7 Reasons Why Clothes Not Smelling Fresh After Tumble Drying

You might think that a tumble dryer is a simple appliance, but you’d be surprised by how many things can go wrong with it. Having clothes not smelling fresh after tumble drying is a very common problem. It can be frustrating when you try your best to keep them clean and they still have a weird odor.

Why do my clothes smell after being tumble-dried? One of the main causes of laundry that smells after tumble drying is the machine itself. The tumble dryer could be dirty and full of lint and needs fixing or cleaning. Another cause might be the size of your load, putting too many clothes than what the machine can handle efficiently.

If your condenser tumble dryer making clothes smell bad, continue reading this post for reasons why clothes do not smell good, how to make tumble dryer smell nice, and how to freshen clothes in the dryer.

Reasons Why Clothes Not Smelling Fresh After Tumble Drying

Too much heat

The reason why clothing doesn’t smell fresh after drying is due to how quickly it’s heated up by the machine – leaving behind an unpleasant scent when it really should have been aired out first. In other words, what goes inside a machine may come out smelling awful.

Build up of lint

The lint filter in the dryer is responsible for keeping lint away from the clothes during the tumbling process. If there is build-up of lint, then it will affect the clothes negatively and cause them to emit a bad odor. Check if there is lint in your lint filter on regular basis. If it appears clogged, then clean it with soap and water and dry it before using the dryer again.

Dryer heat kills natural bacterial

The clothes do not smell fresh after tumble drying is because the heat from the dryer kills the natural bacteria that help to scent the clothes.

Loading too much clothes into the tumble dryer

The drying cycle relies on having enough space for the moisture to evaporate – if you overstuff the machine, there’s not enough room for this to happen. The result is damp clothes that smell of mildew, and are never going to get fully dry.

Using fabric softeners and dryer sheets

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can coat the fabric with a thin film that blocks airflow and traps odor-causing moisture.

Tumble dryer is faulty

Another common reason why clothes do not smell fresh after tumble drying is because the tumble dryer is faulty:

Temperatures Settings

Clothes not dried properly: The main reason for clothes smelling stale or damp after drying could be due to improper drying at low temperatures

How to Make Tumble Dryer Smell Nice

The things that go into your tumble dryer every day can make it smell bad. There are some simple steps you can take to make your tumble dryer smell nice again and run properly.

Clean underneath

First of all, you need to check that there is nothing underneath the dryer that has come loose and is causing a bad smell. If you have any shelves or baskets in the dryer, take them out and clean underneath.

Make sure that you also clear away any lint build-up from under the door. Once you have done this, check whether there are any holes where lint might be escaping into the ventilation ducting.

Clean your laundry room

Keeping your laundry room clean and tidy is a breeze if you know how to prevent the musty smell from accumulating in the first place.

Wipe down all surfaces

Take everything apart and wipe down all of the surfaces with warm water and soap. This includes the outside of the dryer, as well as all of its internal parts including the ducts, blower wheel, heating element, and drum. Use a long-handled brush with firm bristles to brush

Clean the filter

Remove your filter and give it a good wash with some detergent and 1 cup of vinegar (this will clean and deodorize it). Once it has been cleaned through, leave it to dry out by hanging up somewhere warm.

Make sure you clean out your lint filter after every use – If you don’t do this then all of the dirt and dust will build up inside over time and will eventually stop your machine from working properly.

Put clean and wet clothes in the dryer and make sure that you read the care labels on your clothes to find out the correct temperature and drying time.

Tumble dryer freshener

Fragrance is an important part of the washing experience, and scent can help give your laundry room a welcoming feeling. If you want to try out fresh scents when doing laundry, consider adding a few drops of oil or sprays of fragrance or drops of oil to the dryer. Just remember to use as little as possible so that your laundry doesn’t end up smelling like a perfume counter.

Use baking soda

Another way is to put a cup of baking soda in a sock and tie it up, then toss it in with your clothes. However, this will likely lead to a rather dusty smell in your dryer.

How to Freshen Clothes in the Dryer

Using fragrance

Spraying or dabbing a couple of drops of fragrance on a single paper towel sheet is a great way to scent your laundry. This will leave your clothing and towels with a lasting fresh scent, and it won’t leave any oily residue on your clothing that might attract lint.

Lavender dryer sheets

A great way to freshen your towels or clothes is to toss a couple of lavender dryer sheets in with your load that is currently drying. This will give them a nice scent and leave them feeling much softer than before.

Fabric softener

Another idea is to add a quarter cup of fabric softener ball in the dryer with the clothes. This absorbs moisture and helps get rid of odors, too.


If you want a natural way to freshen up your towels or clothes in a dryer, try adding vinegar. Just add one cup of white vinegar (diluted) to your dryer, and it will help freshen your towels or clothes and remove the odor from them. This works especially well on gym clothes or anything else that may have gotten a bit stinky.

Lemon and water

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of an old smell from a dryer, just put a pan with two cups of water and lemon slices in the dryer for 15 minutes.

Hang outside

After your clothes have finished drying, remove them from the dryer immediately. Hanging them outside to air out gives them a nicer smell than if you just leave them in the dryer with the warm air circulating.

Line dry if possible

This can really help with removing odors from clothing as it allows for maximum air flow.

Use dryer sheet

Place a dryer sheet in the dryer with your wet clothes. It’ll help reduce static and freshen up your clothes.

Here are some tips for keeping clothes fresher in the dryer

  • When washing, use less detergent and wash at a lower temperature. This will allow more of the natural bacteria to remain after rinsing. You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda or Borax to the wash.
  • Baking soda and Borax also work well in keeping clothes fresher when placed in a drawer and given time to absorb unpleasant odors.
  • When drying, remove clothes immediately from dryer and hang them on a drying rack or clothing line if possible. If you do use the dryer, then clean your lint filter after each use. This will help the dryer to work more efficiently.
  • I always hang our clothes in a small room in the basement which is vented up to a crawl space, so it’s well ventilated and has only been used for storage.

How to make clothes smell good in dryer without dryer sheets

  1. One way to make clothes smell good in the dryer without using dryer sheets is to use a fabric softener.
  2. Baking soda works its magic by absorbing moisture from your clothes and freeing them from any sweat-related residue. As well as making your laundry smell fresher, baking soda will
  3. Vinegar is a natural alternative to these items because it has antibacterial properties and it’s safe to use on fabrics.

How To Make Clothes Smell Good In Dryer Naturally

You will need a cup of vinegar, a cup of baking soda, two cups of water, and a dryer sheet. You can also add your favorite essential oils to the mixture if you want the smell of your clothes to be fruity or flowery.

How to keep clothes smelling fresh after drying

There are a few ways to keep your clothes smelling fresh after they have been dried.

  1. One way is to spray a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the f clothes.
  2. Another way is to hang your clothes outside to dry in the sun and fresh air.

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