Yes, here is another laundry tip.  I am beginning to feel like I do little else but laundry.  I mean, I felt that way with just one baby, and now with two, I am beginning to wonder if I will ever be caught up on laundry again.  I keep hearing echoes of a radio commercial from a few years back in my head:

Announcer: “What are you doing this Friday night?:
Girl 1: “Movie!”
Girl 2: “Pizza!”
Girl 3: “Laundry?”

(Anyone remember that commercial? What was it for, anyway?)  Is there any question which Girl I am?

Annnnnnyway…. I have been having the dreaded stinky washer problem.  And I have the old fashioned top- loading kind (the front loaders are the ones you usually hear about having stinky-type problems).  I know there are products you can buy to run through your washer that are supposed to remove the smell, but I didn’t want to spend $15- $20 on one little bottle (that’s more than I spend on several month’s worth of laundry detergent!).  I occasionally run a load through with bleach, and that sometimes helps, but it seems like the mildewy smell is getting stronger.

Enter my friend Google.  Just moments after submitting my query “how to clean a stinky washer” I am soaking in page after page of (mostly) useful advice.  It seems there are a few main suggestions that come up again and again.  None of these require purchasing fancy products- you more than likely have everything you need on hand already.  I will share:

1. Try to remove clothes from washer as soon as they are done washing.  This is rather elementary, but how many times have we all left a load in the washer all weekend long and come back (to our horror) to a reeking laundry room?  Try setting a timer or a cell phone alarm if remembering to switch the laundry is an issue for you.
2. Clean the lint trap.  Ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know there was a lint trap in washers.  But there is.  Look in your user’s manual or do a Google search to find out where it is and how to clean it.
3. Run an occasional load on the hottest setting.  Hot water helps kill germs and keep odors to a minimum.
4. Add bleach to a load of whites about once a week.  Bleach also kills bacteria which can stink your laundry up.  Non- chlorine bleach may not help with this though.  If you are worried about chlorine bleach doing damage to your clothing, run a wash cycle with water only.
5. Wash your load with vinegar and baking soda.  From what I read, 2 cups of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda should do the trick.  If that doesn’t work, try running it again but without any towels or clothing in the washer- just hot water
6. Flip the lid up to let the inside air dry between washes.  This prevents mildew and mold from having a damp place to grow.  (Use caution if you have a front loader and children or pets around- I probably would not do this as it could be a safety concern.)
7.  Cut back on the amount of detergent and/or fabric softener you are using.  Using too much can contribute to the stinky smell.  In most situations you can probably use less than the suggested amount on the measuring cup that comes with the detergent (remember, the detergent companies want you to use more so you have to buy again soon).
8. Use powdered detergent instead of liquid.  This is especially true for front loading washers.  The powdered detergent is somewhat more abrasive.  Also, it may not build up in the washer the way liquid detergent can. (Also note: if you have a high efficiency washer, not using HE detergent will cause stinky buildup.)

You may need to try a combination of these things and repeat more than once for the smell to go completely away.  I have noticed a reduction in the musty smell as I have done many of these things today, and I am going to try a few more things tonight.  Maybe in between movies and pizza.