Why Do My Clothes Smell Like Pee After Washing

Why Do My Clothes Smell Like Pee After Washing? 

When experiencing a persistent urine-like odor on your clothes post-wash, several factors might be at play. A dirty washing machine could harbor mold, mildew, or bacterial buildup, transferring these odors onto your laundry during the wash cycle. Additionally, detergent or fabric softener residue left in the machine or on clothes might contribute to the unpleasant smell.

Ensuring a clean washing machine by periodically running cleaning cycles using specialized washing machine cleaners or a vinegar and baking soda mixture can eliminate mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. It’s important to wipe down the washing machine’s seals, door, and drum regularly to prevent residue buildup.

Using the appropriate amount of detergent, based on water hardness and soil levels, is crucial. Insufficient detergent or using the wrong type may result in ineffective cleaning, leaving behind odors on clothes. 

How do Washing Machine Factors Cause Odor in Clean Clothes?

How do Washing Machine Factors Cause Odor in Clean Clothes
handsome asian househusband putting dirty clothes one by one into washing machine and doing laundry at home

Addressing these factors comprehensively involves regular washing machine maintenance, proper detergent usage, prompt removal of clothes after washing, adequate drying procedures, and ensuring a clean and well-ventilated laundry area.

Washing machine-related factors

Buildup of mold, mildew, or bacteria

Washing machines create a moist environment ideal for mold, mildew, and bacterial growth if not cleaned regularly. Accumulated moisture in the machine, especially in seals, gaskets, or detergent compartments, fosters the growth of these microorganisms.

Moreover, these microbes can transfer onto clothes during washing, causing unpleasant odors.

Detergent or fabric softener residue

Residues from detergents or fabric softeners may accumulate inside the washing machine or remain on clothes after washing. Insufficient rinsing or using excessive detergent can leave residue, leading to foul smells on laundered items.

Incomplete rinsing

Inadequate rinsing during the washing cycle might leave behind detergent, dirt, or other particles on clothes. Lingering residues contribute to the formation of unpleasant odors, especially when clothes dry.

Other contributing factors

Leaving clothes in the washer for too long

Allowing wet clothes to sit in the washing machine for extended periods after the cycle ends creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. This prolonged dampness leads to the development of musty odors on the clothes.

Insufficient detergent or improper usage

Using too little detergent or using the wrong type for specific soil levels or water hardness can result in inadequate cleaning. Improper detergent usage leads to ineffective removal of dirt and bacteria, causing lingering odors on clothes.

Inadequate drying of clothes

Storing clothes before they are completely dry allows moisture to remain, promoting mildew growth and a persistent musty smell. Drying clothes in poorly ventilated areas or folding them while damp can exacerbate this issue.

What are Effective Solutions for Eliminating Smelly Clothes?

What are Effective Solutions for Eliminating Smelly Clothes

Implementing these comprehensive solutions aids in eliminating the persistent pee-like odor from clothes after washing, promoting fresher and cleaner laundry.

Washing machine maintenance:

Regular cleaning of the washing machine

Performing routine maintenance involves running cleaning cycles using washing machine cleaners or a vinegar and baking soda mixture.

Cleaning should target areas prone to mold and mildew buildup, such as the detergent dispenser, drum, door seal, and other accessible parts of the machine.

Cleaning rubber seals, door, and drum

Wiping down rubber seals and door gaskets after each use prevents moisture accumulation and mold growth in these areas.

Regularly cleaning the drum helps eliminate any residue that might contribute to odors on clothes.

Proper detergent usage

Using the right amount of detergent

Following manufacturer instructions on detergent packaging ensures adequate cleaning without leaving residues on clothes. Overusing detergent can lead to buildup and odors, while using too little might result in ineffective cleaning.

Adjusting detergent for water hardness and soil level

Using detergents appropriate for your water hardness and adjusting detergent quantity based on the level of soil in the laundry helps in better cleaning and odor prevention.

Timely handling of clothes

Promptly removing clothes after washing

Avoiding leaving wet clothes in the washer for extended periods prevents the development of musty odors caused by mildew growth. Immediate removal of laundry also minimizes the chance of transferring odors from the machine to clothes.

Avoiding leaving wet clothes in the washer

If unable to immediately remove clothes, consider using the washer’s delayed start feature to finish the cycle closer to the time when the clothes can be promptly removed.

Additional measures

Consideration of extra rinse cycles

Adding an extra rinse cycle ensures thorough removal of detergent residues, reducing the likelihood of odors lingering on clothes.

Use of hot water occasionally for better cleaning

Hot water helps kill bacteria and dissolves detergent more effectively, providing a deeper clean and eliminating odors.

Ensuring complete drying before storage:

Properly drying clothes, whether through air-drying or machine drying, is crucial to prevent mildew growth and the development of musty smells. Adequate ventilation during drying helps ensure complete evaporation of moisture.


How do you get rid of human urine smell?

To eliminate human urine smell, blot the area with a mixture of water and vinegar, then wash with a detergent designed to target odors.

Why do my freshly washed clothes smell bad?

Freshly washed clothes might smell bad due to reasons like a dirty washing machine, detergent residue, or incomplete drying.

How do I get rid of a bad smell in my washing machine?

Eliminate bad smells from the washing machine by running a cleaning cycle using washing machine cleaners or a vinegar and baking soda mixture.

Is it OK to wear clothes that smell like mildew?

It’s best to avoid wearing clothes that smell like mildew as they can lead to skin irritation and spreading the smell.

Why are my clothes not smelling nice after the washing machine?

Clothes might not smell nice after washing due to issues like inadequate detergent, improper rinsing, or moisture left in the machine.

Why does my bum still smell after washing?

A lingering smell after washing could result from not thoroughly cleaning the area, residual sweat, or using an ineffective soap.

Final Words

In closing, to make our clothes smell nice after washing, we need to do a few easy things. First, we have to clean our washing machines regularly so they don’t get stinky. Second, using the right amount of soap and choosing the best one for our water and dirty clothes helps a lot. Also, taking out our clothes right after washing stops any bad smells from starting. Lastly, doing a little extra, like adding another rinse or using hot water sometimes, can make our laundry super clean. And don’t forget, always make sure our clothes are totally dry before putting them away! If we do these simple things, our clothes will smell great every time we wash them!