Image for the article titled How to Get the Funky Smell Out of Your Sheets

Photo: Fernando Cortes (Shutterstock)

When I asked my loyal WhatsApp mother chat how to remove damp odor from bed linen, a mother replied: “WTH. Don’t do things in your sheets that make them smell !? “

What this beacon of perfect cleanliness failed to recognize is that some of us plebes have occasionally come across an unpleasant odor that we have done nothing for. A smell that could generously be described as a “mysterious musty smell” – or even more wildly equated with the smell of elephant balls.

I can safely say that everything my little daughter did in her bed was sleeping, doing secret craft projects with unauthorized glue, and torturing her brothers tickling. But for some reason they still smell like ass. So what should a confused launderer do? I researched this for you (for me) – here are a few ways to restore those funky leaves to their original, odorless sheen.

Give these leaves a vinegar bath

Fill a sink or bucket with hot water. Add a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap (yes, dish soap – not detergent) and swirl the leaves in the mixture. Let them soak for at least 30-60 minutes or until the next morning. Wring them out completely before proceeding to the next step.

G / O Media can receive a commission

Wash them with baking soda

In the same way that baking soda in toothpaste helps remove yellow stains from your chompers, it has similar magical properties when applied to leaves. In addition to being a fabric lightener, baking soda is also a natural deodorizer. While your washing machine is filling with water, add 1/2 cup of baking soda. Put the sheets in last and let them soak for 30 minutes before washing.

(Note: Do not add your regular laundry detergent here. It can mask odors with its own odor. You will need to determine later that the sheets themselves are odorless without being affected by your laundry detergent.)

Use the settings for heavy-duty washers

While you may be tempted to run everything on fast cycle to get your laundry done faster or remove annoying odors, consider using the heavy dirt setting and the hottest water on your washing machine.

Consider adding vinegar to the rinse cycle

While this may be redundant if you’ve already done the vinegar soak before washing, can you really be too thorough in trying to get rid of the smell of an animal’s undercarriage? Adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your machine during the rinse (or in the fabric softener compartment) can further lift less-than-savory smells and actually make your clothes softer! Who knew

Smell test, then line dry outside

Before you move the leaves to the next stage in the process, make sure they passed an odor test. If the smell still persists, repeat the steps above.

If they smell fresh, give your sheets an extra dose of disinfectant by hanging them out in the sun to dry. As a natural germ and odor inhibitor, sunlight gives these smelly sheets the final boost they need to get them across the finish line.

Make sure they are completely dry

One surefire way to tackle bad smells is to fold and store sheets while they’re still a bit damp. After line drying, let them dry in the dryer for ten minutes to remove any moisture.

Now enjoy sleeping on your fresh, old, but new bed linen.