the area around the gearbox can get dirty. To clean it, you should spray some rubber sealant and use a microfibre cloth to remove any gunk, hair, and mold.
  • Important note: we advise not to use bleach or strong substances when cleaning a washing machine or tumble dryer.
  • A deep clean can make all the distinctions for your washing machine. Performance-wise, it is advisable to use a washing machine cleaner regularly.

During the Washing Process

The first step is to run an empty cycle with hot water and bleach. Make sure the washer’s lid is open when not in use. This helps prevent any mold growth.

Don’t use fabric softeners.

It’s time to finally throw away those excess fabric softeners and feel the difference for yourself. Fabric softer leaves slime on your clothes that trap your clothing in moisture. You deserve better than that!

If you don’t want to use your fabric softener anymore, try using white vinegar. Add it to your detergent when washing clothes. Make sure you remove it from the machine right away.

Try running the dryer after each load by opening the door and adding hot water. If you have a landowner, talk to them about getting hot water to your house.

Add some bleach

If your clothes start to smell damp, add some bleach to the load. Add regular or color-safe bleach to wash your clothes, depending on which ones you are cleaning. If you don’t fancy using bleach, vinegar is a natural deodorizer. To sanitize clothing in your washing machine, run a hot wash with bleach! Check the filter to make sure it’s clean, too.

How to Air Dry Clothes Without Smell

Add some vinegar

Supplement 1/2 a cup of vinegar to your detergent drawer. It will clean your clothes by removing smells and straightening any mildew or mold in the machine or fabric. You can also add a dash for optimal smell removal!


After the Washing Process

Make sure your room is healthily ventilated.

One of the most frequent causes of wet clothes is drying them in a small, poorly ventilated room. Whether you are using a clothes horse or an electric dryer, the room must be well ventilated. If there’s too much dampness in the atmosphere, it can give your clothes a musty smell. You should make sure you hang your clothes in an area with enough space and air circulation to avoid the risk of creasing.

Let them dry right away.

Letting garments sit in the laundry basket promotes wrinkles. Air-Drying Clothes Takes From 2 to 4 Hours for most fabrics in a good sunray. Mould and mildew can grow in wet clothes when they take longer to dry. But when clothes dry quickly, the mold spores don’t have the time to grow and make them smell bad.

Also, correcting how your clothes are hung in the washing machine could save you a lot of time ironing them. Hanging them so that they are folded straight, with no folds or creases, will help them to dry wrinkle-free.

Use the electric dryer as necessary.

After your central heating and AC system, your electric dryer might be the most significant energy sucker in your home. Drying them doesn’t quite get rid of the smell. The same applies if you leave wet clothes in the tumble dryer.

Use dryer sheets/balls.

Since dryer sheets are expensive, many people are turning to use dryer balls instead. They’re much cheaper and are supposed to help clothes get drier in a shorter amount of time.

Use a fan

You can use a floor fan to circulate the air in your spare room and dry them quicker. Why not open a window too? Also, Have you ever considered using a box fan? They can help circulate the air and take some of the excess humidity out of your clothes. But if it’s not working, you might want to consider building a hot-box.

Use drying racks

If you have a door that opens towards the outside, an over-the-door airing rack can be quite helpful. You can hang coats & sock hangers from these racks and use them as a drying rack. In about 30 minutes, I can dry a whole load in summer, and it takes at least 2 hours in winter.

Final Checks

Make sure your clothes are properly dry before storing them.

When you fold and put wet clothes in a drawer or closet, they’ll start to smell more. Abandoning wet clothes in the washing machine for too long can make them smelly.

Clean your washing machine now and then

How to Air Dry Clothes Without Smell

You will need borax, washing soda, Calgon, and an excellent strong detergent. If you have a standard Toploader, you can do this in your washing machine.

  • Fill your machine with hot water (or bathtub half total)
  • Add three tablespoons each of the borax, Calgon, and washing soda.
  • Mix (you may want to wear gloves if you have sensitive skin)
  • Add clothing in and mix well.
  • Leave sit for 2-6 hours or until

If your washer doesn’t empty the tub after washing your clothes, you’ll need to clean it out regularly. Front-load washers can also require periodic maintenance, which includes deep washing. On top of that, they even come with their special cleaners for this purpose too.


The key takeaways for stopping clothes smelling damp is to: Make sure washing machines and tumble dryers are mold-free Rinse clothes harboring damp smells in color-safe bleach or white vinegar. If you’re drying clothes inside, reduce the amount of moisture in the air so clothes can adequately dry.

Vinegar and borax are fantastic solutions, but they don’t fix the bigger problem. We need to check the root cause of this issue, like your house humidity or washing machine.

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