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For the Home Talk

How do I get the smell out of dish rags and dish towels?

Started 1312336649.417 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1313159577.24 by Anniecamp

I have no idea why, but as soon as my kitchen dish rags and dish towels get wet, they have this terrible smell. Do I have to just chuck them and get new ones, or is there something special I can do to get the smell out?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

ophelia :)

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Glass Lady­ K1312336863.6033888 PostsRegistered 11/21/2006Northern California

I use Oxyclean on my whites. You could use bleach too.

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Success in life depends on how you handle plan B. Anybody can handle plan A.
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summerblue1312336870.5232301 PostsRegistered 12/26/2007Long Island, NY

Try adding baking soda to the wash cycle. I'd say 1-cup for a full load.

ophelia2991312336999.861182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

Thanks!

I am scared of using bleach because I never really have used it on anything. (I know! I'm a chicken. I use mostly organic cleaning products.) But the rags aren't white... so won't the bleach change their colors? Also, how exactly do I use it? Do I add it to the laundry cycle?

autumnsuns­et1312337042.1332371 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

I always use Clorox in my towels when I wash them and after I use them for dishes I have a towel rack I let them dry on. I use a cap in my wash cycle.

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Last edited on 8/2/2011

RedConvert­ibleGirl1312337215.87313757 PostsRegistered 9/3/2005Pacific NW

Add a little bit of bleach to the wash. I have a little dispenser on the inside of my washer that I pour it into. It hasn't changed the color of my bath towels - you don't use very much.

Last edited on 8/2/2011

Last edited on 8/2/2011

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ophelia2991312337263.9671182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

And the Clorox bleach won't change the color of the towels?

lovesrecess1312337310.69313425 PostsRegistered 7/14/2008Texas

yes the Clorox will take the colors out of the washrags and towels....but a small amount would help; make sure you wash them in hot water and I have been putting mine out in the very hot, bright sun on my patio to dry....the sun will bleach them out as well...if they have a bad smell is sounds like bacteria that hasn't been killed and the bleach/ sunlight should do it. You can also put in the dryer but we are being told not to use ours due to energy issues with our 110 degree heat today.

ophelia2991312337367.3131182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

Gotcha. I'll definitely try these tips! Thanks so much.

ophelia

In-x-s1312337659.532552 PostsRegistered 3/24/2007Location, location, location

About 3 yrs ago I was having the same problem with all my towels, not just the kitchen towels. I started making my own laundry detergent and will never go back to buying laundry detergent again. I don't think the detergents were ever getting completely rinsed out of the towels. This is the recipe I use, it's a bit of a pain to make but I do a double batch and it lasts a long time. I use my food processor to shred the Fels Naptha as it's very hard. I then put it in the blender in small batches and blend everything to a fine powder. Sorry it's HUGE but that's how it's pasting {#emotions_dlg.scared}

4 C Borax

4 C Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

2 bars Fels Napthia soap

Combine the Borax and Arm and Hammer. Grate the soap

and add that in. Use 2 Tablespoons per load. Yes, that's

right. That's all it takes.

travelbug1312337950.97388 PostsRegistered 8/15/2007
I'd add some Pinesol to the wash. And use hot water if possible.

Be you to others kind & true as you would have others be to you.

ophelia2991312338005.7771182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

WOW! Go you. Makin' your own detergent and all. Maybe I will try it, but I have a one and a half year old who keeps me super busy right now... so I will keep purchasing my detergent. However, I have a friend who will LOVE this "recipe." Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

bigsister1312338363.785418 PostsRegistered 5/15/2010Southern California

Wash them all together and add vinegar to the rinse water. That should take out the odors.

ophelia2991312338439.9571182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

I did try vinegar, actually, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped...

In-x-s1312338449.582552 PostsRegistered 3/24/2007Location, location, location
On 8/2/2011 ophelia299 said:

WOW! Go you. Makin' your own detergent and all. Maybe I will try it, but I have a one and a half year old who keeps me super busy right now... so I will keep purchasing my detergent. However, I have a friend who will LOVE this "recipe." Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

You'd be hooked if you tried it LOL! at the very least, maybe try some vinegar in the rinse to cut the detergent so they rinse better.

ETA: oops! didn't see the above post mentioning the vinegar.

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Last edited on 8/2/2011

cinebee1312338573.6936420 PostsRegistered 5/7/2007

I use Handi Wipes as "dish rags". They are so porous they dry fast and don't hold odor. And they are disposable so you can just grab a new one when they get worn.

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ophelia2991312338574.5131182 PostsRegistered 11/10/2007

Yeah, I thought the vinegar worked, but when the towels got wet as I used them, the smell came back....

MopsyGirl1312339168.962575 PostsRegistered 2/15/2008

I use something called OdoBan. You can get it in a gallon jug at Home Depot. I add about 1/2 cup per load in the bleach dispenser. It really helps get out smells! (Pet odor, too.)

AnikaBrodie1312343419.28314769 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The state of mountains and valleys

Add about 1/2 cup of Borax to your detergent (I use Tide); this amount is for a small load; wash them in hot water.

~~~The Silver Fox ~~~
“... We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason..." (Anonymous)

ROMARY1312343938.2515230 PostsRegistered 4/28/2010

Soak them in a small tub of white vinegar and water overnight, covered. Then wash them with laundry detergent and a cup of Boraxo powder the next day.

Yellow Rose

only shops­ online1312357172.8835484 PostsRegistered 10/17/2006

I put my dish cloths in the dishwasher, inside one of the utensil baskets. They get sparkling clean and smell very fresh. I've been doing this for years.

I usually just wash all of my towels together in hot water, sometimes adding a little bleach if there are stains.

I can't imagine why you are getting odors after washing the towels. Do you, by any chance, have well water? My mother had that problem with her laundry.

drizzellla1312367890.8531471 PostsRegistered 7/16/2007
On 8/3/2011 only shops online said:

I put my dish cloths in the dishwasher, inside one of the utensil baskets. They get sparkling clean and smell very fresh. I've been doing this for years.

I usually just wash all of my towels together in hot water, sometimes adding a little bleach if there are stains.

I can't imagine why you are getting odors after washing the towels. Do you, by any chance, have well water? My mother had that problem with her laundry.

I also put my dish cloths in the diswasher. And I also put sponges in too. That way I know the dishcloths are clean and sanitized too. Has worked well for me for many years.

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The good news is You are the pilot.

jackthebear1312368357.915376 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 8/2/2011 ophelia299 said:

I have no idea why, but as soon as my kitchen dish rags and dish towels get wet, they have this terrible smell. Do I have to just chuck them and get new ones, or is there something special I can do to get the smell out?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

ophelia :)

hot water wash, with some bleach, if they are dish rags do you really care if they loose some color, then if you can dry out side on the line on a sunny day. bleach is nothing to be scared of.

use sponges instead of dish rags then once/week put them in the dishwasher

AngelPuppy11312369610.318597 PostsRegistered 5/26/2008

Is it kind of like a sour smell? I had this happen to couple of my towels and it was in the summer, maybe heat and humidity had something to do with it. I tried everything -super hot water, tons of bleach, etc., but couldn't get the odor out so I chucked them.

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." - Steve Martin.

kinda silly1312369707.237394 PostsRegistered 9/2/2009

Soap up and rinse your dishrag, then put in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Kills the bacteria that causes the odor.

imaclothes­hog1312370141.24321158 PostsRegistered 2/12/2006

What are they made of? If they are microfiber, that fabric might hold on to smells moreso than say a cotton towel would. All my dishtowels are cotton, and I don't have the smell problem. I would just toss them and buy new cotton towels.

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it". ~Erma Bombeck

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