Works For Me: Backwards Edition

It’s Backwards Day over at Works-For-Me Wednesday, in which bloggers pose a question and invite readers to respond.  It’s perfect timing, because I have a quandary.  A laundry quandary.


You know sometimes you’ll see advertisements for laundry detergent, and they’ll boast that they’re “free of heavy perfumes”?

I would like to know, when did heavy perfumes become a bad thing?  I know, some people are allergic, but a lot of us aren’t.  Furthermore, a lot of us have pre-adolescent sons, which means there is no amount of “heavy perfume” that could be too much, if you know what I’m sayin’.

I love for my laundry to have a strong, clean smell.  I love for it to be so strong that you smell it when you walk in the laundry room.   I love for people to walk past my kids and take a big whiff and say, “Ooo, what’s that smell?” and have them not mean it in a bad way.

I have experimented with nearly every product out there, and I can’t quite find the solution that works best.  Best I can tell, it’s not so much the detergent that leaves the nice scent, it’s the fabric softener, and for best results, it’s a good idea to use liquid softener and dryer sheets.  Has that been your experience?  And if so, what brand?  So far, I’ve found Snuggle to have the strongest scent, but it’s not my favorite scent.  What do you think?  Basically, do you have any tips on how I can get my laundry to smell so obnoxiously clean that you can smell it from across the street?

Thank you.

For more good tips, check out Works-For-Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.

125 thoughts on “Works For Me: Backwards Edition

  1. Amber says:

    I’m fairly frugal… but I do buy the real brand of Downy in the Clean Breeze scent. It has the type of smell that makes me take a whiff from the bottle before pouring it into the machine. 🙂 And I agree with you that it’s the fabric softener that makes it smell good because I just use cheap Purex. Also, I’ve found that not drying the clothes on super high heat helps to keep the fragrance fresher.

  2. Sarah @ Short Stop says:

    Liquid softener definitely is the way to go. I never thought my laundry smelled good – like really good – until I started using it.
    Snuggle Creme Almond is heavenly. I had a coupon, was skeptical based on its name, but tried it anyway and will never use anything else.

  3. Olive says:

    Woah. I don’t have kids and thus can’t speak to the issue of pre-adolescent boys (though I do have an un-married 26 year old brother- yikes), but seriously? Take a real look at softener.
    I haven’t used softener for a couple years now because there are animal fats in liquid and sheet softener. YUCK. That’s what gives it that greasy feel. Ew. I would wager that not using it and switching to a dye free (and if you’re feeling crazy- a more “natural” laundry detergetn[it’s worth it- trust me]) would actually help the clothes breathe more and make in a roundabout way help your boys.
    All of that crap on your clothes isn’t good for them. And, in fact, it can ruin them and seriously hinders the absorbtion of your towels. It’s kinda like eating margarine (now I hope you don’t eat margarine). Why eat something that’s basically plastic and is terrible for you; why put crap on your clothes that isn’t natural and is terrible for them?
    And, if you’re concerned with your clothes having static- that actually comes from drying too long. Cut back on the dry time and your clothes will be static free.
    I know this is FAR from what you were looking for, but de-softener-izing people (at least attempting to) is a big thing for me. The stuff is just plain gross- for people’s bodies to absorb and for the clothes themselves.

  4. heather says:

    our secret for fresh smelling clothes that last all day is downy liquid-i use the regular version of it with the downy ball.
    but like already mentioned, the bigger secret is that i notice the scent is stronger and longer lasting on items that i air dry by hanging or laying flat. things that are dried in the drier do smell good, but it seems that the drier takes away quite a bit of the downy scent.
    (we also use liquid tide and bounce).

  5. Joelle says:

    I love dryer sheets that smell good, too! I use Bounce Fresh Linen. It smells like fresh laundry. I’ll have to see what people say… always up for something new and nice smelling!

  6. Meredith says:

    I love Mrs. Meyers products, especially the lavender scent, but then again I’m just doing laundry for 2 people, so the price point is somewhat more palatable.

  7. Janna says:

    I love for my laundry to smell good, too, but I don’t use fabric softener. I use Purex Natural Elements (or something like that). I am particularly fond of the apples & melon scent.

  8. Condo Blues says:

    In college I bought Bounce dryer sheets because they made my laundry smell like my boyfriend’s back home (yes, I’m such a dork but we were in LOVE – says the girl married to a much better guy.) I found that it was the dryer sheet that gave my laundry a scent, not so much the detergent.
    In the past I used either liquid fabric softner or a dryer sheet because they do the same thing cut down on static. Now I use tennis balls in my dryer instead.

  9. Jenn says:

    My aunt’s laundry always smelled so good…her whole house smelled that way! She uses Snuggle with the blue cap (I can’t remember the scent). It smells so so good. My son is only 1 1/2, but my husband can still get pretty stinky! 🙂 I also find that med. heat and drying on the line ’til they’re just barely damp and then throwing them in the dryer for about 15 min. keeps the scent stronger and last longer. Plus that saves me a lot of money (we have 4 ‘adopted’ college students that I do laundry for!) I have Downy now (couldn’t find my Snuggle) and even though it says “continuous release pearls” it really doesn’t.
    Good luck! 🙂

  10. Amy says:

    I’ve heard that a couple drops of essential oil on a cloth is better for your clothes than dryer sheets, but I’ve never tried it personally.
    Good luck!

  11. Kara says:

    I’m with you, I love clean smelling clothes-and sheets. Downy April Fresh is my favorite. For the scent to really last, I’ve found that you have to use more than they recommend. But it is sooo worth it to me. 🙂

  12. Tasha says:

    I’m one of those that’s allergic so I’m forced to find alternatives.
    My secret is Baking Soda and Vinegar. Get’s everything out and there is nothing behind to smell. Sometimes the dryer sheets and fabric softener are adding to the problem. They help fabrics hold on to bacteria, aka smells.

  13. Tonya says:

    I only use Purex and normally only the plain kind–with the bright orange top. It’s hard to find and I always complain because I want the plain kind (with the orange top!!), not the fruity, flowery, ocean breezy scents. And of course when I went to Tarjay, to get my Purex (with the orange top!) they didn’t have any. And since my lazy butt didn’t feel like stopping at Walmart I decided to venture out of my comfort zone (of the Purex with the orange top) and bought the Purex Mountain Breeze scent without the orange top. It smelled wonderful and may just now be my fav. I may now have a new favorite Purex bottle top color.

  14. Crista says:

    Well, I appreciate having the option of scent free soaps. I buy All Free & Clear, and started doing so when my oldest was a baby, and was having trouble with rashes from different detergents. Once we got away from the cleaners with scents, I started to become really sensitive to all the smells from people’s detergents (particularly from dryer sheets) to the point that the scent almost makes me nauseous. I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth for those of us who don’t care for scents in detergents.

  15. Tammy says:

    I have switched to All as I loved how my daughters laundry would smell. That combined with Downy Mountain Spring (it’s the only one I’ve found that really works), and gain dryer sheets. Can’t remember the scent of the gain, as hubby just bought a different one. For the first time, the clothes that had B.O. “stuck” in the clothes is gone! I love the smell. The laundry room (which holds the cat box in it) smells great! It smells good outside, and best of all, I love walking around smelling the freshness ALL DAY LONG! Good luck. Oh, and I only use the liquids now, as I don’t seem to get the same results with the powders.

  16. Raquel says:

    ok i read often but never comment until today! i love good smelling clothes too, i have 4 kids (and one on the way) and sometimes they stink not to mention it get 110+ degrees here int he summer and my hubby works outside nuff said? anyways i always get compliments on how great my clothes smell this is my secret
    1.gain powder detergent (regular scent)i use a full scoop on every load
    2. i also use gain liquid fabric softener (regular scent) added in
    3. and finish it off with… you guessed it gain fabric sheets (regualr scent). sometimes if it is a big load i use 2 fabric sheets.
    i am sure my neghibors hate that they can smell my “exhaust” from the dryer as they walk in the mornings but oh well. i love it! i have tried everything as far as laundry and this is seriously the best.

  17. harper says:

    I make my own detergent in part to avoid the scents–I find they go along with a texture I don’t like–so I have no help for you from experience. However, what if you added some essential oil in a scent you like to your laundry? Most herbal scents (especially eucalyptus and lavendar) will also ward off bacteria and insects.

  18. elizabethk says:

    We’re living in Europe, with a wonderful (German) front loader, and NO dryer…and I have recently been moaning about the urine smell when I take clothing out to dry. Both boys blame the other – ha ha! But, no – it is the ammonia in the detergent. I now always use scrapings (using an old peeler) from a good bar of home made soap (from a friend) in each load, and always put vinegar in the rinse. I have to dry indoors – and that makes a huge difference, I think in clothes being crunky 😉 (but I do shake everything out well) – and no nice outdoor smell…I do miss dryer sheets.
    I am not going to get on a soapbox over using softener – I personally don’t like it, and do think it makes towels less absorbent.

  19. Jolanthe says:

    I have a friend who has such a distinct laundry smell (I love it!). I would open up tubs of kid’s clothes she would give me and the scent would still linger. To get it, I had to suck up my cheap/frugal laundry habits and now I’m using Tide (liquid from Costco) and Downy liquid too.
    The scent stays and it’s not too overpowering!

  20. chocolatechic says:

    I use Bounty liquid.
    Clean Breeze scent. For me it is the strongest.
    Something that might help your poor boy’s clothing of stench are 2 things.
    1. Borateem
    2. A vinegar rinse, then a fabric softener rinse.
    The vinegar doesn’t leave a scent, but does help get rid of the nasty’s.

  21. Sharon says:

    Such perfect timing with this post! I’ve been making our laundry detergent for the past year and just this past week, hubby has put his foot down and INSISTING we get good smelling laundry again! He hates that it doesn’t smell, well, like fresh laundry! I do like the frugal-ness of homemade, but also miss the sweet smell too! Luckily, we have no allergies to speak of and switching isn’t really that kind of issue. I’m testing out options for both economics and the smell-factor. So far, I’m working with homemade laundry soap and some different fabric softeners. It’s working OK for this week….oh and yes! Vinegar is the BOMB when it comes to eliminating smells….until you want them back in there I guess…!

  22. Everything Moms says:

    ok this is going to sound a little weird but its the truth…. use baby detergent along with fabric softner.
    I started to notice by accident that everytime I would hug the babies their clothes would smell great! (I use All Baby because its cheaper then Dreft)Its a much more powerful smell then what they make for us big people!A friend (who has kidlets with allergies and can only use smelly free stuff) even commented that she loves to smell my kids.
    I think that’s a good thing…..

  23. Lisa F says:

    I use Gain–I admired the scent on a friend’s clotes. Now my friends comment on how good my kids clothes smell but I can’t smell it anymore…since others think our clothes smell good I press on!

  24. Lisa says:

    Have you tried LaundryTree SoapNuts?
    Yes, they sound weird, but they’re guaranteed to really work! Your clothes will get seriously clean, and (here’s the part you’re gonna like, Shannon) you can customize the amount of scent with essential oils.
    A little smell – a lot of smell – no smell — totally your choice. Plus, you can use lavender for the sheets (because it’s relaxing), energy for the towels (because it’s invigorating), and a strong scent (like Clean Cotton) for the stinky munchkin clothes.
    I really think this is exactly what you’re looking for!

  25. Bonnie says:

    Because of some serious skin issues with myself and my children I cannot use the perfumed infused soaps of any kind, hand soap, laundry etc.
    So I buy scent free Seventh Generation laundry detergent and add a little tea tree oil or buy the Seventh Generation soap infused with essential want a scent to stay..essential oils are the way to go.

  26. Aunt Murry says:

    I always liked Tide but alas I am allergic to it. I find that ERA – the plain one w/o the bleach, Liquid Fabric softner (I like DOwny the best but have used others) and Bounce Dryer sheets that have the scent releasers is the best way!

  27. Reese says:

    Sorry, but I have to put in another chirp for more natural alternatives.
    My husband is REALLY scent sensitive, his eyes water, his nose runs and he has been known to get migraine headaches from extended (read 20 minutes) exposure to strong scents.
    He commutes 1.5 hours to work each way 3x a week by bus. He has been known to change seats because those who sit next to him are too strongly scented (perfume, aftershave OR laundry detergent).
    I just can’t believe that stuff can be good for human consumption.
    Try the baking soda and vinegar and let us know if that kills the teenage “perfume”. I have a few years, but I know the smell is coming and I’m going to have to find a natural alternative.

  28. angie a says:

    I use the Snuggle Blue Sparkle fabric softener and dryer sheets. They are my new favorite and I get comments on the smell from people all the time. I’m also kind of partial to Gain Original Scent.

  29. Carrie says:

    We have sensitive skin and lots of allergies around here, so I use the All Free and Clear detergent for washing. However, I am also a fan of soft, good-smelling laundry, so I use Gain Apple Mango Tango softener. It smells WONDERFUL and it doesn’t leave the towels so soft that they don’t absorb water (I had that trouble with Downy). My mom uses it diluted 50% and has good luck with that too, though she has a HE washer. Gain also makes Apple Mango Tango detergent–I just haven’t tried it. The lavender is good too–just not as yummy-smelling as the apple. Plus, “Apple Mango Tango” is fun to say. Good luck!

  30. Becky says:

    i feel the same way! i want my laundry to smell clean. i have found that for detergent, Gain leaves the longest lasting scent. and for dryer sheets, i have found that gain or bounce last the longest. i think i have gotten the best from doubling up using gain detergent and then the dryer sheets.

  31. Susie says:

    I haven’t read the other responses, but thought I’d pitch in my .02 anyway…
    Avon bubblebath actually makes a pretty decent laundry detergent and leaves whatever your favorite bubble-bath-smell happens to be. I used to wash my bedsheets in the lilac scented kind, and at christmas time I switched for a while to peppermint.

  32. pam @ without fear says:

    I love the “laundry quandary”! I don’t know what your favorite scent is for your laundry, but I have found great success with just about any of the lavendar and vanilla scented liquid fabric softeners teamed with the same scented dryer sheet. I’ve tried both name brand and the Great Value brand from Walmart. I prefer the latter for the significant savings, but if you need a name brand for the greater scent . . . I think Snuggle makes one in that scent family. It works for me! Hope that helps. : )

  33. Lisa says:

    Another nay-sayer here. I know it’s a matter of preference, but to me the perfumed laundry doesn’t smell clean…it smells like perfume. If you want natural, hang it out to dry. Now that’s a natural clean smell. I, like several others here, get nauseated sitting next to someone with a lot of perfume smell. Just offering another opinion. Lisa~ 🙂

  34. Simply Dawn says:

    I am a mom of seven, two of which are adolescent boys and then there is my hubby who is a carpenter. The best way I have found to get rid of stuck in smell (you know the kind of smell that know matter how you wash it seems to stay) is the following:
    -make sure your water softener is functioning properly if you have one
    -soak the articles on the soak mode of your machine with about 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide
    -rinse again
    -proceed with your normal washing
    I use Melalueca products and love the scent of the fabric softener…however my friend uses Mrs.Meyers products and the lavender fabric sheet scent is TO DIE FOR!
    I think that one persons sense of a yummy scent and another are widely different, but for some people the scents in thier lives affect thier well being. Find something you enjoy and use it liberally! Good luck and Lovies!

  35. Amy says:

    I like to use essential oils… lavender to be exact. I put a few drops of oil on an old cloth and toss it in the dryer with a load of wet clothes. My clothes are left with a nice fresh scent.

  36. Kori says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Tide with Febreeze… the one with the purple flowers. I don’t use fabric softner right now but by golly my stuff smells GREAT with the detergent. The only problem is that it just comes in the small container for front loaders… which makes me sad because it is so expensive. I splurg every now and then though.

  37. Jeni says:

    My favorite scented stuff is April Fresh Downy. You can get it in liquid and in sheets, and Tide even has a version with that same scent. I LOVE the smell…but my Hubs has allergies that really flare up when I use it, so I don’t use it regularly. Someday I may just start washing his stuff separately so I can have my CLEAN-smelling clothes again!

  38. Rachel says:

    I used to love the smell of Downey April Fresh, so I get where you’re coming from. Then I did a lot of research on hormone imbalance, and it’s hard to forget what I learned…. The most alarming thing was that dryer sheets are the most toxic thing you can find in your house. Scury. So I quit all artificially scented anything cold turkey, and now I have to RUN past the laundry aisle. Sad, but true.

  39. Lora Lynn says:

    As a woman who is crazy sensitive to smells, but also the mommy to boys, I have given this some experimentation. My favorite soap: Charlie’s laundry powder.
    No perfumey smell, but everything is clean and fresh. Even the boy stuff. I promise. And it’s pretty economical.

  40. Kara says:

    I just discovered All Small ‘n Mighty – it has a really clean scent that lasts. I’ve also found that the scent is strongest on the clothes that I partially dry in the dryer and then line dry.

  41. Jenny says:

    I too have admired people who walk by and smell like fresh clean laundry.
    I like Gain Regular Scent detergent and fabric softener. I also like Downy Mountain Spring fabric softener. But just like your shampoo and rinse it’s good to switch once in awhile because you get used to the scent and the scent doesn’t seem to be as pronounced as at first, so if you had two that you liked you could rotate back and forth between them every once in a while.
    Also, there is nothing like the scent of clothes dried outside, but I don’t like wrinkles and I still like the smell of fabric softener, so when the weather is good and I am home in the daytime, I wash the clothes and rinse using fabric softener, then dry them in the dryer for 5 – 10 minutes and then hang them out. Sheets and blankets dried outside are very conducive to sleep.
    Also, the Oxy Clean powder works well to remove smells but you have to be cautious about it also damaging the color of certain items.
    I have also quit using fabric softener on my towels, I miss the fluffy softness and smell but they are so much more absorbant I am willing to make the trade off.

  42. lynn says:

    I love the Lavendar Mrs Meyer’s laundry detergent. I think the scent last longest if I take the clothes out of the dryer slightly damp and let them air dry the rest of the way – make the whole room smell good.

  43. Michele Harvey says:

    I am a daily reader but haven’t posted before. I am de-lurking to ask if anyone else has found that laundry detergents with essential oils leave a residue on clothes and make towels completely non-absorbent? I have tried some of the natural detergents with lovely scents, but I can’t stand how they leave my laundry feeling.

  44. Melanie says:

    Tide has a product with Febreze and there are dryer sheets with Febreze. Those are my favs. There is supposed to be a new softener with special scent refreshers.. can’t think of it now! It may be Downy.

  45. Laura says:

    This post makes me smile. I think they made the “free of strong perfumes” just for me. 🙂 I can hardly stand to walk down the laundry product aisle.
    I’m the one who is usually looking for the dryer sheets with the least smell. 🙂
    I’ve heard very good things about the scent of Gain.

  46. Mary Jo Smith says:

    I love Gain detergent and Gain dryer sheets – the original scent. YUM! My laundry room smells so good…which is a feat considering the bulk of clothes I wash are my husbands and my 16-month old son. 🙂

  47. Meghan says:

    God, I’ve stayed at a friend’s house who really loves the smell of strong perfume-y laundry and I spent the entire night trying not to throw up.
    I hate over powering fake smells. I usually use All Free & Clear. That said, I did a load of baby laundry the other day. Some of the wash clothes in the laundry were wet for a couple days and all of the laundry STINKS–even after washing. I’m about to wash again with Dreft.
    I will second others who say that softener ruins your clothes. While I agree that some laundry REQUIRES a stronger scent, don’t our kids ingest enough chemicals already without adding three different chemical products to our laundry?

  48. Amy says:

    My sister recently commented that some baby clothes I’d washed and sent to her made her whole room smell good. 🙂
    I use Gain detergent and Gain fabric softener, both original scent. I also use a scoop of OxyClean in any load that might need a little extra cleaning power- it really takes care of odors. I am very frugal on most things, but detergent is one thing I don’t mind paying more for.

  49. Megret says:

    I am dedicated to the combination of Gain Original Fresh detergent and Downy April Fresh fabric softener — they compliment each other so well!

  50. Heather says:

    I recently discovered the new Snuggle Creme. There are two scents, and you might find you like one of them. I have 4 bottles in my laundry room right now, and it smells great every time you walk past the door!

  51. Kookaburra says:

    That “clean” fragrant smell is actually made up of possible toxins. Many frangrances in laundry products and air fresheners are made of toxic or hazardous chemicals… not something I want to be wearing and breathing in all day. So we only use the frangrance and dye free laundry products.
    Also, those chemicals are synthetic and therefore don’t break down in the water system… harming not only our water, but the sea and plant life in the water.

  52. Daiquiri says:

    I stick with my good old stuff: original Tide, Downy liquid softener, and Bounce dryer sheets. I also throw in a scoop of the Oxy Clean powder to each load.
    Honestly, I’ve been using them for so long, I don’t really smell them anymore. I’m reassured though…every now and then someone will stop by my house as I’m folding laundry, and I get that “what’s that smell?” (in a good way) reaction from them 🙂

  53. Leanne from Canada says:

    Well I am not one to typically jump on the “au natural” bandwagon, I have recently completely changed the way I clean house and do laundry. I discovered a company called “Norwex” (check out their website), started in Norway and has been in Canada 10 years (not sure how long in the U.S.). I am sold on it. I confess that my inital reasons were economical (good reasons at the time), but their product is backed by much research as well. Their main anti-bac microfiber cloth is embedded with silver making it antibacterial. Translation: I no longer buy ANY cleaning products. I have different cloths for different areas (ie. the toilet gets its own cloth/kitchen/all other bathroom areas). This cloth does everything….amazing on windows/mirrors/car etc. My kitchen cloth never smells…even after wiping up milk. The silver kills the bacteria and you rinse it out with soapy water, hang it to dry overnight and it’s good to go. I have yet to launder it after 3 weeks of use. But I digress….back to the laundry. I have been using their laundry detergent, and because I have a front load machine, am able to use only 1/2 tsp. (you heard me correctly) per load. The bag will get me 800 loads at this rate which will serve my pocket book well with the 15-20 loads that I have to do each week. If you’re stuck on the scent-thing….they have an odor eliminator that you can add to your load…I’m sure that there are other “natural” based products that will do the same thing. The thing is, that fabric softeners/sheets are full of carcinogens and not necessary for “softening” if you use a good detergent like theirs. So if it’s the scent you desire…go natural and save your family from all the chemicals. Check out the Norwex website…I can give you a name of a dealer if you’re interested.

  54. lomagirl says:

    Hang the clothes out to dry in summer sunshine. (Of course, this means you can’t do any laundry all winter). However, the smell will be sunshine and happiness.

  55. Richael says:

    Just thought I’d also give my two cents…Gain has the best scent around, but I found that it faded our clothes. I’d skip it for the dark load. Also, after potty training 2 kids, vinegar is the bomb to get smells ‘out’. It won’t ‘give’ a great smell, but will get rid of a bad one, especially ‘potty training’ smells.

  56. charlotte says:

    I second the essential oil idea. I’ve seen online somewhere that you can drop a few drops on a wet washcloth and throw it in the dryer. No harmful chemicals and lavendar happens to have anti-bacteria properties!

  57. holly says:

    I’m liking the Snuggle Almond Creme these days.
    For getting the stinky out, have you tried adding baking soda? When my husband was a competitive cyclist, I used it all the time with his bike gear.

  58. says:

    When I was a little girl, I used to LOVE going in my grandma’s laundry room. I always said that I would have the same kind of laundry room, one that smelled of laundry detergent and fabric softener.
    Unfortunately, I married a man with severe skin sensitivities. Bye bye to my dream of a fragrance-filled laundry basket….

  59. Becca says:

    Ooooh, I love that fresh laundry smell as well. We’re not allergic around here. 🙂 I use GAIN Island Fresh and then toss in Bounty dryer sheets once it hits the dryer. I get compliments on my laundry smell all of the time.. I love it!

  60. Jody says:

    I would recommend pwdered Tide-I personally do NOT like for my laundry to smell a bunc b/c I have some allergies and strong scents makes my throat swell shut (not sucha great thing I think) but I can always tell when someone uses Tide powder b/c the smell is STRONG, like, doesn’t come out in one washing strong. B/c the one friend gives me her kiddos’ hand me downs and it nearly kills me and I have to wash them at least once before the kids wear them or, well, you know, the whole asphixiation thing… I’m such a delicate flower….

  61. Linda Sue says:

    I cheat and use a little of the febreeze stuff in the soap dispenser for extra stanky stuff. Sorry for all those super sensitive or more earth conscious – sometimes ya just gotta do what is right for you. The young boy stink – doesn’t go away when they go to college – you have to rip up the carpet and repaint – unfortunately you also don’t have them to eat all the leftovers (sometimes before they are left OVER) and smile those goofy smiles when you are emotional around them. whew – not much about laundry

  62. caroline says:

    I love the scent of nice clean laundry too. But just before my first daughter was born, the local news station did a study on liquid fabric softener and how it effected the flamability of fabrics. The clothes that were washed with liquid fabric softener caught fire quicker and burned completely a lot faster.
    It’s just not worth the risk to me.

  63. Shandell Stens Mackey says:

    I love Downy the purple one!!!Lavender(I think) It smells sooooo good! Try it you and the kids might just like it!!! Love all and miss you.

  64. GiBee says:

    I use All combined with Downy Mountain Spring liquid concentrated (but I use a full cup in each load and don’t water it down), and Downy dryer sheets. It makes me feel like I’m layering the scents on.
    There is nothing like fresh, clean smelling clothing. And for some reason, I hate the smell of line-dried clothing! Everyone swears it is the best, but to me, it just smells like … outside … and reminds me of sweaty kids. Go figure.

  65. kelly says:

    i normally use bounce dryer sheets, but in the summer when i hang clothes outside i use downy (the new kind of fancy stuff) it’s a purple bottle of lavendar/vanilla…and the clothes smell way longer than w/the sheets. they also have other smells if you don’t like lav/van. and i love to come home in the winter w/stuff that i hang indoors and the whole place smells wonderful too.

  66. Jenny says:

    Though many will find this extravagant and deplorable, I will tell you a trick that I learned from my sister-in-law and that is to put two capfuls of fabric softener in each rinse load and the scent really comes out nice and stays longer. But again, don’t use fabric softener on your towels unless you like them waterproof.

  67. KO says:

    “When did heavy perfume become a bad thing?” When it makes your stinky boys’ skin break out in a rash every time. It’s such a bummer because, like you, I love the smell of laundry soap and dryer sheets. I can’t use them though because of my boys’ sensitivity to it. So I have to buy the boring not-smelling-like anything stuff.

  68. Brandi says:

    Oh, what a funny thing to read today as I’ve been running all over creation to find the ingredients needed to make my own detergent. Normally I love the smell of Purex Mountain Fresh, but I realize that that’s not really a good thing. I have a daughter with developing asthma and a husband with terrible eczema. I’m also horribly sensitive to fragrances. Yes, I’m one of those neighbors that hates to smell your dryer fumes. I also don’t like to be next to someone who smells strongly of anything especially certain detergents and softeners. Oh, and if you have allergies DO NOT use fabric sheets. Allergens stick to the fabric causing you to suffer. Personally I can live without dust mites sticking to my sheets.
    Anyway, I’ve been using vinegar for fabric softener and it’s wonderful. No smell, no static, just fresh clean laundry. I will be making my detergent tomorrow and can’t wait to see how it works. I am going to buy lavender essential oil as I do tolerate and like that fragrance when it’s mild. Will add that to the dryer especially for bed linens.

  69. Caroline says:

    I don’t scrimp with the laundry. Tide with Febreeze (this stuff if fantastic!), Snuggle’s Blue Sparkle, and Bounce dryer sheets. It’s a combo that results in pulling the sheets out of the dryer and taking a deep sniff. The clothes feel good too!!

  70. Lisa says:

    I use white vinegar in my Downy Ball on my 14 year olds stinking gym clothes! Works like a charm. Also takes out cat urine! For socks I do have to occasionally resort to soaking them in a dishpan with HOT water, bleach AND laundry soap. My son does things like walk to a friend’s house in his socks….you DON’T want to see or smell the result! For most stains I use liquid dish soap. I don’t have a favorite laundry soap because unless I find it on extreme mark-down I make my own!

  71. Jan says:

    Downy has the strong smell and I can’t stand it- sorry- it makes me sneeze and my eyes water to be around anyone that used it!

  72. Laura @ Texas in Africa says:

    I inherited my mom’s ridiculously sensitive sense of smell, so I’m really grateful for all the fragrance free stuff that’s out there. It makes my head hurt just to walk down the detergent aisle.
    That said, something that’s good, but not so overpowering that it’s sickening? Target brand dryer sheets in the fresh linen scent. I couple it with Downy’s fresh linen scent fabric softener for towels.
    PS Do you know that this kind of question is called a “bleg”? That’s blog + beg, for asking for advice or answers from your readers.

  73. Kristen says:

    I tried the vinegar thing today for the first time, and can say, without a doubt, that vinegar is the way to go for nasty stinky stuff. One cup of that mixed in with my regular detergent, and voila, beautifully not-stinky-or-vinegary clean clothes! Love it.
    I’m also checking out the soap nuts thing, as one of the earlier posters mentioned. VERY kewl, and not too expensive, either. :O)

  74. Kim says:

    I can’t help you but wish I could! I’ve been amazed to find SCADS of fabric softener scents here in Argentina. I buy three different scents each time and I haven’t finished trying them all yet. LOL I don’t know what they all are either. But they sure smell purty!

  75. Carrie says:

    The fragrants they put in detergents are bad for you. They are made up of chemicals and they will get absorbed into your skin and changes hormones and can cause cancers. I just hang mine out on the clothes line outside, you can’t beat the smell of fresh clothes of the line. To make your clothes soft I use vinegar in the fabric softner part of the washing machine and they come out nice and soft. It’s good for the machine too gets rid up of built up detergent. Don’t worry your clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar unless you put in too much.

  76. Kristi says:

    You are going to think I am CRAZY, but I am the LAUNDRY QUEEN. Two tween girls who can wear more clothes than a family of 12. Anyhow, Sears brand laundry detergent is my secret. IT IS AWESOME, it is CHEAP, it works in the H.E. washers. (no, I don’t work for Sears) I have used it for years. My whites are white, my colors are bright. For that lovely laundry smell… It HAS to be DOWNEY… with all of its April Fresh goodness! Nothing smells clean like that. The liquid AND the dryer sheet.

  77. Dawn says:

    enzyme cleaners would also work on odour issues (removing, not adding)
    I’m a non-fragranced laundress. I like to be able to smell real smells, so I prefer to avoid the artificial ones.
    Even if one is not allergic, the ability to smell can become “fatigued” and I can’t see missing out on smelling the roses for the sake of a chemist’s idea of “floral”

  78. Cathy @ Chief Family Officer says:

    Ach! This post fills me with dread! I have two young boys and THIS is what I have to look forward to???
    When it’s my turn, I will use vinegar in lieu of fabric softener, since it kills bad smells, and then use dryer sheets. (You can also put some liquid fabric softener on a small washcloth and toss that into the dryer, if you prefer that scent as I do.)
    If that’s not enough, I’ll consider running the washer twice – first with vinegar as the detergent, and then another cycle with regular detergent and then either vinegar again or liquid fabric softener.
    Also, use hot water whenever possible if the priority is getting rid of the smell.
    Please do let us know what you tried and whether it worked – I’m going to need to know!

  79. Dana~Are We There Yet? says:

    What we do, and I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that this has not been mentioned, is douse everything in Love’s Baby Soft, which a thoughtful, nameless relative who gave birth to me gave to my 12-year-old for Christmas. She had run out of the stuff by Valentine’s Day. Guess what? She got MORE. We all smell like Love’s Baby Butt..uh..Soft because merely passing through a room where the 12-year-old has occupied is enough to thoroughly coat every fiber and follicle.
    It’s enough to make me want to “all skate slowly and carefully in the regular direction…”
    I just love our little chats.

  80. Seannon says:

    Overly strong laundry scents tend to make me gag (I’m one of the ones with a chemical sensitivity- to me chemical perfumes don’t smell like flowers/sweet things/whatever, they smell like strong chemicals- Yankee Candle Company, which my Mom LOVES, smells kind of like toilet bowl cleaner to me- I know, it sucks).
    I do like for my clothes to smell nice, though. I go the old fashioned route.
    I use sachets with lavender in them, oranges with cloves in the closet, and I sprinkle some lavender oil on a sock when I throw things in the dryer. Lavender is minty enough that it does not make the husband feel strange smelling like it (it’s not a strongly feminine scent) and a little bottle that lasts 4-5 months, including use in cars (on cotton balls), in the bottom of trash cans, as perfume, and sprinkled on the carpet, costs $5.
    I doubt any teenaged boy would do anything with a lavender sachet stuck in a drawer- it would be invisible to them and make sure that clothes smell nice, not musty, if they’ve been in there for a while.

  81. Leanne says:

    I love Ace laundry detergent. Its a mild beach but it smells like old fashioned clean laundry. Just a really clean smell not at all llike bleach. It reminds me of my granny’s laundry day:)

  82. Cortney says:

    My friends are always commenting on how good my boys smell (they are 2 and 9 months). I am pretty anal about my laundry routine and pretty brand loyal. I have tried other laundry detergents but always come back to my favorite-Tide with Febreeze and Downy with Febreeze (Spring and Renewal Scent). I take pride in the way my boys look and smell. If I am going to spend money on nice clothes, I want to make sure that my boys look and smell the best they can. I love it when others pick up or hug my boys and comment on how they smell : ). I see nothing wrong with “added perfumes”. Although I use non-perfumed detergent and no fabric softener on towels, wash clothes and under garments.
    With boys being boys, they need all the help I can give them to stay semi-clean smelling!! Also, most lotions that contain scents, cause my skin to itch and break out so I can’t wear perfumed lotion so my clothes are the second best option I have for a nice clean fresh scent.

  83. Maranda says:

    You know, I havent used softener in such a long time. My clothes smell better for longer now than they did when I was using softener. I do use scented detergent tho. My trick .. I use plain white distilled vinegar as the softener in a downy ball(to the fill line). It seems to get rid of all the soap that sticks to the clothes (which also attatches to the stinky smell your kids make) but keeps the perfume smell. And no it doesnt smell like vinegar after the clothes are dried.

  84. aadrw says:

    We used to use the Downey Lavender and Vanilla and that stuff is just delicious. If your detergent is getting all the funk out of your clothes then you only need a little bit — maybe 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup?? Put that and a bunch of water in a Downey ball and let ‘er rip. It’s strong, softens well enough, and just smells yummy.
    Because of babies and the economy I’m now another one that uses scent-free detergent (Costco) and vinegar in a Downey ball for the softener. Works great and I’m used to the lack of any smell.

  85. Marlo says:

    I’m de-lurking to rave about Gain regular scent. I noticed at a friend’s house exactly what you’re describing- a laundry room that smelled great and children that all smelled of fresh clean laundry. And this friend uses Gain. So I stock up at Sam’s so I can attempt to have the same experience at my house. I’ve also found that the clothes seem to smell cleaner longer with Gain than with other detergents- and that is very nice- especially for those weeks when the pile of clean laundry is still a pile and wasn’t folded freshly out of the dryer. (I don’t know who would let that happen though.) 😉

  86. becca says:

    I’m also a Gain lover. I buy the detergent, the fabric softener, AND the Gain dryer sheets. My son’s preschool teachers have told me he always smells so good!

  87. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino says:

    Me too, me too! I LOVE that smell! I’ve tried many, many things, and here’s what I’ve found:
    – Love April Fresh Downy! To my nose, it has the most classic “clean laundry” smell on the market.
    – I still use fabric softener for my towels, but I use half the amount. I still get a nice scent without losing absorbency.
    – Dryer sheets leave a longer-lasting scent.
    – I am not supposed to use dryer sheets in my dryer. I have tried doubling the liquid fabric softener, but even then the scent doesn’t last.
    – Tide with Downy has given me the most lasting scent so far (short of using dryer sheets).
    – I love, love, LOVE Yankee Candle’s Clean Cotton scent. I am tempted to buy the car freshener version, cut it into small pieces, and put a piece in each drawer. I’ll let you know how this works if I ever try it! ( :

  88. Stephanie says:

    I totally agree with you on this one!
    My favourite scents happen to be Bounce dryer sheets, I believe they are the meadow, scented variety, mixed with Biz stain booster, and any liquid detergent that is a “rain” or “outdoors/summer” scent.

  89. Kellie says:

    GAIN! So strong, the scent last all day long and you can smell it in the laundry room, long after you’ve finished the laundry…if that’s even posssible!

  90. Karen says:

    I have found if I add a scoop of Oxy to each load they smell lovely. No nastiness remains. I generally am a Tide and Downy or bounce girl, but I have been branching out. I like Gain too.
    Oh and Martha Stewart says not to use softeners on towels, I use Oxy and detergent only on those.

  91. Dawn says:

    LOL at the poster above who is commenting on how her boys need all the help they can get to smell semi-clean….they are 2 and 9mo!!!
    Whooooo, wait til puberty and you’ll be wishing for 2 and 9mo boy smells!!!

  92. Libby B says:

    I know it’s not Wednesday – I’m a little behind – but I thought I’d add my $0.02. Have you tried using baking soda in the wash cycle? It works really well to absorb odors. I don’t have pre-adolescent boys, but I do occasionally leave the towels in the washer too long. I just wash the stinky clothes/towels as I would normally, adding a couple tablespoons (depending on stench) to the load too. Works like a charm.
    So the key to really great smelling laundry is to first remove the bad odors and then add in lots of good. 🙂

  93. gillie says:

    Have you tried having your boys use an antibacterial soap? Dial makes several different scented soaps (other than the orange hand soap) that are great for use in the shower and are quite mild on the skin, but are antibacterial. I am not a fan of heavy perfumes- I would rather not have people notice me for my smell. The nice thing about using an antibacterial soap in the shower is that it can really cut down on body odor in general and if the boys forget deodorant in the morning, it will take them longer before they clear out the classroom with their stink. It’s not our sweat that stinks, but the bacteria on our skin that reacts with the sweat that stinks.
    Good luck with your search for yummier smelling laundry!

  94. Elizabeth says:

    Just a FYI on laundry sheets…they leave a film in your dryer that will eventually cause your dryer to need repair. I would say IF you are going to use softner to use the liquid kind….I personally don’t use it, I use vinegar in a Downy ball as our softener.

  95. Smockity Frocks says:

    I know this is late, but I am CRACKING up at all the warnings of “THE FABRIC SOFTENER! IT WILL KILL OR MAIM YOUR CHILDREN!” and “Try vinegar.” This may be a leap, but I’m guessing that’s not the “strong, clean smell” you are going for.

  96. Susanne says:

    I use distilled white vinegar with my liquid detergent to remove any stubborn smells, and if you want your laundry to smell really good, try using castille soap, especially the peppermint. Yummy!

  97. Elizabeth says:

    My friends would ask to have my mom do their laundry. She used original scent tide and snuggle in the blue bottle.
    😦 I still can’t get my laundry to smell like hers!

  98. Chrissy says:

    This is interesting – no one uses OxyClean to get out stains/smells? I LOVE that stuff. Put it in every load and soak badly stained items in it.
    As for scent, I use Lavender-scented dryer sheets but only on my sheets and clothes. My kids’ skin is pretty sensitive so I try not to use the sheets if their clothes are involved.
    Good luck! (And I think I’ll try the essential oil route sometime in the future – like when I find some essential oils.) :o)

  99. Jennifer says:

    I am so sensitive to the perfumes from laundry soaps and dryer sheets that I have not been able to attend church in over ten years. It is a very isolating problem and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it when friends come “unscented” to visit me.
    I use an unscented soap for laundry and haven’t had any problems so far as far as “stink” goes- and I have two teenagers. Vinegar and “super washing soda” found at the grocery store work very well for me as an unscented laundry booster.

  100. Carrie says:

    I know this isn’t exactly what you asked, but if I have a piece of STINKY laundry, I spray it with Febreze before I wash it, and the stinky usually comes out. 🙂

  101. Janell says:

    Have you these dryer sheets: Bounce Awakenings Renewing Rain scent. They smell wonderful and the fragrance is strong and clean. I do smell it every time I walk into my laundry room. 🙂

  102. Roan says:

    I vote for Gain products for the best laundry smell…..does anyone know if Gain makes a detergent for front loading machines? I currently use the Tide HE, but Gain really makes the laundry smell good!

  103. Stephanie says:

    I love this post! I agree – I like my laundry to have a nice, strong, clean scent. We have found that we like the scent of Tide best. Especially in liquid form.

  104. Robins1668 says:

    I love Melaleuca Products. We have allergies too , BUT I won’t give up my clean smells and The Dryer Sheets from Melaleuca actually help control the allergens in your sheets. (bed sheets that is)
    I love a good scent.
    I just need some tips on how to tell the older ladies at church so not spray so much Perfume on themselves.

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