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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Removing Odors from Clothes Hung to Dry

By Dr. Laundry July 29, 2008

Q: I love hanging my clothes out to dry but have had to quit because they smell so bad every time I hang them. What causes perfectly washed clothes to stink so bad after they’ve been hung out to dry? Any information would be very helpful. Thank you very much.

A: WOW!! I also love that great outdoor, fresh air smell on the clothes plus the energy savings of not using the dryer. I’m stumped on this one. Best guess is that there is some “foreign” odor that the clothes are picking up.


Some clarifying questions:


  • Is this on everything or certain items?

  • Is it the same or different on all the clothes?

  • Did these items used to be OK and just suddenly changed?

  • Have you changed laundry products or the way you wash them recently?

  • Have you noticed any strange smells outdoors when hanging or retrieving the clothes from the line?