After much use within the kitchen, it is perfectly normal and expected for dishcloths to develop un unpleasant odor. Once a smell develops, many question the effectiveness of the cloth to continue to clean counter tops and dishes and utensils within the sink.
No matter how bad your dishcloth may smell, there usually exist enough effective household solutions for deodorizing the cotton fiber to return it to normal. By following the below solution, you will be able to freshen your dishcloths and have them smelling like new.
The dishcloths can be thrown within a normal detergent washing machine cycle with the rest of your clothing. If you find that any odor remains after its first rinse and spin, you can simply put the dishcloths in with your next load of laundry to remove any remain sour stench.
Baking soda has been used for generations in for freshening fabric. Add your smelly dishcloths within the washing machine and pour in half a cup of baking soda in addition to the detergent you would normally add in. Upon completion, the baking soda will have absorbed much of the odor and had a significant deodorizing effect.
This household acid has the power to cut through the mildew odor that regularly inhabits dishcloths. Plug and fill your kitchen sink with hot water and pour in a full cup of white vinegar. Next, submerge all of your smelly dishcloths within this bath and allow for them to sit within the vinegar mixture for 3-4 hours before draining the solution and removing the dishcloths. Finalize by putting the dishcloths through the washer and dry with a normal load of laundry.
Using bleach can work as a powerful alternative to vinegar for any white dishcloths that are in need of deodorizing treatment. Mix one part bleach with eight parts water and submerge the white dish cloths within the mixture. Allow the dishcloths to sit for 2-3 hours before removing them to run through a washing machine cycle by themselves.
As a final soaking solution, the use of enzymes can be used in conditions with especially strong dishcloth odors. Mix a solution of enzyme cleaning solution and water in equal parts and submerge the clothing within the mixture. Allow the dishcloths to soak for 3-4 hours before removing them and placing the dishcloths through a normal detergent wash cycle.
If the odor within the dish towel is especially bad, you may want to consider air drying the towels within the sun on a clothes line rather than running them through a dryer. Air drying towels outside will help to empower the fresh air, open space and ultraviolet ray to further neutralize any odors during the drying process.
Photo credit: Lemuel Cantos
I think it's important to tell everyone NOT to put their dishcloths in with
clothes/other laundry. The grease and oil in the dishcloths will get into your
clothes and they will smell like fast food for a long time. You can definitely
smell the difference in your clothes and especially sheets when you do this.
Always wash all items that are used in cooking and baking by themselves. I
keep them in a bucket of vinegar and water until I have a batch to wash. I do
tablecloths, aprons, napkins, dishrags, sponges and dishcloths together. I
wish I could find a way to get all of the smell out of them; even though I
have used all of your suggestions, they still stink after they are put away.