Why Do Some Garments Smell After Being Washed

Smelly clothes on clothesline

Tip No. 2 – Are You Suffering From Smelly Shirts And Garments?

So, I have washed my clothes, dried, folded them and put them away. Sometime later I have taken, say a polo shirt out of the drawer or wardrobe and worn it. Not long after, and during my normal movements I have detected a musty smell. Someone said it smells like old socks. Why is this so? After all I have used good detergent and been diligent in the process.

The short answer is the regulation of Phosphates in Detergents.

A few years back, regulation in the detergent industry, stopped makers adding phosphates to detergents. Prior, the addition of phosphates allowed the detergent to do a thorough job of removing all the bacteria from garments. Some folk may remember a product called Calgon. Sodium triphosphate. Adding this product to the detergent improved the wash quality with its water softening qualities. Now you will find the proud statement on all the detergent packets in the supermarket, a label NP, meaning negligible phosphates. The removal of phosphates was because of claims that the grey water containing this chemical caused algal blooms in the waterways and so polluted the environment. Now we are stuck without phosphates.

The question: ‘How do we deal with this problem of bacteria causing smelly clothes?’

The Answer; use a laundry rinse. Although another product to purchase, a laundry rinse can be added to the fabric softener dispenser so that it is washed into the rinse cycle of the washing process.

Do not mix with fabric softener. Fabric softeners should be avoided, but that is another topic. This rinse addition will kill the bacteria that cause bad smells.

Another tip is to iron the clothes with a proper steam iron. The stem will kill the bacteria too. If you are not into ironing then use the rinse additive. The use of steam is an under-rated topic. Steaming some garments can allow an extra wear or two as a freshen up.

Tony Pike

Tony Pike

Electrical Technician at Wet Appliance Consulting
Tony Pike is a qualified electrical technician who spent 20 years in the electrical field before changing direction to follow his interest in mechanics.Tony then became Tony Pike Appliances servicing Hahndorf and the entire Adelaide Hills for 25 Years. Tony has studied the process of wet appliances and the effect that different detergent products have in the laundry industry. Tony retired in 2014 after spending his last 7 yrs. as a senior technician in Adelaide City. These days Tony carries on his interest of wet appliance mechanics in a consulting role.
Tony Pike

About Tony Pike

Tony Pike is a qualified electrical technician who spent 20 years in the electrical field before changing direction to follow his interest in mechanics. Tony then became Tony Pike Appliances servicing Hahndorf and the entire Adelaide Hills for 25 Years. Tony has studied the process of wet appliances and the effect that different detergent products have in the laundry industry. Tony retired in 2014 after spending his last 7 yrs. as a senior technician in Adelaide City. These days Tony carries on his interest of wet appliance mechanics in a consulting role.

Leave a Reply