How To Freshen Clothes That Have Been In Storage – We’ve all been there…you take a shower, forget about it, and end up with clothes that smell like wet dog! But is there any way to save them and avoid a stinky smell that sticks to your clothes for days?
Well, according to Martha Stewart (Domestic Goddess) “It’s perfectly okay to leave wet clothes in the washing machine”… even overnight!
How To Freshen Clothes That Have Been In Storage
Now, it’s important to remember that while this may be perfectly fine, it’s not perfect, and we don’t recommend it here at Well Polished. But it’s nice to know that you don’t have to jump out of bed at 11:00 p.m. just as you’re about to take a nap when you remember your mistake.
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However, if you leave them overnight and forget AGAIN and leave them until the middle of the next day, you will probably smell the inevitable wet dog smell, but we have some tips to save them.
1. Clothes that are only slightly airy can simply be air dried. If you hang the item outside, the wind and fresh air will help remove the moldy odor and prevent you from driving another load.
2. If you want to start washing again, be sure to throw in a cup of vinegar with the detergent. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so your clothes will smell fresh again after you take them out.
3. Another natural cleaning option is to sprinkle baking soda before washing clothes on the hottest setting.
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It’s worth noting that a wet dog smell isn’t always caused by sitting in the car for a long time…sometimes there are other reasons to consider:
It is recommended to wash the cleaning cycle once a week or twice a week, depending on how often you use it. If you are not using it for softening, it is recommended to wash it (both inside and out) once a month.
When cleaning the washing machine, don’t forget to properly clean the detergent drawer as well!
Our final tip (and it’s a breeze!) is to leave the washing machine door open between washes. This allows the washing machine to ventilate and prevents mold from forming.
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One element that is often left out of sustainable fashion conversations is how we take care of our clothes.
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It turns out that washing and drying our clothes can have a significant impact on energy and water consumption. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that washing and drying clothes produces 120 million tons of CO2 each year.
And according to WRAP, extending the life of a garment by 9 months reduces its carbon, water and waste footprint by around 20-30%.
Okay, maybe you’ve convinced yourself to wash and dry your clothes less. “But what about smelly clothes?” you can ask!
My friend, there are many ways to remove odors without putting clothes in the washing machine.
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Here are six strategies to get rid of odors so you can extend the time between washes. Of course, you will eventually have to wash your clothes, but these tips will help you wash them
If odors occur, hang the clothes out of the closet immediately after wearing them to air them out. I usually air out my clothes and shoes for a day before hanging them back in the closet. Mild odors often disappear within a day, although stronger odors may take a few days to dissipate.
Better yet, hang your clothes outside in the fresh air—sunlight and a light breeze can help remove odors. Be careful not to hang colored clothes in direct sunlight for too long to prevent the colors from fading.
If the smell persists after a few days, or if the smell is particularly strong, spritzing the garment with pure vodka works surprisingly well.
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All you have to do is fill a spray bottle with plain unflavored vodka (you might want to label it so you don’t accidentally use the bottle for something else and get a nasty surprise later!) and spray your clothes.
It’s been a not-so-secret hack that the performance world has used to remove odors from costumes that can’t be washed or don’t have time to wash between shows.
I personally use it to remove pretty strong odors from my ballet costumes (or at least most of them).
In my personal experience, this strategy is usually most effective when applied to specific areas (such as the underarms).
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I just roll up my clothes and spray vodka directly in my armpit. Then I hang it up for a day or so.
To prevent the vinegar from affecting the fabric, you can turn the garment inside out and spray on a small, inconspicuous area to test. If everything is in order, spray the clothes!
If you don’t want the faint smell of vinegar, you can mix in a few drops of essential oil. (Double check the mixture inside the garment before spraying the outside!)
Like vodka, air the garment inside out for a day or so before putting it back in the closet or wearing it again.
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Try mixing a tablespoon of lemon juice with one cup of water in a spray bottle and spray on your clothes!
As before, if the smell is only coming from ONE area of clothing (such as underarms), try just spraying that area.
And if the smell is mainly coming from the armpits, it is best to spray inside the clothes because that is where the source of the clothes is.
If you are spraying the outside of a piece, test the mixture on the inside of the garment first to make sure it won’t cause discoloration on the outside of the garment.
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No steamer? No problem. Hanging wrinkled clothes in the bathroom under a hot shower is a common intervention that can sometimes help, although admittedly it doesn’t usually work as well as a steamer.
Note. Some delicate items, such as suede, cannot be steamed, and garments with delicate decorations are strongly recommended to be turned inside out before steaming.
Also a steamer or some other approach in my experience, but if you don’t have a steamer try putting clothes like jeans in the freezer!
I like to put mine in a bag before putting them in the freezer (maybe that’s why it doesn’t work so well for me.)
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Be sure to remove them before you plan to wear them again, as they will be cold and stiff after freezing.
Hope these tips were helpful and will help you save time, money and clothes, not to mention resources!
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