Why Your Clean Clothes StinkCartoon Washing Machine with stinky clothes
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The Plumber’s Stinky Laundry Troubleshooting List

☹  Clothes were in the washer for too long.
☻  A quick rinse with vinegar should help.

☹  The load contained sweaty workout gear.
☻  …which spread its odor to items it touched.  Wash separately and use a “sport” detergent.

☹  Polyester blends tend to hang on to odors.
☻  Wash them as soon as possible after wearing them.

☹  Hard water adds mineral deposits that trap bacteria.
☻  Add vinegar to the rinse cycle.

☹  Film from dryer sheets can add a film that traps odors.
☻  Clean your dryer regularly.

Bonus tips:

Use hotter water. Add Borax. Hang laundry in the sunshine. Make sure you’re using the right amount of detergent (more isn’t always better).

Get to know your water.

White crust around your kitchen faucet? Disappointing shower spray? Dingy whites? You might might need either a water softener, or salt for the one you own. Lots of signs point to hard water, but not all of them are obvious until it’s too late to prevent damage to your water-using appliances.

We’ve compiled a list of things to look for if you’re curious whether or not you have water that’s hard enough for you to invest in a water softener or salt for your water softener. First, we’ll cover visuals, then we’ll talk about more subtle effects of hard water, and then we’ll explain how to find out for sure.

More Signs You Might Need a Water Softener

You see (and smell) evidence.

  • White and/or rust-colored buildup around faucets and in your toilets.
  • Scummy residue on tubs and showers might be an indication of hard water, especially if it’s hard to scrub away using soap scum remover.
  • Water spots on glassware
  • Dingy whites in the laundry
  • Your clean clothes stink.

Your hair and skin feel off.

  • You go through a lot of shampoo and laundry soap.
  • The water tastes bad.
  • Your hair seems more coarse.
  • Your skin is dry and itchy.

Your appliances are not working right.

  • Your toilet is slow to flush..
  • Your sink is slow to drain.
  • You notice that the shower doesn’t have as much water pressure.

Still not sure?

It’s time to test your water’s hardness.

To decide if you need a home water softener, learn about the hardness of your home’s water. You can measure the hardness of your water using a test kit, an independent lab, or by calling your local plumber to run tests for you. If you get your water from a community water system, you can contact them directly for information about your water’s hardness.

If your water’s hardness is greater than 7 grains per gallon or 120 mg/L, then you might need a water softener to ensure your appliances run well and to improve the taste, smell, or look of your water.

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