Washcloths may have a foul odor as a result of build-up from body oils, detergents and other products. Mold and mildew, from washcloths that are not dried properly, along with bacterial growth, often resulting from dead skin cells left on the washcloth after use, can also cause odors on washcloths. It is necessary to clean washcloths in hot, soapy water after each use to prevent these odors.
To remove build-up from washcloths, they should be washed in the hottest water possible with 2 cups of sudsy ammonia and then rinsed twice. Detergent or other laundry products should not be added to the wash, and the washcloths should be dried on medium heat immediately after washing. Fabric softener should be avoided on towels and washcloths to reduce build-up and to increase the absorbency of the fabric.
Allowing washcloths to remain damp for an extended time encourages the growth of mold and mildew. If the washcloths develop a sour or musty smell that is noticeable after washing, the washcloths should be re-washed in hot water with 1/2 cup of baking soda and the recommended amount of detergent. The washcloths should be dried immediately after washing.
Keeping in mind, washing too many clothes in a load of laundry reduces the effectiveness of the cleaning process, which can allow odors to remain after washing. Washing smaller loads of laundry, with the recommended amount of detergent, ensures the washcloths are properly cleaned.