Laundry Soap Making Clothes Smell - Help?

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KimW

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During one of the challenges I used exclusively non-gmo canola and corn oil as an experiment, with the intention of salting them out for laundry soap. I've always used salted out olive oil or OO/CO soap for laundry.

Here's the problem: After drying, in the dryer or line dried, clothes washed with the salted out Corn/Canola soaps smell like cooked oil. Not rancid oil, but cooked oil. Canola being the worst offender. I "dayclare" my clothes smell like they did the two days I lasted at Burger King while in Uni (free food, man!). I've tried looking up the fatty acids of these oils that might lead to this smell, but I think I just don't have enough savvy on the subject to even know what I'm seeking. Anyone have any insight or hints, besides the obvious of just chunking this soap (Gulp!)?

FYI: OO and OO/CO soaps made just for salting out for laundry soap (I enjoy salting out soap) have never had this problem - for years. Also, the clothes seem to smell fine when they come out of the washer, and only smell bad once dried - again, this is true for when they are air dried as well as in the clothes dryer.
Method:
1-2 TB soap
1/4 C vinegar in the rinse compartment
Warm water, prewash, 1 extra rinse.
 

GemstonePony

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Add a cinnamon FO so they smell like mini-donuts instead, or citrus so it smells like lemon bars? JK. I'm sure someone smarter will be along soon, but I know different oils make different-smelling soaps, even if they're FA content is similar. I'm guessing it's the stuff that doesn't saponify in addition to the stuff that does that's the problem.
 

KimW

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🤣 🤣 Too funny - you were joking, but I actually thought, "Oh hey, yeah - donuts." hahahaha
I did try adding lemon EO to the tub and mixed well, but no improvement. So weird!! Laundry area smells nice though. LOL

If it was only happening to the clothes that were dried in the dryer, I could say that perhaps I didn't use enough lye in my salting out (I add excess lye solution and then add salt to remove that excess lye so I get as close to 0% SF as possible). Crazy!
 

KimW

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So I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you put some borax in the pre-wash compartment like you would with stinky laundry (like dog blankets, teenage boy work socks, etc)?" And...it worked. The clothes no longer stinketh. What the heck, over, does that mean?! What's happening?!!! :oops:
 

violets2217

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Doesn’t Borax help with hard water... maybe you’re water composition has changed recently and the borax helped to counter act the change? Quite the conundrum....
 

KimW

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The end of the story... I'm a little embarrassed, but in the interest of anyone else who might encounter this problem, I have figured out the cause and the solution. A dirty washer. More specifically, the hoses/spray heads of the "Accela Wash" feature. Oy.
In my defense, I do wipe the inner glass and rubber seal at the end of each laundry day, the door is always left ajar, I run the "Clean Cycle" with bleach every few months, and there was no foul or musty smell in the washer.

What happened was...
I washed two loads of the same number of identical kitchen towels that still smelled like Burger King.
One washed with 100% canola laundry soap. The other with 100% coconut oil laundry soap.
Express Cycle, Warm, Extra Rinse. I didn't do "accela wash" like I have programmed for my regular washes. Why? I don't know.

Both loads smelled fresh as a freakin' daisy after drying. Whaaaaattttt. Nooooooooo...couldn't be....EEEWWWWEEEEEEE - gross.

Ran the "Clean Cycle" with bleach once and then vinegar, and then washed some sweatshirts that still had the BK smell. A little (tiny) improvement, but not daisies. Ran the "Sanitize" cycle with vinegar and steam and "accela wash". This basically steams the whole time and runs scalding hot water through the accela hoses. The washer gets so hot inside that the outer plastic also gets hot and it won't unlock the door mid-cycle. Yeah, man. Bam. Clothes clean, BK gone, no more college exam flashbacks. All is right with the world. :)
 
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KimW

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What is salted out soap?
Here are a couple of links for you :)
 

earlene

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Good to know you found the real culprit for the smell.

I have a front-loading HE washer, which if I don't leave the door ajar when not in use, will smell up the insides something awful. I put a rag in the space near the hinge of the door to keep it ajar and that prevents the build-up of odor (caused by mold growth, apparently).

Sadly it seems to be a design flaw with some of these HE washers. I hope someday in the future to learn that this design flaw was corrected and before I have to replace this one. Leaving the door ajar is a fairly easy and definitely inexpensive work-around, but not ideal when my hip gets bruised walking past it.
 

CatahoulaBubble

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I run my washer with Oxyclean only once a month to get the stink out. After I run it I usually have to wipe out the drum of the debris that's dislodged. It's pretty gross what builds up in washing machines.
 

KimW

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@earlene - leaving that silly door ajar, and figuring out how to walk and work around it, was the hardest adjustment to this machine!

@CatahoulaBubble - Always so fun to explain to a child that things like inside of dishwashers and washing machines need to be cleaned.
 

earlene

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@earlene - leaving that silly door ajar, and figuring out how to walk and work around it, was the hardest adjustment to this machine!
One of my criteria for my 'next' laundry room (or if we ever renovate this one): The front loading HE washer door has to open toward the wall & the washer has to be in the far corner of the room so as to never cause me trouble walking past the door left ajar when not in use.
 

KimW

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One of my criteria for my 'next' laundry room (or if we ever renovate this one): The front loading HE washer door has to open toward the wall & the washer has to be in the far corner of the room so as to never cause me trouble walking past the door left ajar when not in use.
Amen, sister! I wanted a top loading machine, but apparently they're being made taller these days because I couldn't reach the bottom, and still have my feet on the ground, of a single one in the showroom. I'm short, but not THAT short. My poor teenie tiny mother would have had an absolute fit.
 

Vicki C

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One of my criteria for my 'next' laundry room (or if we ever renovate this one): The front loading HE washer door has to open toward the wall & the washer has to be in the far corner of the room so as to never cause me trouble walking past the door left ajar when not in use.
8CD23E4A-67FA-41B8-BB1D-7613042C6F2A.jpeg
I came up with this workaround a while ago and it has saved me from insanity.
 

soapmaker

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This thread reminded me of a recipe I found a long time ago. I don't know where it came from, maybe here? Anyway I got it out and am presently trying it. I have a top loader that completely fills to the top.
Fill washer with hot water. Add 1/2c. borax and 1/2c. washing soda. Run heavy duty but don't let spin. When agitation is done, add 1 quart of white vinegar and 30 drops of Tea Tree oil. Let sit for 1 hour. Finish cycle. I don't like the smell of Tea Tree so I'm using Four Thieves.
 

beckster51

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Amen, sister! I wanted a top loading machine, but apparently they're being made taller these days because I couldn't reach the bottom, and still have my feet on the ground, of a single one in the showroom. I'm short, but not THAT short. My poor teenie tiny mother would have had an absolute fit.
I had a front loading washer that was top of the line for a few years, and I thought it was waaay too high maintenance. So, I traded it in for a basic top loading model, and I have never looked back. The front loader smelled quite often, made my clothes smell, required me to buy products to get the smell out, the smelly gasket had to be replaced, and the smell was relentless. This appliance was supposed to make my life easier, not more difficult! I know some people really like their front loaders, but I was not one of them. So, I bought a made in America top loading Speed Queen. The cycles are about 15 minutes, it is the same height as my front loader dryer, and it does a great job. On the regular cycle, it can be a thrashing machine, but I usually wash all my clothes on the knit cycle which does a great job on all my clothes. It is not a fancy computerized machine, just a mechanical one. Less to go wrong, IMHO.
 

soapmaker

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I had a front loading washer that was top of the line for a few years, and I thought it was waaay too high maintenance. So, I traded it in for a basic top loading model, and I have never looked back. The front loader smelled quite often, made my clothes smell, required me to buy products to get the smell out, the smelly gasket had to be replaced, and the smell was relentless. This appliance was supposed to make my life easier, not more difficult! I know some people really like their front loaders, but I was not one of them. So, I bought a made in America top loading Speed Queen. The cycles are about 15 minutes, it is the same height as my front loader dryer, and it does a great job. On the regular cycle, it can be a thrashing machine, but I usually wash all my clothes on the knit cycle which does a great job on all my clothes. It is not a fancy computerized machine, just a mechanical one. Less to go wrong, IMHO.
My sisters have one of those and I have used it. Great machine.
 

soapmaker

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Also as a follow-up, the recipe to clean the washer worked great. Lots of black bits all through the water. I left it sit for 2 hours instead of 1 and agitated a few times. It just kept getting more black bits! I didn't know that was in there!
 
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