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How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes?

It’s less difficult than you might think to get rid of those unpleasant musty odors. Here are nine methods to help you get rid of the musty smell of mildew from your clothing.

We have bad news if you’re smelling around for the source of an eerie musty smell. Your clothing might be the source of it. However, once mildew odors permeate the fabric, it typically takes more than a standard wash cycle to get rid of them. You can try washing them again. This is a serious issue because mildew smells not only make you feel bad but also cause allergies and sinus problems.

It’s simpler than you might think to save your favorite outfit, so don’t worry. Learn how to eliminate mildew odors from clothing in this article, as well as prevent them altogether.

Things You Should Know Before You Start

  • Don’t stress. Your clothing can be saved!
  • When washing clothing that has mildew, avoid using detergents with strong perfumes. Covering up the odor won’t solve the problem; you need to treat and get rid of the mildew.
  • If your laundry has mildew, avoid using fabric softener. Fabric softener residue can exacerbate the issue because it accumulates over time.
  • Don’t forget to check and clean your washing machine; the seal may be the source of the mildew.

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes?

The items you wash occasionally have that lingering smell if your washer is “dirty.” Other times, it might be the smell of the clothes themselves. It’s time to clean your top-loading washing machine if it has a mildew odor. This practical advice will help you get rid of the smell from your clothes and towels. We have told you How To Remove Different Types Of Stains From Clothes.



The best tip for removing the smell of mildew from clothing is to use distilled white vinegar. Acetic acid, which is present in vinegar, is great for removing the base elements that cause most odors. This combination eliminates mildew and restores the fresh scent of clothing. Cigarette odor from clothing can be eliminated using vinegar for laundry.

Use one-and-a-half cups of white vinegar for mild odors or smaller loads of laundry. Use a full cup of vinegar for stronger, more persistent smells. Turn the water temperature to the hottest setting

Without using detergent, you can add the vinegar straight to the washtub for towels. Similar to how you would add fabric softener to clothing, add vinegar. Run the washer, add detergent, and then add vinegar for the rinse cycle. The items can be dried and washed again as necessary.

Vinegar should be added through the detergent dispenser in front-loading washers when washing towels or clothes. It might also be necessary to soak longer for strong odors.

If so, pause the wash cycle halfway and let the clothes soak for an hour before finishing. Otherwise, simply execute the longest sequence that is stored on your computer.

Using vinegar, you can hand wash clothes without a washer or dryer. In the sink, combine a cup or so of vinegar with some detergent and warm water before agitating the clothes by hand. Rough out the clothing and hang it to dry outside or over the shower head.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another successful method for removing mildew from clothes if vinegar doesn’t work for you. Similar to vinegar, baking soda can even save difficult-to-wash fabrics. Baking soda can easily get rid of musty odors caused by mold, such as those on leather, without the need to wash the affected area.

To remove the smell of mildew from clothing and towels, measure out one cup of baking soda and add it directly into the wash basin of the washing machine along with the detergent. The hottest water temperature should be used for the cycle. Dry, then rewash if necessary.

Put the baking soda in the same spot as the fabric softener when using a front-loading washer. Using a half cup of each solution, some experts also combine vinegar and baking soda.

Additionally, you can make your own washing machine cleaner with baking soda. After all, even your washing machine requires cleaning occasionally.

Add A Laundry Booster Like Borax


Another well-liked cleaning product, borax, provides a straightforward substitute for how to get rid of musty smell from clothes. Borax kills mold similarly to vinegar and baking soda without releasing harsh chemicals or fumes. Use Borax-containing laundry detergent or add it to your clothes separately. Both options are viable.

Before adding the solution to the laundry, thoroughly dissolve the Borax in hot water. Similar to the other options, add the solution to your laundry while it is in the rinse cycle. Wash the garments as you normally would if you use a laundry detergent that includes borax.

Here are ways to remove different kinds of smell:

Oxygen Bleach

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach Clothes

Another easy method for getting rid of the smell of mildew in towels and clothing is oxygen bleach, which is similar to Oxiclean. Use oxygen bleach instead of your current laundry soap, not in addition to it, as you would with the other alternatives. This substitute can be especially useful for musty odors brought on by detergent residue that accumulates after using too much detergent in a load of laundry.

In extreme circumstances, you may soak the clothing for a number of hours before putting them in the washer. If not, simply wash the product in the same manner as you would with regular detergent.

Moms and household experts consider oxygen bleach to be “eco-friendly” because, unlike Clorox and chlorine bleach, it is kind to the majority of colors and patterns. On fabrics like silk or wool, avoid using them. You should take these items to the dry cleaners instead.

Further Reading:

Lemon Juice

how to get rust stains out of clothes

Lemon juice is a fantastic choice for a natural, eco-friendly remedy that is less acrid than vinegar. Lemon juice can be used in a variety of ways, particularly when learning how to get mildew off of towels or clothing.

A paste that can eliminate mold and mildew odors is made by mixing lemon juice and salt. If your clothing has rust stains, this method is a great solution.

Spray Enzyme Odor Removers

How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes?

An enzyme odor remover works best for removing mildew smell from clothing that is brought on by sweat and body odors. Floor cleaners and pet stain and odor removers both contain these kinds of cleaning agents.

But there are many laundry detergents and cleaning solutions on the market that use enzymes to remove odors and stains. In order to make sure you are getting the right laundry detergent, look for labels that read “stain-fighting enzymes” or “with enzymes.”

Let Clothes Air Dry

If the weather is suitable and there is room, drying your clothes outside can have a significant impact. To combat musty odors that can develop in your clothing due to poor air circulation and lack of sunlight, expose them to fresh air.

Instead of using dryer sheets, you can combine air drying with any of the preceding methods to enhance the scent of your clothing. Overexposure to sunlight can damage clothing even though it can be a great way to control some bacteria that cause odors.

In some cases, “bleaching” from the sun can cause clothing to lose color. It is preferable to use this technique on clothing made of cotton or wool. Synthetic clothing’s materials deteriorate in the sun, losing their shape or elasticity.

Freeze Clothes

Similar to heat, exposure to extremely cold temperatures kills the majority of bacteria that produce odors. Clothing that has been frozen can retain its freshness and odor longer than clothing that has not been frozen.

This method is particularly useful for workout attire, which is typically only worn for a few hours per day. To avoid that musty mildew smell, we quickly put them through the laundry after that.

This is difficult for both our wallets and the clothes we are wearing. When you can store a few clothes in the freezer and reuse them later, why wash the rest of your clothes?

Clothing should be rolled tightly and put in a Ziploc bag. Before freezing it for several hours or even overnight, tightly seal the bag. The clothes should stop smelling and be safe to wear once more. This method prevents jeans from fading and is a great alternative to it.

Clean Up Your Closet

Cleaning the space where clothes live can occasionally be the answer. It’s time for a deep clean if you can trace the smell back to your closet.

Your closet should be empty. Frequently, the main offender is footwear. To clean and get rid of odors from shoes, use vinegar, baking soda, or any of the other solutions mentioned above.

Disinfectant or mildew remover should be used to clean the walls. When using vinegar or another mildew remover to clean the walls, dilute the solution with water first. Check the floors again later for any evidence of pet stains or mildew.

If you do discover pet stains, clean them with an enzymatic cleaner. If not, a light sprinkle of baking soda and an hour of waiting before vacuuming will do the trick. Let the air circulate for a few hours with the closet doors open.

How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes?

How to Get Rid of Mold Smell in the Closet?

What ought you do if your towels and clothing in the closet smell musty? Even if you wash everything outside, the smell will return unless the underlying issue is resolved.

Airflow can be improved by opening the closet doors. Because they permit ventilation, louvered doors are preferable to solid wood ones. Alternatively, you could point to a tiny fan in your closet. Airflow will aid in preventing the development of mold and odor.

Verify the closet’s corners. These locations have a reputation for supporting mold and mildew. When cleaning the area, use an all-purpose spray cleaner.

In serious situations, you’ll need to work with a mold removal crew. Mold spores can seriously harm your health in addition to giving your clothes a musty smell.

When mold invades your home and gets on your clothes, it is not fun. your home’s smell quickly by using these suggestions. Your chances of success increase as you move more quickly. Get in touch with a reputable laundry service if you are unable to get rid of the smell on your own.

How To Prevent Mildew Smell In Clothes?

How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes?
  • Stay away from warm, stuffy environments with damp clothing and towels. Mold and mildew thrive best in warm, stagnant environments, such as the interior of a heated vehicle in the summer or a heated residence in the winter. In these conditions, don’t keep damp fabrics outside for too long! 
  • Dehumidify trouble spots and treat them. Controlling moisture is crucial in halting the growth of mold. Due to increased humidity (more water vapor is present in the air) and a lack of airflow, certain areas of your home, such as bathrooms and closets, may be more hospitable to mold and mildew. Consider using a dehumidifier in these spaces to remove moisture in the air and treat surfaces regularly to help prevent mold and mildew growth. 
  • Before placing used towels or worn clothing in the hamper, spray them with OdoBan. This will aid in preventing the growth of mildew and the accompanying musty odor since mildew can grow quickly in the ideal environment. 
  • More frequently wash your linens and towels. Your used towels and fabrics will continue to harbor harmful bacteria, mold, and mildew the longer you put off washing them. 
  • Don’t use fabric softeners anymore. The deposits that fabric softeners and other laundry additives can leave on your clothes and washing machine may be causing unpleasant odors.
  • After washing, quickly dry your clothes. After being washed, do your clothes still smell? Your washing machine leaves your clothes in a humid environment after it has finished used, which is perfect for mildew growth. Move those freshly washed loads to the dryer as soon as possible to prevent musty smells on freshly laundered clothes. Fold the clothing after it has dried and put it in cool, dry storage right away. 
  • Clean washer gaskets on a regular basis. Particularly on front-loading washers, the rubber exterior gaskets on washing machines can serve as a breeding ground for mold and mildew. To avoid buildup and odors, regularly mist and wipe down these surfaces with OdoBan.  

Can You Prevent Mildew Smell on Clothes?

Use scented vinegar instead of fabric softener as a preventative measure if you notice that your clothing is susceptible to mildew odors. Also, be careful not to add too much laundry detergent to your loads as this can lead to buildup.

How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes?

During the humid summer months, washing your bath towels in vinegar and baking soda once a month is a great idea to stop odors from getting on your clothes.

What Causes Mildew Smells in Clothes?

We must first comprehend the root of the problem in order to learn how to eliminate mildew odors. Mildew and mold odors are signs of fungus growth, so you must address the underlying issue to prevent persistent odors.

A fungus called mildew thrives in moist or moist environments where moisture is trapped. If the right circumstances are present, organic fibers like those in clothing and towels make an ideal environment for fungi to grow.

What is the Difference Between Mildew and Mold?​

Mildew typically grows in flat, spotty patterns and has a greyish-yellow appearance and texture. In most cases, your laundry will smell bad but not have any visible mildew spots.

Mold is black or brown and appears fuzzy (and occasionally slimy). ​Mold removal is a little more challenging because the green and black growth leaves behind stains that are more difficult to remove.

Take a stiff-bristled brush and scrape the mold off the clothing before soaking it in a solution of one part bleach to three parts hot water for 30 minutes to remove the stain and odor. After the clothing has soaked for 30 minutes, rinse it thoroughly.

After rinsing, wash as usual. If the stain is gone but the smell still lingers, wash the item as directed in the preceding steps, first with vinegar and then with baking soda.

Conclusion: Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes

You now have a variety of options for how to get rid of the musty smell from towels and clothing. Before use, always read the labels on all products to ensure that they are being handled properly. Your clothing should always smell fresh if you follow the above instructions.

Do you have any suggestions for removing odors from clothing? Please post them in the comments section!


Why Do My Clothes Still Smell Like Mildew After Washing?

Damp clothing and dirty clothing that is packed together without proper airflow are breeding grounds for nasty-smelling bacteria, mildew, or mold —all of which can contribute to bad odors that linger after the wash. To avoid this, wait until your dirty clothes are completely dry before putting them in a hamper.

Can Mildew Smell Be Washed Out of Clothes?

In most cases, washing as usual with a quality heavy-duty detergent will remove the mildew smell. You can also pour 5 cups of vinegar into the laundry detergent drum, but Zinna claims that this method is better at getting rid of odors than stains.

How Do You Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes Without Rewashing?

Pour half the water and half the vinegar into a spray bottle. Shake it up and spritz your musty-smelling clothing with the solution. The smell of vinegar can be reduced if you add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture. If not, you should give your clothing some time to air out.

How Long Does It Take to Get Mildew Out of Clothes?

Put the stained fabric entirely under water and let it soak for at least eight hours or overnight. Wash as usual if the stain is gone. Repeat the process with a new solution if it persists. The mold and mildew stain should be removed, though it might require several soaks.

Is It OK to Wear Clothes With Mildew?

No. Mold, mildew, and fungus can be harmful to your health. Washer mildew can become infested by damp laundry left in the washer, leftover water, lint, hair, and detergent suds.

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