How To Get Sour Milk Smell Out Of Clothes

Milk can be an essential source of nutrients for people of any age.

While you have been told not to cry over spilled milk since childhood, you may want to cry over the smell of sour milk.

If you have any children, you likely know exactly the smell I’m referring to.

Unfortunately, that critical and nutritious liquid can end up more frequently on clothing than on children.

Don’t worry, we’ve been where you are and done some research on removing the soured milk smell from clothing.

Luckily, it is an easy fix.

Continue reading below to learn how to get sour milk smell out of clothes. 

What You’ll Need

Now that you’ve assembled the above items, read on for step-by-step instructions on how to get sour milk smell out of clothes.

1. Pour White Vinegar Into Washing Machine

Pour about two cups of white vinegar into the prewash tray of your washing machine.

If you do not have a prewash tray in your washing machine or another area in your washing machine that is specifically for prewash, you can pour it into the washing machine basin directly. 

The acid of the white vinegar works to remove the source of the sour milk smell.

It will also help remove any stain that might be present on the clothing. 

2. Add Scent Booster 

To help improve the smell of the clothing, you can add a cup of a scent booster of your choice.

Adding the scent booster can be added directly into the washing machine basin. 

3. Add Laundry Detergent Or Pods

Add your laundry detergent or laundry pods as you would an average load to the washing machine.

If the smell is horrible, you can add additional detergent or pod.

4. Wash Clothing On Warm Or Hot/Cold 

Since you are working with a bad smell, you will want to choose the right temperature for the wash.

Select the warm or hot/cold temperature.

You want to kill any bacteria causing the smell and sanitize the clothing.

The warmer the water, the better chance you have of killing the bacteria and removing the sour smell of the milk.

5. Add Dryer Sheets To Dryer 

Similar to the boosters, you can add dryer sheets to the dryer.

Dryer sheets will aid in improving and changing the scent of the clothing.

At this point, the smell of the sour milk should have been removed from the clothing.

Thus, this step is optional to boost the smell of the clothing.

6. Run Clothing Through Dryer

It is essential to transfer damp clothes quickly.

Once the washing machine load has finished, immediately move the wet clothes into the dryer.

Then start the dryer.

If damp clothes are left, they are likely to start smelling and possibly growing mildew due to the wet environment. 

Video Instructions

  • Step 1 (:48) — Pour vinegar into prewash spot in the washing machine
  • Step 2 (:55) – Add boosters into the washing machine basin
  • Step 3 (1:03) – Add laundry detergent or pods
  • Step 4 (1:23) – Run the washing machine on warm or hot cold
  • Step 5 (1:39) – Add dryer sheets to the dryer
  • Step 6 (1:41) – Run clothes through the dryer


What Are Other Ways To Remove The Sour Smell? 

There are several ways to remove the sour milk smell from clothing naturally.

You can utilize cold air to help remove certain odors like sour milk.

You could technically wash the clothing in cold water to help remove the smell, but it will not remove the bacteria by sanitizing.

The clothing could be placed in the refrigerator after washing in warm to hot water to get cold water treatment after sanitizing the clothing.

Baking soda, known for its odor-removing and reducing properties, can remove the sour milk smell from clothing.

It can also help with eliminating possible milk stains on the clothing.

You can pour some baking soda on the clothing, allowing it to sit for at least 20 minutes.

You can then brush the baking soda off.

If the milk is recently poured, you can also use the baking soda to absorb milk from the clothing.

Then you can wash the clothing as you would normally. 

Similar to white vinegar, you can use lemon juice to remove smells, such as sour milk smells and stains.

The acid of the lemon juice helps to remove odors.

You can take diluted lemon juice and allow the offending clothing to soak for about 30 to 40 minutes.

You can then wash the clothing as you would normally.

Orange peels also have similar odor removing properties.

You can boil orange peels in water and then soak the sour milk-smelling clothing in the water.

Leave the clothing in the water for about three hours.

Wash and dry the clothing as normal. 

What Causes The Sour Milk Smell? 

The telltale smell of sour milk is very unpleasant and easily recognizable.

This smell emerges when the bacteria naturally present in milk begins to be overproduced.

The bacteria create lactic acid, which is the origin of the sour smell.

This is why it is essential to wash the clothing at warm or hot/cold temperatures to kill the bacteria that has been produced in the milk residue on the clothing.

How To Avoid The Sour Milk Smell?

One way to avoid the smell of sour milk in clothing is to wash the clothing as soon as the spill has happened.

Suppose you do not have the ability to wash it soon after.

At least attempt to soak or rinse in water to dilute the milk and remove as much milk as possible from the clothing.

When you wash it, it is essential to move it from the washing machine to the dryer once the cycle is done.

Doing this will decrease the chances of new bacteria growing and cause more unwelcome odors in the clothing.