Anyone else get smelly rags?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Redglade

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
19
Reaction score
35
Location
United States
I've started using my own soap in the shower, and some that I bought from another soap maker. All I used before was shower gel, and I'm noticing a HUGE difference in how my wash rags smell. With the shower gel, after just one use my rags smelled near rank, I figured it was from sitting out while wet, so I switched them out constantly, but I haven't noticed anything like that with the bar soap. The only thing I smell is the scent used in the soap, and now while I'm typing this, I realize that I don't have the same issue of stank rags with my dishwashing liquid. So what on God's green earth are they putting in these shower gels that get so nasty so quick?!
 

KimW

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
1,449
Reaction score
2,553
Location
Michigan, USA
I found the same with my kitchen sponges after I started using only soap and not dish detergent. I put it down to the soap rinsing more thoroughly from the sponge, rather than something suspicious in the dish detergent ingredients. This because I always noticed some bubbles when re-wetting the sponge after having used dish detergent, but that's not the case when I use soap. Perhaps this is the same for your gel vs soap on your wash rags?

ETA: I reasoned that if there's still soap inside the sponge, then whatever dirt/food/etc I cleaned with that sponge is also still in the sponge and so the sponge gets danky-stinky....if that makes any sense at all! 😁
 

Redglade

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
19
Reaction score
35
Location
United States
I found the same with my kitchen sponges after I started using only soap and not dish detergent. I put it down to the soap rinsing more thoroughly from the sponge, rather than something suspicious in the dish detergent ingredients. This because I always noticed some bubbles when re-wetting the sponge after having used dish detergent, but that's not the case when I use soap. Perhaps this is the same for your gel vs soap on your wash rags?

ETA: I reasoned that if there's still soap inside the sponge, then whatever dirt/food/etc I cleaned with that sponge is also still in the sponge and so the sponge gets danky-stinky....if that makes any sense at all! 😁
That does make more sense, and I hope that's actually what's going on! But it could also be that the gel is able to seep a little further into the rag or the sponge, so that's why you still get bubbles later, and that would mean the gel is going rancid... I hope it's your reason, though, otherwise I have to think that've I've been washing with something nasty for years now. Bleh.
 

Mobjack Bay

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,054
Reaction score
5,877
Location
Virginia
I have never used shower gel, so can’t weigh in on that issue. I learned to avoid dish detergents that contain Triclosan, an antimicrobial additive, because it makes my kitchen sponge smell funny. The odor was transferong to my hands and then I had to wash my hands again just to get rid of the smell. I would describe it as a metallic odor.
 

KimW

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
1,449
Reaction score
2,553
Location
Michigan, USA
I have never used shower gel, so can’t weigh in on that issue. I learned to avoid dish detergents that contain Triclosan, an antimicrobial additive, because it makes my kitchen sponge smell funny. The odor was transferong to my hands and then I had to wash my hands again just to get rid of the smell. I would describe it as a metallic odor.
YES! That's right! It smelled like metal that was slimy - like metal that had contained old icky, swampy water. Or metal that had been packed away for a long time...but, yes, you're right - that's the smell!
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,152
Reaction score
8,414
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Well, considering that triclosan was deemed unsafe for daily use & banned for use in healthcare products in the US in 2017, and in 2016 was banned for use in personal care products like soap, shower gel and so forth, I would be surprised if that is the current culprit.

I suppose it could still be in "misbranded" products, but if you see that on an ingredient list of a U.S. product, you should report it to the FDA (U.S.)


ETA:
Kitchen sponges can foster bacteria, and it is recommended that they be washed in a dishwasher along with the dishes each time you run your dishwasher if you have/use a dishwasher or microwave oven.

The method I use, is to run extremely hot water (almost boiling) over the sponge & periodically soak in a weak bleach solution (10% bleach in water.) This is the same strength we soaked CPR equipment in whn I was a CPR instructor, as per the CDC guidelines. Then I always allow for good air ventilation around the sponge as it dries out.

Washing cloths: I, too, do not use shower gel, but I DO a very similar thing with my face cloth as my sponges: Rinse thoroughly with extremely hot water to get all the soap & facial oils out; wring the moisture out thoroughly, then hang to dry on hooks that provide for good air flow around all surfaces of the cloth. The cloth dries out quickly this way and doesn't smell bad.
 
Last edited:

Mobjack Bay

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,054
Reaction score
5,877
Location
Virginia
Perhaps a different additive is the real culprit. I started using the Kirkland brand of “environmentally responsible” liquid dish “soap” many years ago and never had the smell again.
 

KimW

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
1,449
Reaction score
2,553
Location
Michigan, USA
Thanks for saving me research time, @earlene ! :) I will say that for as long as I can remember I've stowed all sponges in a container with a draining bottom. That is, a container in which water can't accumulate/stand. ETA: For the last 12 or so years, my kitchen sponge has been stowed in a mini colander (so cute) on the sink top. I used to spray the sponge with bleach before its final wringing every night. I also wash my sponge in the dishwasher on a regular basis. The stink was real and could be frustrating when I knew I was doing everything right to keep bacteria at bay. I'm very happy to stick with my initial thought that dish detergent encouraged fouled sponges simply because it didn't rinse completely, and so also the muck didn't rinse completely. I got nothing else to explain why my sponges stay so fresh and clean now, but I'm not complaining!
 

bluebirdwing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
104
Reaction score
93
Location
India
Its the bacterias, it will eat whatever organic matter left in the rag/sponge/scrub and release hydrogen sulphide(smell of rotten egg/meat). If you notice it will be happening more frequently in humid weather. It used to happen to me every few days, since our city is really humid and when hubby decide to help with dishes and forgot to remove the sponge from dish gel bowl :rolleyes:. Now, I wash my kitchen sponge in hot water every night and squeeze it dry and keep in a separate tray away from water and diswash gel, so, no more issues now.
 

Mobjack Bay

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,054
Reaction score
5,877
Location
Virginia
A dirty sponge was not the root cause of the smell in my sponges when I was using a dish detergent containing triclosan. I shift my kitchen sponge to alternate use (like cleaning the bathroom, or washing my soap dishes) every two weeks and in between I run them through the dishwasher whenever I run it. The metallic smell was associated with something in some brands of dish detergent. It’s also not limited to my home. I have sometimes been able to detect the same smell on my hands when I offer to help clean up after dinner at someone else‘s house.

Edited for clarity.
 
Last edited:

bluebirdwing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
104
Reaction score
93
Location
India
A dirty sponge was not the root cause of the smell in my sponges when I was using a dish detergent containing triclosan. I shift my kitchen sponge to alternate use (like cleaning the bathroom, or washing my soap dishes) every two weeks and in between I run them through the dishwasher whenever I run it. The metallic smell was associated with something in some brands of dish detergent. It’s also not limited to my home. I have sometimes been able to detect the same smell on my hands when I offer to help clean up after dinner at someone else‘s house.

Edited for clarity.
Oh, never experienced that kind of smell. Like you said, it might be the ingredients.
 

Latest posts

Top