I don’t know why it happens, but within a few weeks of using new dish rags, they start to develop an odor. We always lie them flat to dry and change them every single day, but it still seems that they build up a residue which not only can make them retain a stench, but sometimes turns them “hard.”
I wash them in hot water every time they are laundered and never use fabric softener nor do I let them sit in the machine. Of course, I use color safe bleach as I can’t use chlorine (as mine are red). But it doesn’t seem to matter. After a couple of months they are almost too disgusting to want to use in my kitchen anymore.
In the past, I had just resolved myself to realizing that I had to deal with this and there was not much I could do. I tried something new, just to see if it would work, and to my surprise – it did! Here’s how I was able to extend the life of my kitchen rags.
Find a large pot and fill it about 1/2 – 3/4 full of warm water. Add in around 1 – 2 tsp of Dawn dish soap. Place 2 – 3 rags into the water. Turn it on to boil. Once it reaches a boil, continue to stir for 5 – 7 minutes (be careful as it may want to bubble over and so you might have to remove it from the burner from time to time to prevent this from happening).
Once you are done, drain off the excess water and lie the rags flat to cool. Launder them as usual in your machine – making sure to use hot water. Once done, they should be as good as new!
Here are a few other tips you can use to help your rags last longer:
Never use fabric softener. This can create a build up which can retain the smell longer.
Launder them often. Try to replace the rag each morning or evening.
Don’t allow them to sit in the washing machine once the cycle has run. Odors can re-develop if they sit in a warm machine while still wet.
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your soap dispenser. This can help flush out the smell.
Stick to powdered detergent. There are differnent enzymes which break down and can help to strip the rags clean of stains and odors.
Have you tried this before or do you have tips you use? I’d love to hear them!