How To Stop Clothes Smelling Damp When Drying Indoors

There are many ways of drying your clothes indoors during cold or wet weather. A good heated airer works great. You can also use a traditional clotheshorse or a dehumidifier.

So at least you don’t have to suffer through dirty laundry or the high costs of running a tumble dryer.

But there’s one issue that many people face when drying clothes indoors – clothes smelling mouldy and damp.  Read on to learn how to stop clothes smelling damp when drying indoors.

What Makes Clothes Smell Damp?

No matter how great smelling fabric softener you use, the damp smell is caused by trapped moisture in the clothes.

If some moisture remains after drying, your clothes will smell damp even when they eventually dry completely.

The smell will be especially noticeable if you fold the clothes and put them in a drawer or closet while they are still damp.

Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine for too long can also make them smelly. Drying them doesn’t completely get rid of the smell.

The same applies if you leave wet clothes in the tumble dryer and you’ve not turned it on. The dampness and the enclosed space are a recipe for a mouldy smell.

A smelly tumble dryer or washing machine can also make your clothes smell damp.

Another common cause of damp clothes is drying them in a small poorly ventilated room. Whether you are using a clotheshorse or a heated airer, it is important that the room has good ventilation.

If there is too much moisture in the air, it gives your clothes a musty smell.

How To Deal With The Damp Smell

Here are some tips to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

1. Do Not Leave Clothes Damp

Dry your clothes as soon as you finish washing them. Do not leave them sitting in the washing machine for too long.

Wring them and lay them out or hang them on a heated airer, a clotheshorse or whatever other indoor drying technique you use.

This ensures that they lose the moisture quickly before it turns stale and gets smelly.

2. Use a Dehumidifier or Open the Window

As I mentioned, poor ventilation is a common cause of musty smelling clothes.

There are two ways to solve this.

One, open the window to improve ventilation. This will ensure water vapour does not stick around in the room.

If that’s not possible, buy a dehumidifier. It will suck up the extra moisture in the air, leaving your clothes dry and fresh.

3. Make Sure Your Clothes Are Completely Dry

Even a little dampness can make all the other clothes in the drawer smell musty and mouldy.

Check that the clothes are completely dry before you fold them. Focus on areas that take longer to dry such as the arms, the corners and pockets.

If you are using a heated airer, leave the clothes overnight to ensure they are 100% dry. A clotheshorse might take several days to get your clothes dry especially in winter.

4. Wash Damp Clothes Immediately

If you were caught in the rain, wash the damp clothes immediately. Leaving them unwashed introduces the damp smell that doesn’t completely go away even after washing.

The same applies for your workout clothes or any clothes that get sweaty. Don’t leave them piling in the laundry basket.

5. Use Bleach or Vinegar

If your clothes are already smelling damp, add some bleach to the load. You can use regular or colour-safe bleach depending on which clothes you are washing.

If you don’t want to use bleach, vinegar is a natural deodorizer.