Someone Please help! (detergents & softener)

JoAnn_FlaJune 28, 2010

I have a HE samsung FL washer, and I am at wits end as to finding a detergent & softener that doesn't stink and gets the clothes clean. I am super sensitive to smells since I quit smoking and nothing is working for me. All my clothes have a funny smell and I need something that will smell nice. Any suggestions? I hate the smell of tide but that's what they recommend for my machine. I hate downey, and I have tried the unscented stuff also. Do you know of anything that works?


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I have a Samsung and use the Sears Ultra Plus Stain Fighting that comes in the orange box. I've been impressed with it's washing ability and it doesn't really have much of a scent. They also make one that is labeled as free of dyes and perfumes. I also like the Snuggle over the Downy. However, I do dilute the softener by half.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:33AM
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Also, I am wondering if you are smelling the leftover stale cigarette smoke. You might need to wash everything with an odor eliminator product. Go to a janitorial supply house and get a big jug of their product. Or try a product that works for pets. Personally I find the Febreze never worked. If the smell is after you take it out of the closet you will need to wash all items in the closet and clean the walls. The only reason I mention this is my Mom was a big time smoker for decades. She gave me a leather recliner and I could not remove the smell out of the recliner. It would disappear for a little while, but eventually the smell would work it's way up through the stuffing. And it was just an awful smell.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:54AM
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I love, love the clean old fashioned smell of Persil Detergent. You might have to order it online, unless you live in a metropolitan area. The smell is strong out of the bottle, but after clothes are washed and dried...the smell is (IMO) faint, but very clean. It also comes in Powder form for whites and one for colours! The cleaning capability of Persil is virtually unmatched!

I personally like Downy, but Purex Sensitive Fabric Softener with Aloe and Almond Milk is really great...and so cheap too!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:28AM
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I think you need to use a different wash cycle as well as different soap. I have a Samsung 338 and I always set the tabs to extra wash; extra rinse; and heavy soil level, with a lot of HE detergent. Right now I'm using a liquid from Costco. It is their Kirkland Free and Clear house brand. And it works with no odor. It's often on sale with their coupons. We gave up on fabric softeners when I noticed warnings on the label not to use it on babies flame retardant fabrics. That is because they are emulsified waxes that melt in your drier and coat the fibers, keeping them soft and anti-static. We never liked how towels were less absorbent when softened, either.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:51AM
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No its not leftover smoke, its been 4 years since I smoked.
I have to use the HE detergents in my machine. I had the service man come out last week to check it out and he said to use ONLY he bleach & detergents or it will ruin the machine. Sometimes I wonder if its the silver setting? He said to use the silver setting all the time.
I have also put in some Liquid alive to kill the bacteria. I just don't know what to do. If I started smoking again I would'nt smell anything! 8^D

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:23PM
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I have an LG front-loader and prior to purchasing did a lot of research on how to avoid odors in front-loading machines. There were three things that always popped up: use only powder detergent, no fabric softener and use only HE soap.

The reason for the first two is that they leave a "film" behind that contributes not only to washer smell/mildew, but also to deep, imbedded smells in fabrics.

All that said, the only detergent I use now is Charlie's Soap. It took almost a month (more on some older items) for all of the old soap residue to come out of my items and for me to get all the "benefits" of Charlie's, but I'm a big fan now (we also had a water softener installed, which made a big difference).

I never use liquid fabric softener, only drier sheets. Occasionally I put vinegar in the "bleach" section of the washer to help kill anything that might be thinking about growing.

I've had the washer since December and haven't had any problems with odors at all. Charlie's is a totally unscented soap, so clothes come out smelling like.......nothing. The only scent in my clothes comes from drier sheets (assuming I use scented).

That said, if you DO want to use liquid, make sure you get a eco-friendly choice (they tend to contain fewer oily residues). Prior to Charlie's, I tried Mrs. Meyers Clean Day liquid (I think it was lavender scented) and was very impressed by how well it did AND how yummy it smelled. If I wasn't using Charlie's (it's cheaper), that is what I'd be using.

As a side note, you might try Googling for septic-safe laundry products. Not because you are/aren't on a septic system, but because septics require products that don't harm their system (another reason we don't use traditional liquid detergent - hard on septic systems). If you see a product recommended as septic safe (don't go by the manufacturers label!), chances are good that it rinses quite well and will leave little film behind in your front loader.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 4:15PM
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DH didn't like Charlies soap, his clothes still smelled. The service man told me to only use liquid soap....go figure. Like everything else, do what works for you.
But I haven't found anything yet.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 1:36PM
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What temperature water are you using? If the clothes smell, I would wash them in hot water several times and see if that doesn't help. Do you leave wet clothes in the washer? If you do, that can make them smelly.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:13PM
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I had a Samsung set that i returned due to my clothes not getting clean, and my clothes stunk so bad out of there. I washed them in all different temps, didn't matter. I used tide too first, then others. When i got the electrolux, it took quite a few washings to finally get the smell out. I also use Purex fabric softner, or Gain, and use Purex liquid, but switch it up some too with another. I always use extra rinse on colors, sheets, towels. Hope you have some luck from the info here.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:31PM
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joann, have you thought of putting powdered detergent directly in the washer before you put laundry in? That would prevent any build-up in the dispenser (and, it would seem, elsewhere).

Like housefairy, I use Snuggle instead of Downy, and I dilute it by half. I typically use half Snuggle and half white vinegar, though I do not use any FS on towels at all -- only vinegar.

I used to use Downy until I found I could buy a big dispenser container of Snuggle at BJ's warehouse store for less than $10. It lasts at least six months, usually more like 8-9 months.

Baking soda does help to deodorize laundry, and it's cheap.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:11PM
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OP, can you clarify whether it is the detergent smell that is the offending odor, or is there a musty/bad/old socks smell in the washer? If the former, I would try using an unscented HE detergent--possibly trying the "greener" options found at stores like Whole Foods--and/or using less detergent or, if you find that decreasing the amount of detergent leaves clothes dirty, doing a whole extra wash cycle without detergent as a super rinse.

If the latter--old socks smell in washer--I would run a few loads with old towels and the sanitize setting and a goodly amount of Tide HE powder or oxiclean powder or both. I'm actually not sure that would be enough to solve it--but I have encountered this at a laundromat before and yeah, the stink permeates all your clothing no matter what kind of detergent you use, I think you have to get rid of the stink first. In this particular laundromat (it was at a university dormitory we were visiting) I observed that the few machines that the cleaning crew used to wash sheets and towels were the only ones that didn't smell stale and horrible. They used Tide HE powder and washed on sanitize.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 1:14PM
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Detergent - I use Persil.

Softener - I use and LOVE LOVE Spuma di Sciampagna which you can get at Whole Foods or some other gourmet food store.

The link gets you to the thread where GW members talked about Spuma as a softener.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 3:46AM
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Try Seventh Generation. Everything about it is "green." It is formulated for cold water and is already HE.

Gonzo, also "green," cleans up any stain.

I never need anything else.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 5:56PM
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I haven't used any petro-chemical based laundry detergent or fabric softener for years. It took me a while to find "green" products that work.

I have a FL Asko and I strongly agree with the recommendation of Seventh Geneation. I have been using Seventh Generation for years -- they make a clean and free that has no scent -- I use the lightly scented ones -- but I can't smell any scent. It comes in powder - which I prefer -- and also in liquid - both HE. If I have especially dirty clothes, I toss in some Borax, though I'm not even sure I need that. I think the water temperature makes the most difference.

I can't stand to be near anybody's laundry any more when it smells like detergent and that sweet fabric softener. I DO use a softener, but I use Mrs. Meyers, and only a tablespoon so a container goes a long way. I happen to love the Lavendar scent, which is VERY mild and dissipates. It also comes in sheets and scent-free.

I have been buying my stuff at -- cheaper than although has the best selection, and shipping is a set price of $4.99 at vitacost no matter what or how heavy. You can also buy most of this at Whole Foods if you have one near you.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:54PM
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