How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes: A Comprehensive Guide

Greetings, Aero Reader! If you’ve ever encountered the unpleasant musty smell of mildew on your clothes, you know how frustrating it can be. But fear not! With the right techniques and preventive measures, you can banish that mildew smell for good. In this article, we will explore various methods to tackle this issue, ensuring fresh and odor-free clothing every time.

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in the Wash

Replace your laundry detergent with vinegar

If your clothes have developed a mildew smell, simply switching your regular detergent with vinegar can work wonders. Fill your washing machine with water, add a cup of vinegar, and let it soak for at least an hour. After the soaking period, complete a regular wash cycle. Vinegar has powerful antimicrobial properties that eliminate mildew odor effectively.

Wash your clothes with baking soda if they still smell bad

In some cases, mildew odor may persist even after washing with vinegar. If this happens, don’t fret! Simply add half a cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent and rewash the clothes. Baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer, neutralizing unpleasant odors and freshening up your garments.

Use oxygen bleach or borax as a commercial detergent

If you prefer commercial detergents, look for options that contain oxygen bleach or borax. These ingredients are known for their ability to kill mildew spores and eradicate the accompanying smell. Follow the instructions on the product label to ensure optimal results.

Read More :   Best Ways to Get Rid of Weeds in Grass: Complete Guide

Trying Other Methods

Dry your clothes outside

One effective method to eliminate mildew smell is allowing your clothes to dry outside in the sun. Sunlight has natural disinfectant properties that can help kill the mildew spores responsible for the odor. Hanging your clothes outside on a bright day can be an excellent alternative to washing.

Put your clothes in the freezer if you don’t want to wash them

If you have an item of clothing that you don’t want to run through the wash, you can try freezing it instead. Place the clothing in a ziplock bag and seal it tightly. Leave it in the freezer for approximately 24 hours. Freezing helps kill the mildew spores, resulting in a fresher-smelling garment.

Spritz the item with white vinegar or vodka and let it dry

If you have a specific piece of clothing that has developed a mildew smell, you can try spritzing it with either white vinegar or vodka. Both substances have antimicrobial properties that can combat the odor. After spritzing, let the garment air dry thoroughly before wearing.

Seal the item in a bag with activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is known for its ability to absorb odors. Place the affected clothing item in a bag along with some activated charcoal. Seal the bag and let it sit for a few days. The activated charcoal will help absorb the mildew smell, leaving your clothes fresh and clean.

Preventing Mildew from Returning

Hang damp clothes up to dry right away

One of the best ways to prevent mildew smell is to avoid leaving damp clothes lying around. Hang them up to dry as soon as possible after washing or wearing. Properly dried clothes are less likely to develop mildew, ensuring they remain fresh for longer.

Use the recommended amount of detergent

Overloading your laundry machine with excessive detergent can lead to a buildup of soapy residue, which can create a favorable environment for mildew growth. Use the recommended amount of detergent specified for your load size to avoid this issue.

Don’t use fabric softener on your workout clothes

Fabric softener may leave a residue on your workout clothes, which can attract moisture and contribute to mildew growth. Instead, opt for detergents that are specifically designed for athletic wear, as they are formulated to eliminate odors and maintain the fabric’s performance.

Read More :   How to Remove Laminate Flooring: A Step-by-Step Guide

Dry your clothes immediately after you wash them

Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine for an extended period can lead to mildew growth. Once the wash cycle is complete, promptly transfer your clothes to the dryer or hang them up to air dry. Preventing moisture buildup is key in avoiding that pesky mildew smell.

Don’t store your clothes in damp rooms like the bathroom or basement

Mildew thrives in damp environments. Avoid storing your clothes in areas prone to moisture, such as the bathroom or basement. Instead, choose dry and well-ventilated spaces for your clothing storage, reducing the risk of mildew odor development.

Clean your washing machine if your clothes smell worse after washing

If you notice that your clothes come out of the washing machine with an even stronger mildew smell, it’s a clear indication that your machine needs cleaning. Mold and mildew can accumulate in the drum or other parts of the washer, transferring the odor to your clothes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean your machine and prevent further issues.

Expert Tips for Removing Mildew Smell from Clothes

Expert Tip Explanation
Avoid using hot water when washing mildew-smelling clothes Hot water can set the mildew smell, making it more challenging to remove. Stick to cold or warm water for better results.
Add white distilled vinegar to your rinse cycle Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and can help neutralize the mildew smell during the final rinse.
Consider using an enzyme-based laundry pretreatment spray Enzymes found in these sprays break down organic matter, including mildew spores, effectively eliminating the odor.
Don’t overcrowd your washing machine Giving your clothes enough space to move freely will result in a more thorough cleaning, minimizing the chances of mildew development.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use bleach to remove mildew smell from clothes?

A: While bleach can effectively kill mildew spores, it may not always eliminate the accompanying odor. Additionally, bleach can damage certain fabrics, so it’s best to opt for alternative methods.

Q: How can I get the mildew smell out of vintage clothing?

A: Vintage clothing requires extra care. Start by spot testing a small, inconspicuous area with the chosen cleaning method. If it’s safe, proceed with the method mentioned previously, ensuring you handle the garment delicately to preserve its integrity.

Q: Can a professional dry cleaner remove mildew smell?

A: Yes, professional dry cleaners have the experience and expertise to remove mildew smell from clothes effectively. Be sure to inform them about the issue so they can take appropriate measures.

Q: Is mildew smell harmful to my health?

A: Mildew smell itself is not typically harmful. However, exposure to mildew can trigger allergies or respiratory issues in sensitive individuals. It’s best to address the issue promptly to maintain a healthy living environment.

Q: What if I’ve tried all the methods, but the mildew smell persists?

A: If the odor remains despite your efforts, it may be advisable to consult a professional mold remediation specialist. They can assess the situation and provide expert advice on how to eliminate the smell effectively.


We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge and techniques to confidently tackle the mildew smell in your clothes. By following the methods outlined, you can enjoy fresh, odor-free garments once again. Remember to stay vigilant in preventive measures to ensure mildew stays far away from your clothing. For more helpful articles, be sure to browse our collection and continue your journey towards a cleaner and fresher wardrobe.

Leave a Comment