Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kitchen Tip: No More Stinky Dish Cloths!

I have tried everything for these dish cloths – and they remain stinky. 

Over at Tammy’s Recipes, some commenters mentioned they boiled the dish cloths.   

This time, I decided to do a little experiment. 

  • Boil some. 
  • Do nothing to the others. 
  • See how long the difference lasts.

If your dish cloths are stinky, simply bring a pot of water to a boil. 

Add the dish cloths and boil them for 10-15 minutes at a medium boil rate. 

Use extreme caution, because the cloths can cause splashing of the hot water as it boils. 

Strain the cloths and then toss them in the washing machine as you normally would. 

I’m going on three washes now without the smell coming back… and that’s lasted longer than any other mechanism I’ve tried.  I’m ready to do the other half of my dish cloths!!

What do you do to get rid of the smell? 

30 comments:

  1. Here's a trick we learned from Pinterest for stinky towels: Wash in hot water with 2 cups of white vinegar and no detergent or fabric softener. Then wash again in hot water with detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda, again no fabric softener. Dry completely. They come out smelling fantastic EVERY time. I started using this with our bath towels too and they come out much fluffier and softer this way.

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    1. Can you do this in a front loader???

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    2. I don't know for sure, but I don't see why not. You're just substituting vinegar and baking soda for the detergent.

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    3. Great tip! Do you use powder or liquid detergent?

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  2. I am going to trying this straight away. I can't stand smell on dishclothes, sometimes, it comes back within a day or two.

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  3. When I wash towels, I use vinegar instead of fabric softener. It helps keep them soft and they don't smell nearly as much.

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  4. Whoa! I wouldn't have thought to do that. Do you think it kills bacteria that the washing machine wasn't able to get rid of? I'm tempted to do that with all my dishcloths now!

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    1. Seems like it should -- the boiling water will kill any bacteria that are heat sensitive to 100 + degrees C!

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  5. Thankfully mine don't smell. The old terry cloth rags I used to use would smell a little soured, but washing took care of that. But I've knit all the ones I use now and they don't even get the soured smell. However, I do have trouble with other things smelling. Usually a couple of runs through the washer with homemade detergent takes care of that. I use the dry one, and it smells wonderfully clean and my cloths do too.

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  6. Mine stink before they've been washed (I still can't figure out how a dish rag can stink after only being used a few times within the span of 2 days, but ours do!). We buy the Clorox brand of dish rags and dish towels and they do really well in the washer and dryer. You pre-treat them before their first use, and then after that they wash up really nicely with no smell.

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  7. My towels all used to smell musty, but it was because I was using liquid detergent. Now, I use powder and they no longer smell. I guess the liquid is just too concentrated or something??? I am not sure why, but the powder trick works. I told my mom and her friends this, and now they swear by it too.

    Lee Ann

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    1. Hadn't heard that! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. That's genius! I haven't had this problem, but the catering place I work for has stinky towels as well as where I nanny. I feel bad but I have to use paper towels after washing my hands instead of the towel set out for that purpose. And I used a lot of paper towels when the twins I babysat for were sick (lots of hand washing!).

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    1. yes, we try to avoid paper towels at all costs -- and so far, this has been the most favored solution.

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  9. I just switch mine out each day. That helps a lot. And be sure they hang at the sink so they can air dry. And I often add vinegar to the wash. But the boiling sounds like a good idea ....

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    1. We switch ours every day or two... and hang them up, but this boiling thing took my old smelling ones back to "new" status - maybe I can keep them that way longer by being more diligent about switching them out each day.

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  10. Microwave them for about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes after rinsing and wringing them out. Be careful not to microwave them longer than it takes to make them barely dry. They can burn. Mine haven't smelled bad for years!

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    1. I have tried this too! Yes, you do have to be careful they aren't in there too long ;)

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    2. So....I did the microwave routine...and did the boiling routine. The microwave is much easier and less smell to deal with. I am sold! :) Where have u been all my life...lol Thanks for the awesome tips everyone!

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  11. Definitely going to try this. Hate that dishcloth smell and don't like to do all my washing in hot water just for a few dish clothes. Great tip!

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  12. All my towels use to smell but once I switched from commercial liquid detergent to soap nuts with a vinegar rinse they no longer smell. I learned that the liquid detergent was leaving a buildup on the towels. By boiling them you are also stripping off that buildup.

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  13. I would imagine that, just like for cloth diapers, detergent makes a difference. We used a powdered detergent that lacked enzymes on the diapers, so that's one suggestion. The other is that you really should switch out your sponge, washcloth, whatever, on a daily basis. They gather so many germs in a 24 hour period that it's safest to switch 'em out.

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  14. Makes total sense! Ive actually done this with cloth diapers when my kids were in them to remove buildup and lingering smell. Im sure it does kill bacteria the washer cant and also removes the buildup that can be left on any fabric.

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  15. I set mine outside to dry before I wash them. The sunshine helps them to dry quickly. I also use vinegar in my wash - about a cup but I dont measure. And- the hot water in washers usually doesn't get hot enough to kill germs if your water heater is set correctly (so your kids don't burn themselves) so DON'T use hot water to wash them. The vinegar will kill the germs. AND my washer repair guy told me a long time ago to only use 1/3 of what the detergent instructions say to use (if using liquid only go to the 1 mark, even for big loads). BHG did a test on detergents a while back and found powder cleaned better than liquid (tide beat them all) and that arm & hammer packets did sooo darn close that it came in second. Anyway - just a few laundry tips.

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  16. LOVE this idea. Just did it yesterday....you didn't mention how ranky the water would be after boiling off the cloths--which of course were "clean" from the last washing. ;)

    Previously, I had just taken to letting the cloths sit in a bleach solution for several days--colored ones and all and accepting the consequences. That did the trick as well--but the stench always seemed to come back. At least now I know how to clean them and not have funky looking, bleach stained cloths. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  17. We tried the Lunatec odor free dishcloths from Amazon and they work great. The reviews say they don't get smelly because they dry out before bacteria grows. This is all we use now for cleaning.

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  18. Can you boil dishcloths that are not 100% cotton? I like the Lehman's dishcloths and they don't get as stinky as others do, but I'd still like to try this.

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  19. Tried it and I have to say I was absolutely shocked at the colour of the water after! I use a fresh dishcloth each day and then it gets put in the laundry. I do laundry every other day so they don't sit around a long time. I was going to throw a towel into the same water afterwards to see how fresh smelling a towel would get. BUT - the water was so murky looking (almost like I was making a broth) that I threw it out and filled my pot up with fresh water (with a little vinegar thrown in). Yikes!!

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  20. Another comment - the cloths I was washing were from my linen drawer - they were clean (apparently, not)!

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  21. Michelle McCallisterJanuary 29, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    I've tried the microwave route too! Seems to work well. The other thing I've been doing is using Freshana Organic Solutions. Totally kills the smell and headaches and allergies have subsided using it too.

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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