What Does Laundry Smell Like?

Why is it that when you take out a freshly washed load of laundry, your first instinct is to gather up all the clothes, bury your face in them, and take the biggest breath in so you inhale that oh so familiar and instantly soothing smell of freshly washed laundry

There’s just something wonderful, homey, and comforting about the smell of freshly washed laundry that transforms ordinary moments like jumping into fresh bed sheets or pulling on your favorite baggy t-shirt into some of life’s most treasured moments of secret delight.

It’s a treat for all the senses, but exactly what does laundry smell like and why does it smell so good?

What does laundry smell like?

No stranger in the world of perfumes, scented candles, and aromatherapy, the familiar scent of laundry has a delicate, comforting, and healing touch making it one of the most popular fragrances of all time. So comforting and nostalgic, all you have to do to remind yourself of what laundry smells like is close your eyes and picture yourself pulling out your latest load of freshly washed shirts and breathing in their soothing scent – suddenly it all comes back to you… 

The smell of laundry is both nostalgic and wistful, and at the same time it is fresh and comforting, like being wrapped up snugly in your favorite childhood blanket. What could be more heart-warming than that?! It’s the clean and crisp aroma that lingers in the air whilst cotton sheets dry in the blazing heat of the sun. It’s a smell that instantly soothes your stresses and worries away. Just one inhale easily conjures up memories of home and your mom’s favorite detergent. Laundry smells like new beginnings, fresh bedding, and a clean slate — something we can all appreciate when adventures take a walk on the wild side and life gets a little bit messy. 

Imitated in candles and essential oils, and so iconic that it has been eternalised in the words of poets and writers alike, the smell of laundry is an all-time favorite in the world of fragrance, but we want to delve a little deeper and uncover how this shining star or a scent came to burn so bright and what exactly makes laundry smell so darn good that we just can’t get enough.

What is the famous ‘laundry’ smell?

Of course one outlaw’s idea of what the smell of laundry is will never quite be exactly the same as another’s, since we all wash our clothes and sheets in our own unique way to us. Because of this, there are a range of different smells of laundry, from detergent, to fabric softener, to the smell of still-warm clothes fresh from the dryer. Generally speaking the most widely acknowledged and popular scent for laundry is the clean and crisp smell of cotton drying on the line. So why does clean line-dried laundry smell so wonderful? There’s actually a science behind it, so get your goggles on and let’s take a look!

What makes line-dried laundry smell so good?

There’s something dreamy and heart-warming about the smell of freshly washed sheets hanging on the line on a hot summer day. Do you remember running around the yard as a child and as the wind blew, suddenly being hit with that wonderfully clean and refreshing smell that would make you want to wrap yourself up in the damp sheets and stay there forever? It’s a smell that conjures up visions of childhood bliss, of safety, warmth, and comfort, and the tantalizing anticipation of jumping into a bed of crisp cotton sheets. Have you ever noticed how, no matter how much detergent or softener you use, when you wash your sheets or clothes in the washing machine and leave them to dry in the dryer, they just never seem to come out smelling as crisp and fresh as when you left them bask in the sun and dry on the line? It turns out there’s a reason for that! 

In a scientific study into what creates that oh so specific smell of line-dried laundry, scientists discovered that line-dried laundry produces a number of aldehydes and ketones which, according to the study’s leading researcher, Syliva Pugliese, are “organic molecules our noses might recognise from plants and perfumes.” This means that line-dried laundry actually produces its own organic ‘perfume.’ But it doesn’t stop there!  While your favorite fluffy towels are blowing in the wind, a photochemistry reaction is actually also taking place as the sun’s rays hit the wet fabric. The ultraviolet light of the sun actually kills the bacteria in your laundry and helps to wipe out any odors — that’s why machine dried laundry never seems to quite come out smelling as crisp or fresh.

It’s all about the chemistry baby! If it’s the smell of sunlit cleanliness you want, you gotta let those sheets bask out there in the wild.

Shop Line-dried-Laundry-inspired cologne, soap & More

What scents pair perfectly with laundry?

A smell designed to make you think of your favorite washing detergent, laundry is fresh, bright, and instantly brings uncomplicated feelings of happiness and comfort, like being wrapped up in a bed of fluffy white towels. It’s light, airy, and effortless, but what to pair it with?! Natural and green scents like fruits and florals are the perfect partners in crime for laundry, a scent that will make you dream of sun-dappled happiness right at home on the range. This brilliant combination of scents will fill the air with the bright smell of an endless summer where fun, freedom, happiness, and a great night’s sleep wait behind every corner. It’s the perfect vibe for lifting spirits, making memories, and starting new adventures.

The perfect gifts for people who like laundry scents

Think about it, is there really any better way to start your day, or in fact wash the day away, than with the refreshingly clean and crisp smell of laundry and sun-dappled happiness? Treat your favorite outlaw to the best start to the day or a mood-boosting end to their fun in the sun with our There’s No Place Like Home: Home on the Range Gift Set including our much-loved natural body wash, natural lotion, and soap bar. You can’t go wrong with this trio set of little drops of happiness! 

Want to take that delicious laundry scent further than just the shower? Our Home on the Range signature smell of laundry cologne will leave anyone smelling like an endless summer all day long. It’s the perfect gift for the dreamers, the homesick, and the nostalgic outlaws longing for the comforting touch of effortless life on the range. Just spritz for instant happiness because this really is like pure joy in a bottle. And why stop there?! Make their home smell like a home with the scented candle that will bring back all their favorite summertime memories and give their soul a good ol’ soothe after a long hard day. Smells like heaven to us!