Why Do My Pajamas Smell? Check Here!

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I’ve been known to stay up at night, hunting for the source of a disturbing smell because it just won’t let my brain relax enough for me to sleep. How horrifying to then discover that the smell haunting you is coming from… you. Oh wait. It’s your pajamas!

Of course, you want an end to the smell but to even begin to solve this issue, you need to understand why your pajamas smell. Why do my pajamas smell?

There are three basic reasons why your pajamas could be smelling after maybe wearing them just once. One is that you’re sweating a lot at night, another is that you’re wearing them without any underwear and the last is that you’re wearing them without taking a bath first.

Of course, they’ll also smell if you spill food on them, vomit on them, or pee in them. Just saying.

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On its own, sweat doesn’t actually smell. However, there are bacteria that usually live on the skin and their actions on your sweat emit a foul odor. This odor is absorbed by your pajamas. 

Furthermore, if you tend to sweat much at night, it is bound to soak into your pajamas. Having your pajamas damp for a good part of the night will promote the growth of mold, giving them more reason to smell badly.

No Underwear

If you are one of those who prefer to wear just pajamas to bed, with nothing underneath, then your pajamas can essentially be regarded as underwear because they are in direct contact with your skin as well as your bodily secretions. 

A scientist, Mary Begovic Johnson, says that during a day, adults averagely produce 1L of sweat, 40g of a body oil called sebum, 10g of skin cells, and 10g of salt. Now, imagine how much of these ones would secrete during a night of sweating heavily.

All of these cling to the pajamas since there’s no underwear to separate them from the bulk of it. Hence, they develop an odor more quickly. 

No Night Bath

Do you remember all those daily bodily wastes Mary mentioned above? What do you think would happen if you take all of that to bed in your pajamas? That’s right, they’ll stink, especially if you sweat some more.

Apart from the smell that comes from actually wearing your pajamas, you may have also encountered some curious odors even from washed and unworn pajamas. Before we learn how we can get rid of all forms of smell on pajamas, let’s also look into why your nightwear may smell after washing.  

Why Do My Pajamas Smell After Washing? 

One thing that has to be up there among the most annoying things on earth, is having your pajamas smell after washing them. Below are likely causes of this annoyance. 

  • You packed your pajamas too long in the laundry basket. As they stay longer in the laundry basket, the germs already accumulated on your pajamas have time to grow and multiply. The more they spread, the more smelly your pajamas get, and the harder it gets for a simple wash to get out all the bacteria and smell. So your pajamas may continue to smell even after washing because you have given them time to ‘fester’.
  • You packed your pajamas too closely in the laundry basket. This is another thing that can cause bacteria to multiply quickly in your laundry basket and lead to long-lasting smells. Even if it’s only kept for a short period, having your pajamas tightly pressed with other clothes in the laundry basket will help odor-causing germs spread faster.
  • Your pajamas have residues from detergents and fabric softeners. If you use too much detergent while washing, there are high chances that you won’t be able to rinse out all of it. Residues from detergents and fabric softeners trap odors and encourage bacteria to flourish. 

When detergent is too perfumed, it can also leave residual odors. Besides, some detergent makers sometimes use heavy perfume to disguise or conceal less than palatable odors that are found in the detergent. When the perfume wears out, it leaves the ugly after-smell behind.

  • Your washing machine is retaining odor or has mold. This is also linked to the excessive use of detergent and fabric softener. Over time, their residues accumulate in the machine. They block filters, trap smell in the machine itself, and cause the growth of smelly mold. Washing your pajamas in such a machine would have them coming out of the wash with a smell. 
  • The pajamas were wet for too long. The wetness could be a result of sweating at night, soaking the pajamas, not drying them immediately after wash, or them taking too long to get dry. Whichever it is, a wet cloth is a breeding ground for mold and the mold formed isn’t going to leave your pajamas in a hurry just because you have now washed them.
  • They were not completely dry before storage. If there’s any moisture left in your pajamas at the time you’re folding and keeping them, you have just built an apartment for fungi. They flourish in the dark as well as in moist places. Therefore, pajamas that have been kept damp in the closet will encourage mold to spread on them, giving them an odor.
  • They’ve been stored for too long. Even if your pajamas are properly washed, thoroughly dried, and then packed, they may still develop a smell if left for too long in the closet, especially if they’re packed tightly and unable to get enough air.
  • They were not well washed. This means that the germs that cause smells are still present in the pajamas. The incomplete wash could be because you put too much load in the machine at a time. It prevents them from rolling well and getting properly cleaned.
  • They were not rinsed properly. This causes the pajamas to retain residues from the wash, leading to a bad smell after the wash.

How Can I Get The Smell Out Of Pajamas? 

Now that you know why it’s happening, you’re beginning to have an idea of what you can do to prevent it. I’ll make this even clearer as you read on. But how about these pajamas that seem to smell perpetually already? Well, you don’t have to bear it. You can use any of the following ideas to get rid of that annoying smell.

  • Hot water 

Cold water is not able to dissolve and remove the body oil that gathers on your pajamas but hot water can. Hot water also helps kill off the odor-causing germs. Before washing your pajamas with hot water, however, check the care label to be sure that they can handle it. 

  • White vinegar 

Vinegar is acidic in nature, hence it is effective in stripping materials of unwanted odors. After loading your pajamas into the wash, pour a cup of white vinegar into the wash as well. Wash as you normally would. You can use white vinegar to wash even when you’re using hot water. 

  • Baking Soda 

Baking Soda is widely known for absorbing smells. Remember not to use it together with vinegar because while vinegar is acidic, baking soda is alkaline in nature. This means that they can neutralize each other. Use it exactly the way you would use the white vinegar. A cup is enough per load.

  • Drying under the hot sun

Ultraviolet rays from sunlight are effective odor removers. The heat also destroys any bacteria that survived the wash. It is therefore a double-action formula to hang pajamas out in the sunlight to remove any leftover odors. 

How Do I Keep My Pajamas From Smelling? 

As easy as it is for pajamas to begin to smell, it is also easy to prevent this now that you know how it happens. Follow the tips below. 

  • If possible, wear underwear with your pajamas. 
  • If you sweat heavily at night, wash your pajamas immediately after you take them off. If this is not possible, hang them out in an airy place until you’re ready to wash them. Washing should be done as soon as possible.
  • Try as much as possible to take a bath before bed.
  • Avoid using detergents with heavy perfume. 
  • Use only enough detergent. Avoid excess. 
  • Choose detergents that have polymers. This component keeps the dirt that has been ‘sucked out of the pajamas, from settling back on them when they spend a minute longer in the laundry water. 
  • As much as you can, avoid fabric softeners. 
  • Clean your washing machine with baking soda or white vinegar. Add two cups of either one to your detergent drawer and run a wash cycle without any clothes in the machine. Use a brush to unclog filters and clean the machine thoroughly. 
  • Dry your pajamas immediately after washing and ensure they get completely dry as soon as possible. 
  • When storing pajamas, hang them rather than folding them. 
  • Don’t overload a wash. Also, rinse properly. 

ConclusionWhy Do My Pajamas Smell?

Smelly pajamas can affect your sleep but you don’t have to put up with it when you understand why your pajamas smell, as I have explained here. Follow the tips above to get rid of odors from your pajamas and ensure they never smell again. 

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