Monday, July 17, 2006

Stinky Pants - A Mystery Solved?

It all started one day when we noticed that a pair of Hubbs' pants started to smell bad *after* we washed them in our washer. I figured maybe the load was too large and the pants just needed to be rewashed, but when I put them through the laundry a second time, they smelled even worse.

The smell can only b
e likened to Chinese shrimp paste (fermented ground shrimp) or stale urine. Nasty.

Anyway, we began noticing that the smell was also getting into the other clothes in the wash, although there always seemed to be one article of clothing that stunk the most. In this case, it happened to be my Hubbs' pants. I knew that the pants didn't smell like that *before* I put them in the wash (I couldn't have missed such a pungent stink), so the odor must have come from having washed them.

Stinky washer = call our building fix-it guy. He came up armed with bleach and vinegar, and dumped a ton of the stuff into the washer, running it through an empty load with hot water.

Meanwhile, I jumped online and started reading up on smelly laundry. Hubbs did the same. After the fix-it guy's bleach-vinegar cycle had finished, we decided to do a vinegar-baking soda cycle (as per many sites online) to give the washer tubs a second thorough cleaning. When that was done, we put a load of laundry in (including the stinky pants).

After the cycle had finished, I lifted the top cover off the machine and stuck my nose inside the washer, inhaling very deeply. The smell was still there. And still strong. Luckily, most of the other clothes didn't get too much of the stink on them, but the pants remained offensive.

What now? I called Mr. Building Guy again. I also bought a new type of laundry detergent to try, as per another suggestion I had read about on the Net. We normally use Tide with Downy, but we figured these were desperate times and we needed desperate measures, so we switched to:

We ran two loads through the wash using this new stuff, and although there were still traces of the stink in the first load, the second load was odor-free (except for the detergent's own baby soft scent).

Does this mean that our Tide with Downy (which we have been using for the past year) causes urine-like smells in our clothes? OR does this mean that we need to alternate between different laundry detergents every few months? `Does this mean we just wasted $15 on a new container of Tide, OR do we still have a washer problem that will randomly rear its ugly head again in a few washes' time?

If any of you are laundry pros or washing machine gurus, I would love an explanation. Until then, expect that our clothes will smell of baby-soft goodness for the next little while.


superstarjo said...

Maybe it has to do with the drainage in your washer?? Ask Monsieur, he's the expert in this situation.

Maybe it's just Mr. L's plumbing, ha ha!

Ontario Emperor said...

Something in the water pipes coming in to your washer?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I don't think it is anything in the water pipes (drainage, water flow)... but a repairperson did come in over the weekend and apparently it's now fixed (according to building managers), although no explanation of the problem was provided to them or to us! =S

Our last 2 loads weren't stinky, so maybe it *is* fixed? *fingers crossed*