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This common laundry mistake could be making you smell bad

Here's how to banish bad odors for good.

Laundry Credit: People Images/Getty Images

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We've all had that one coworker: the one who clearly doesn't know that deodorant exists. But you with your freshly-washed shirt and deodorized pits head to the office every day confident that will never be you. After all, you regularly do your laundry, shower daily, and never leave the house without a spritz or a swipe under your arms.

But is that really enough to keep you free of body odor and, more importantly, stop you from being the smelly coworker?

Apparently not, according to a recent submission to The Cut's "Ask A Boss" column. One woman was embarrassed to find out her coworkers were complaining of her odor—and it was all due to how she was washing and drying her clothes.

Don't let that be you. Here's what you could be doing wrong when you're doing laundry, along with some of our favorite tips (and products!) for smelling fresh and clean.

Why your clothes still smell even after you do laundry

Laundry
Credit: Getty Images

Take your clothes out of the washer ASAP.

How is it possible for your clothes to smell less than fresh when you've just washed them? Well, if you're like the woman with the smelly coworker problem (who was accused of being "hard to be around"), it could be due to how you dry them. A.k.a. clothes that sit in the washing machine for hours before being moved to the dryer—or that sit half-dried in the dryer—can develop a musty, mildew smell.

Not only that but leaving wet laundry in your machine can lead to mold growth in your washer—which in turn, leads to funky odors on your clothes.

How to get rid of odors in the laundry

First things first: Never leave your clothes in the washing machine, says our senior lab testing technician, Jonathan Chan. "My number one tip is to not forget your laundry," he cautions. "Leaving your laundry in the washer overnight is a sure-fire way for your laundry to develop a bad odor." (If you can't dry your clothes immediately, it's a smart idea to at least open the door of your washer to release some of that moisture.)

You might also consider sorting your clothes before you dry them, similar to how you sort them before you wash them. "If your laundry isn't coming out dry to the touch every time, I'd suggest running separate cycles for absorbent items, like towels, and items like shirts and pants," Jonathan recommends.

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Our favorite odor-fighting products

Clean Laundry
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So fresh, so clean.

When it comes to smelling clean, two things immediately come to mind: deodorant and laundry detergent. While there are hundreds of deodorants out there, natural deodorant is incredibly popular right now. One of our editors put Native deodorant to the test and gave it a Reviewed thumbs up, loving that it kept her B.O.-free and that there are so many delicious scents to choose from. As for laundry detergent, of all the ones we've tested, we like Persil ProClean the best because it has a sweet scent that's powerful without being overpowering and is also number one at removing stains.

And if you're really concerned about being the smelly coworker, Jonathan recommends upgrading your dryer to the Miele TWI180, which is our favorite compact dryer. Not only does it dry clothes exceptionally well, but it also has a special pod system called FragranceDos that keeps your clothes smelling fresh.

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