Keep Your Laundry Room Smelling Fresh With These Cleaners and Gadgets
Prevent mold build-up in your washing machine and eliminate any lurking laundry room odors with these top-rated products.
If your laundry room doesn’t smell as clean as your clean laundry, it might be time for a room refresh. Like a bathroom, the laundry room produces excess moisture, which can lead to that undesirable, overwhelming scent of wet dog meets sweaty gym clothes. Not to worry, we’ve rounded up our favorite solutions for each smelly culprit in the laundry room, best practices and nifty products (some under $5) to ensure your laundry room stays fresh and odor-free. Take a look at our top picks below and get your laundry room back on track.
Before you toss your washer or dryer, take a closer look at your dirty clothes hamper. It’s one of the worst odor culprits, especially if you have a cotton or natural straw hamper. Though they may be cute, these hampers absorb water, dirt and oils from dirty clothes. Instead, opt for a stainless steel hamper. This stainless steel hamper from Wayfair has holes for extra ventilation and the fabric insert is machine washable.
Even if you try to keep on top of the hamper situation, it’s no match for gym clothes, sports equipment or the worst: forgotten wet swimsuits left to sour at the bottom of the pile. These little baking soda balls from Arm & Hammer are excellent at preventing smells and moisture. Toss one in the bottom of your hamper and toss another in your gym bag to help curb smells. You can also place them in sneakers and cleats.
When was the last time you washed your washing machine? Even a machine built for cleaning has to be cleaned occasionally. There are so many home remedies for cleaning a stinky washer drum, but most new washers or smart washers come with a wash cycle. And if your washer doesn’t have a wash cycle, Affresh has handy cleaning tablets to get the job done and give your washer a deep clean.
The drum isn’t always the problem; your washer smell could be coming from the washer door. Front load washers are notorious for trapping water in the rubber seal. Cleaning the rubber folds can be tricky, as you don’t want to stretch the seal with a brush or sponge. Instead, try these wipes from Affresh. It’s the same cleaning power as the tablets, but in handy wipes for those tiny nooks and crannies inside a washer door.
If a dehumidifier is out of the budget, there’s always baking soda. Yep, that little box in your fridge can help reduce moisture and odors in the laundry room, too. If your space isn’t well ventilated or if the hook-up is in an unfinished basement, try this refillable moisture absorber from Arm & Hammer.
The only way to completely eliminate laundry room odors is to eliminate excess moisture. If your laundry hook-up is in a bathroom, you can use the bathroom fan, but if your laundry room is in a mudroom or basement without a fan, you need a dehumidifier — especially if you live in a region with high humidity. Dehumidifiers can get pricey, but Honeywell has a top-rated model that is perfect for small rooms. And don’t let its compact size fool you. This unit can remove 30 pints of moisture from the air in 24 hours.
Once you know you’ve eliminated problem odors and humidity, you can use a linen spray or essential oils to keep your laundry room smelling fresh. We love this essential oil and spray bottle set from Grove Collaborative.
And for something you can just hang up and leave, try this hanging diffuser from diptyque. (We love their luxe candles, too, for the living room.) Unlike reeds, you don’t have to worry about a bottle of oil getting knocked over. And unlike plug-in diffusers, you can hang this out of reach of kiddos and pets.
As for your actual laundry smelling fresh, there are a lot of scent boosters on the market, but some can leave a weird residue on clothes like a dryer sheet. Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Scent Booster is a more natural alternative and the scent options are a lot better. We’re a big fan of basil across all Mrs. Meyer’s products, but you can order several different scents at Grove Collaborative.
If you have sensitive skin and scent boosters or dryer sheets irritate you, another option is using essential oils with dryer balls. Love It or List It, Too host Jillian Harris is obsessed with Saje essential oils and she even designed one of their diffusers. The Canadian brand has a cute little dryer ball set with its own essential oil blend “bliss.” I have this scent myself as a rollerball. It’s a little bit citrusy and a little bit sweet.