The Diaper Diaries

but hopefully not full of crap

Works For Me Wednesday- We Got The Funk June 17, 2008

Filed under: Works for me Wednesdays — thediaperdiaries @ 10:02 pm

   You gotta love it when a Works For Me Wednesday post is born out of a rather embarrassing problem. Our problem du jour- funky towels. Towels that smell of mold and must even after washing. As in they come out of the dryer that way. We have tried re-washing, doing smaller loads, not putting semi-wet towels in the hamper, changing towels more often. All to no avail. Then I happened to be reaching down into the washer to pull out a stray sock and whew!!! It appears our washer is also smelling a bit on the funky side.

Here is the problem with the funky towel. I never realize it’s full funkiness until I have dried of my whole body and go to dry the face. Then I am hit with an overwhelming funk and realize it has attached itself to the rest of my body. So I go around all day smelling whiffs of funk. Or I lean in to kiss the hubby only to realize he is wearing eau de funky towel cologne. This problem has got to stop. Is anyone else with me or have you not had the pleasure of using some delightful smelling body wash only to have it negated by you recently washed towel?

So after some research a la google, I think I have stumbled upon a cure. Run a very hot load of wash (yes, bad for the environment, but I am not sure my funky smell is all that good for your environment) and add in a cup full of vinegar (God’s greatest invention). I must confess this WFMW post is written a bit prematurely as we are trying out this tip as we speak (write), but maybe if it doesn’t work you can flood me with comments telling me what works for you. Or at least that you sympathize with my dilemma. Or maybe confess that you too have been smelling a little funky lately. Please don’t comment that last time you saw a member of my family, you left distinctly feeling as though we were giving off an odd smell. Although that could be the case for completely unrelated reasons.

For more fabulous tips, head over to Rocks in my Dryer.


48 Responses to “Works For Me Wednesday- We Got The Funk”

  1. Megan Says:

    You are so funny – and I’m totally with you on this. The vinegar really does work – it’s awesome. For future reference, you can also use it if anything smells like pee. Not to be gross, but you know how it is sometimes with little ones who aren’t quite proficient at the potty thing!

  2. CIndy Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve used OxyClean (and a very hot wash) for this problem with great success. I’m uncertain if your towels would come out smelling like vinegar or not…although I guess vinegar would smell better than the funk!

  3. Heather Says:

    To keep your washer from smelling funky, run it on a small cycle with hot water, clorox and vinegar. Once the smell is gone, keep the lid of your washer open whenever you don’t have a load in the wash. Mildew builds up in your washer and transfers to your clothes, which gives the funk.

  4. Alana Says:

    Is there anything that vinegar can’t cure??? I’d throw in some baking soda for good measure . . . . it’s the only thing comparable to vinegar and can usually cure what ails you!

  5. Gayle Says:

    Ooh I hate when the funk attaches to my body. Great tip! You have made me funk-less.

  6. Nicole Says:

    My washer smells funky too…I’m definitely trying this tomorrow. Thanks!

  7. We have that issue too. Not that it’s a surprise. I’m going to try it. Vinegar is better than funk, any day!

  8. I love your term “eau de funky towel cologne”. I am going to use it next time my husband sees me return another freshly washed towel to the laundry with a curious look on his face. 🙂

  9. If it’s really bad, sometimes I run an empty load with hot water and bleach, but normally I use vinegar.

    This is a great tip.

  10. Debbie Says:

    I hate that funk! Good luck getting rid of it!

  11. Washing towels and rags in laundry detergent with color safe bleach helps this problem go away for good and never come back. It kills the bacteria in the towels. As for the actual washing machine smelling, it is best to leave the lid up. Especially when away for more than 2 days.

  12. Tracye Says:

    Girl, can we ever empathize. Definitely trying this tomorrow.

  13. proverbs31 Says:

    Thank you! Our towels have been smelling funky, too. Hubby has been trying to blame it on my homemade laundry soap, but like you said, the washer smells, too, and besides… the soap was working before. I’m also with the comment to leave the lid up. Perhaps I should do that, too, since it seems we only deal with this issue during warm weather.

  14. ames Says:

    The vinegar also gets rid of soap build-up, you can do the same thing with the dishwasher and coffee pot too. Might not be a bad idea to use the bleach now and again to disinfect, I’ve read some nasty statistics on the amount of bacteria a washing machine harbors…yick.

  15. Becky Says:

    Great idea! Must try! Too funny but, we can all get the funky problem at times!

  16. Denise Says:

    I’ve recently switched to powder detergent. That seems to be helping the funk smell not come back so fast. That and I just purchased new towels at a VERY good sale because I was so sick of that smell!

  17. Kim Says:

    Okay, we battle with this problem too. Unfortunately, my mom had the secret remedy, because I never knew this kind of problem existed until I was married. The reason this is unfortnate is because it made me believe we were very dirty, stinky people that needed to buy new towels every year or so… A very expensive proposition!

    Anyway, mom shared her secret with me: adding a half a cup of bleach everytime you wash the towels. This removes the “eau de funky towel cologne” smell so I can actually smell the cologne that we spend all that money on… And, since it’s such a small quanity of bleach, we haven’t had any problems with it lightening our blue towels. This also works great for kitchen towels and dish rags.

  18. Stephanie Says:

    I will have to try this with some towels I have. I too hate the drying of the body, only to discover the funky smell when you dry your face. Awful to have to deal with for the rest of the day!

  19. jubilee Says:

    and to think the solution was right in my cupboard the whole time . . . thanks for the tip. am so using it.

  20. Jeni Says:

    Vinegar is awesome. AWESOME. I use cloth diapers for my 20 month old girlie, and I put vinegar in a Downy ball and toss it in with her diapers – it automatically comes out during the rinse, and we haven’t had a problem with diaper odor at all!

  21. SAHMmy Says Says:

    You can run a load with bleach (empty if you want) through the washer to clear the mildew funk from the machine too. But maybe the vinegar will be enough–I’ve read that it actually kills mold better than bleach (apparently the water in bleach feeds mold.) I love the smell of Clorox, though!

  22. Courtney Williams Says:

    This is one of the many reasons why I love having you as a friend. We can talk about absolutely ANYTHING!!! 🙂

  23. Kaye Says:

    Hi. My name is Kaye and my towels are funky too. There I’ve said it. I have just recently (seriously within the last week) been pondering throwing the bad ones out and replacing them. Now I have a solution! I am going to try this one out and at worst…I have vinegar smelling towels (my hubby will love that…he LOVES vinegar!).

    Thanks so much!

  24. Heather Says:

    Just to be clear: the load with the hot water and vinegar, is that with or without the towels?

    You really should purchase Zen: the art of Clean. It’s the best for safe home remedies for things like this…

  25. CC Says:

    ha haa!!! My towels totally get smelly and just like you said, I don’t know it until the end!!

  26. jenefur Says:

    Perhaps you should change your blog to ‘Funk in my Dryer’ ! 🙂

  27. jodi Says:

    I heard recently (I think on a TV show) that most household washers contain high amounts of bacteria (& fecal material) – YIKES – and that we should all run a cycle of water &bleach through every so often to kill off some of the yuck. Certainly not a pleasant thought! Can’t wait to hear how your vinegar fix turns out! 🙂

  28. Julie Says:

    That’s funny! I hate the smell of funk. I’ve tried soaking my funky smelling dishcloths in vinegar and baking soda before washing them (in hot water). And it worked! Yay! My daughter was even covering her mouth when I’d go to wipe her face because the dishcloths were yucky smelling.

  29. Audra Krell Says:

    Yes, this MUST be done for kitchen towels too. So embarrasing to have guests wash their hands and pick up a gross smelling towel to dry them with! Do it early and do it often! Thanks for the great post!

  30. MommyRidd Says:

    TIDE. That’s always been the answer to every funky smell I’ve experienced & when you cloth diaper your children, there are definitely some funky smells residing in the washer!!

    But seriously, I have tried using “green” detergents before & I always have to come back to Tide. I don’t know what they put in that stuff, but all it takes is 1 good wash in it & the funk is gone for good.

    As for the washer smelling, I 2nd the hot rinse with bleach. You might also try the product Bac-Out in a few washes. I put that in (the bleach tray) when I run diapers, once a week or so, just to keep the bacteria at bay.

    Good luck! Nothing like fresh towels after a hot shower 🙂

  31. I have never had this funky washer problem. I buy only white towels, so that they all ‘match’ even if they don’t, and I wash them with 1/2 C of bleach to keep them white.

    I guess I’ve been de-funking my washer without knowing it. How lovely to find that I’ve been doing at least one thing right.

    (it’s been a tough year)

  32. Catrina Says:

    I live in a very humid climate and my towels get the funk too. I use white vinegar in the fabric softener spot of my washer and I wash my towels on hot. But you do not have to use hot water. Also, it leaves absolutely no vinegar smell on the cloth! I use it on super stinky or sweaty shirts too!

  33. THANK YOU!!! I was always wondering what was wrong with our towels!? There is nothing worse than realized you just dried your newly scrubbed bod with a mildewy towel -EWWW.

    Walking out of the computer room, straight to the laundry room.

  34. M Says:

    We got the funk…we got the funk (been singing that song all day b/c of you!) But I have to admit, I went and threw the vinegar in and sent it through one cycle. Too bad there was a towel in the sink drain and it overflowed on my floor! Maybe I killed two birds with one stone! Ha. Thanks for the tip…..and for torturing me with the song!

  35. texasknights Says:

    Vinegar is my cleaning friend. I esp. like to use it to clean my coffee pot. Pooring some down the garbage disposal is not a bad idea either.

  36. Krista Says:

    We have eu de funky towel smell here too… although I just thought it was from my dear hubby just using the same towel for so long that it started to smell like him…
    But I just throw all the towels in together with a splash of bleach, wash them like normal and the smell seems to be gone.
    I use vinegar on my sons diapers for the smell and didn’t think to use it with the towels… the bleach works for awhile until the hubby doesn’t switch towels again… 🙂
    TMI? 🙂
    And I agree, leave the washer open. We live in the desert now, but living in rainy Oregon my mom had this problem.

  37. Ahahaha I’m guessing the vinegar is going to work for you going by all the comments 🙂

    I’ll have to keep it in mind if ever my towels are smelling a little on the funky side 🙂

    Rachel xxx

  38. This comment has been made many times, many ways, but I would be remiss in my dedication to bleach if I didn’t do a little Clorox witnessing… that’s totally what works for me. Bleach in the whites, every time man.

  39. Tara Says:

    I just read this recently on a blog… about running hot water/bleach or vinegar between towel loads, and underclothes loads.. and I started doing this and I have noticed a complete difference.. even the laundry room smells fresher lol Nothing worse then smelly clothes or towels.

  40. erin g Says:

    vinegar and oxyclean and bleach should all do the trick. It’s probably not your towels but your washer itself, not airing well. move clothes into the dryer the SECOND they are done and that should help as well.

  41. Kathy Says:

    OMG I have been having the same problem and I blamed my hubby because I thought he must be doing something wrong. I have to try your solution out and prepare to apologize my pant’s off to my hubby if it works!

  42. Pauline Says:

    With every load of laundry I add 1 tbsp of baking soda with my laundry soap. Then add my downy ball full of vinegar for the rinse cycle to reduce soap build-up). I’ve only experienced th “eau de funk” when I forget the soda & vinegar.
    This combo keeps my clothes soft and smelling fresh. (My husband doesn’t even noice the “icky vinegar smell” anymore 8)

  43. Liz Says:

    who needs comment #43 extolling the virtues of baking soda and vinegar? but seriously. Why all the expensive laundry detergents and fabric softeners when the good old stuff works? 🙂 Here’s to getting rid of the funk.

  44. Ummm…. a mildly OCD tip- I dry my face (and look at the towel!) BEFORE my body. If it’s a funky towel, I know. I have three small kids, and I don’t trust the towel is clean JUST because it was with the rest of the clean towels in the linen closet. I also encourage you to leave the lid of the washing machine up between uses. It’s not aesthetically pleasing, but it lets the air get in. Thanks for your funk confession…

  45. Toni Says:

    I had this problem with a couple of my towels about a year ago. I tried the vinegar, I tried baking soda, I tried vinegar and baking soda, I tried Oxy Clean, and I even found some stuff that I can no longer find that was supposedly meant to remove odors. I finally ended up throwing them away…

  46. monalisa Says:

    Just FYI, using bleach or vinegar regularly can dry out the gaskets (rubbery parts) on the inside of the washer, causing major repair issues down the road. Bleach is especially bad. For front loading washers, liquid detergents should not be used (even HE) because they create a build up of gunk over time, which makes laundry smell. I’ve been using an all-natural HE powder for a while now, using very little (only half the recommended amount for a regular load) and I’ve been getting clean, odor-free laundry ever since we made the switch (about 8 months ago).

  47. monalisa Says:

    Oh, also it’s recommended to keep the washer door open inbetween washes to let it air out. Not sure if that was posted yet, but I don’t have time to read all the comments… 🙂

  48. Our washer & dryer are outside in the garage. We live in TX. Needless to say, our towels tend to get the funk from sitting in the machie a bit before they go into the dryer. I am gonna try this! Muchas gracias.

    Stop on by & see my silly cell phone alternative:

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