How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes – Remove Mold and Odor

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

You have mold and mildew on your clothes. But what can you do with those smells stuck in the fibers? It’s such a difficult task to find a permanent solution because there are so many options that it becomes overwhelming.

There are certain things that need to be done when dealing with a mildew smell. One of them is washing your clothes in warm water without soap and then drying them at the hottest setting on your dryer, but this doesn’t always work.

This article will teach you how to remove mildew odor from your clothes and laundry effectively and safely, as well as other natural ways that may work better than others.

What is mildew?

Mildew is a type of fungus that can grow on surfaces like wood, paper, or fabric. It can grow in damp clothes or areas with trapped moisture. It can also be found in the air and in food.

Mildew is caused by high humidity or moisture and poor ventilation. It can cause damage to surfaces and objects, as well as health problems like allergies and respiratory problems.

Clothes and towels are particularly susceptible to mildew growth, as they are made of organic fibers. The smell of mildew can be unpleasant and might fade over time if left alone. However, most likely the smell will not go away on its own. In order to remove the mildew smell from clothes, it is necessary to clean them properly.

What does mildew smell like?

Mildew smells like a mix of mold and musty odors. It is often described as earthy, wet, or dirty. The smell can be very strong and unpleasant, making it difficult to get rid of.

What causes mildew smell in clothes and laundry?

The musty smell of mildew is caused by mold spores that are present in the air. When these spores land on damp clothing or fabric, they can start to grow and multiply.

In addition, one of the reasons why mildew smell in clothes is becoming more common is because people are not taking the necessary precautions. For instance, if you do not air out your clothes after working out, the sweat and bacteria will mix and create a perfect environment for mold to grow.

Furthermore, if you wash your clothes in a washing machine with other items, the washer will not be able to clean them properly and they will come out with a musty smell. There are other methods that can be used to get rid of the smell, such as using vinegar or baking soda.

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes and Towels – Remove Mold and Odor in 7 Easy Ways

Here, you will learn various ways to get rid of that pesky mildew odor in your clothes and laundry room by using natural methods.

1. White Vinegar – The Number One Solution to Remove Musty Clothing and Laundry Smell

White Vinegar is one of the most versatile and effective ingredients that can be used to remove stains as well as odors from clothing and laundry. It is also a great way to clean detergent and hard water build-up on fabrics.

In addition, you can replace your fabric softener with white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Add one cup per load for top load washers and ¼ to ½ cup for front loaders. Secondly, washing your musty towels in hot water with a full cup of white vinegar and no detergent will remove the odor.

2. Use Baking Soda as a Natural Mildew Odors Remover

Baking soda is a white powdery substance that can be used for baking or to remove mildew odors from clothes and towels. To use it for laundry, you can add it to your detergent or soak the items in a baking soda and water solution.

Baking soda is a natural odor remover and can be used safely on most fabrics. However, it’s important to test it on an inconspicuous area first, as baking soda can damage some fabrics.

3. Use Laundry Booster Like Borax to Erase the Musty Smell

Borax can be used to erase musty smells from clothes and towels. You can find borax at most stores in the laundry aisle. Add 1/2 cup of borax to your wash cycle when you have smelly clothes or towels.

4. Spray Enzyme Odor Removers to Eliminate Mildew Smell Caused by Sweat on Your Clothes

An enzyme odor remover is a product that uses enzymes to break down organic matter, like sweat, that’s causing the mildew smell in your clothes. To use it, just spray it on the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes. Then wash your clothes as usual.

Enzyme odor removers are very effective at removing mildew smells caused by sweat. However, they can be expensive and may not work on all types of fabrics.

5. Make use of Laundry Enhancers

Laundry enhancers are additives that can be used with regular laundry detergent to improve its performance. Most grocery stores or online retailers sell laundry enhancers, and instructions for use can be found on the packaging.

6. Direct Sunlight Exposure – Let Your Clothes Air Dry for Naturally Fresh Scent

Hang your clothes outside in direct sunlight for a few hours to dry them. If possible, put them on a clothesline or drying rack to get maximum air circulation. Let them dry completely before bringing them back inside.

Why it works:

  1. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and will kill any mold or mildew spores on your clothes.
  2. The fresh air will also help to remove any musty odors from your clothing.
  3. Drying your clothes in the sun will also help to prevent them from developing mildew smells in the future by keeping moisture levels low.
  4. Clothes that are hung up to dry inside can often develop musty smells due to the lack of ventilation, so hanging them outside is a great way to keep them smelling fresh all the time.


  1. Don’t leave your clothes out in the sun for too long, as this can cause colors to fade and fabric damage
  2. Be sure to bring your clothes inside before nightfall, as damp clothing left out overnight can attract insects
  3. If you have sensitive skin, avoid hanging laundry outside on days when there is a high pollen count as this can cause irritation

7. Always Clean Up Your Closet to Minimize Musty Smell

1. Air out your closet regularly

At least once a week, open the doors to your closet and let fresh air circulate for a few minutes. This will help to prevent musty smells from developing in the first place.

2. Vacuum your closet regularly

Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt from the shelves, floor and corners of your closet. Doing this once a week will also help to keep musty smells at bay.

3. Wipe down surfaces with a mild cleaning solution.

If you notice that your closet is starting to develop a musty smell, wipe down all of the surfaces with a mild cleaning solution (like diluted vinegar) to freshen things up.

There are several products on the market that can help to eliminate musty smells from closets and other storage areas in your home:

Closet fresheners:

These come in both spray and gel form and can be used to quickly eliminate musty odors from closets (and other small spaces). Simply spritz or apply as directed and enjoy fresh-smelling closets for months at a time!

Closet odor absorbers:

These products work by absorbing excess moisture and odors from the air, helping to keep closets smelling fresh and clean. Place them on shelves or in the corners of your closet and enjoy fresh-smelling air for up to six months.

Closet dehumidifiers:

These devices help to remove excess moisture from the air, which can be a major contributor to musty smells in closets (and other small spaces). Simply place them in your closet and let them do their job.

It’s important to keep your closet clean and well-organized to prevent musty smells. Tidy up your closet each week, and store clothes, linens, shoes, etc. in airtight containers or bags when not in use.

This will help protect them from dust, dirt and moisture that can cause musty odors to develop over time.

How can borax help remove foul odor from clothing?

Borax is a natural mineral with antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is often used as a laundry booster or cleaner.

Borax is a popular cleaning staple that can be used to remove any persistent stains and odor from your household. It is also effective in removing musty smell from bulky items like towels, bedsheets, and more.

To remove a foul odor from clothing, borax can be added to a bathtub of water and the clothes can then be washed as normal. The borax will help to absorb the unwanted smell and leave the clothes smelling fresh once again.

How to use borax:

Add 1/2 cup of borax to your laundry detergent. You can also make a paste of Borax and water to pre-treat stains before washing.


Borax can help remove foul odors from clothing by killing the bacteria that cause the odor.

How to Prevent Laundry from Mildewing

Here is everything you need on preventing laundry from becoming moldy and mildewy.

Let Clothes Dry Fully in order to get rid of cloth mustiness

Mildew is a type of fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments. When laundry is not properly dried, it can create the perfect conditions for mildew to form.

The best way to prevent mildew from forming on your laundry is to make sure that clothes are completely dry before storing them. If you’re hanging clothes to dry, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area.

You can also try using a dehumidifier in your home to keep the air dry and reduce the risk of mildew growth.

What to do if you already have mildew:

If you find that your laundry has already developed mildew, it’s important to act quickly. Start by washing the affected items in hot water with a bleach-based detergent.

You can then dry them on high heat or hang them outside in direct sunlight. Once they’re completely dry, store them in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to wear them again.

Avoid Excess Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is an important part of getting clothes clean, but it’s also important to use the right amount. Excess laundry detergent can leave a residue on clothes that will cause them to mildew.

By using the right amount of detergent and following the instructions on the product, you can avoid this issue and get your clothes clean and smelling fresh.

Pre-measured laundry detergent packs are a great way to avoid the over-pouring laundry detergent and leaving behind dulling residue, excess odor, and spots on clothes. The packs contain detergent, stain-fighting power, and odor-removing ingredients for a perfect clean every time.

Soften Hard Water

Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cause a variety of problems, including making it difficult to get laundry clean.

If you have hard water, it’s likely that you’ve noticed mineral buildup in your washer and on your clothes. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also lead to unpleasant smells and the formation of hard water spots on faucets and glass shower doors.

Thankfully, there is a solution: installing a water softener. A water softener will reduce the amount of minerals in your water, which will help to prevent mildew smells and end those pesky hard water spots.

Skip the Fabric Softener

Skip the fabric softener to avoid trapping odors like sweat and mildew. If your freshly laundered clothes still smell like body odor or mildew, rewash them with an enzyme odor remover but don’t use any fabric softener. You may even want to replace fabric softener with vinegar in your detergent dispenser.

There are many benefits to using alternatives to fabric softeners. Vinegar and baking soda are both natural products that will not harm the environment as some commercial fabric softeners can.

They are also much cheaper than buying fabric softeners at the store. And finally, they work just as well (if not better!) at making clothes feel softer and smell fresher.

Clean Your Load Washers

To clean your washer and get rid of mildew, start by running an empty cycle with hot water and vinegar. You can also add bleach to the cycle if you have a front-loading washer.

After the cycle is complete, wipe down the inside of the machine with a cloth soaked in vinegar water. For extra cleaning power, you can also use a commercial washing machine cleaner

Always Dry your Bath Towels

Bath towels are often left damp after use, which can lead to mildew growth. Drying them thoroughly after each use can help prevent this. Hang your bath towel on a hook or over a towel rack to air dry. If you’re in a hurry, you can also toss it in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes.

FAQ on Removing Mildew Smell from Clothes and Laundry Material

Can you prevent mildew smell on clothes?

Yes, you can prevent mildew smell on clothes by taking a few preventative measures. Firstly, avoid using heavily perfumed detergents when washing clothes that have a musty smell.

Secondly, try to remove the source of the smell instead of covering it up with a stronger scent.

Lastly, treat your bath towels to vinegar and baking soda once a month- especially during the humid summer months- to help keep smells at bay.

Don’t let wet clothes sit in a hamper or laundry basket. -Hang wet clothes up to dry as soon as possible. -Keep your laundry room well-ventilated.

Why Do My Clothes Smell After Washing Them?

There are several reasons why your clothes might still be smelling badly after being washed. It could be that you didn’t use enough detergent, used the wrong kind of detergent, have hard water, or your washing machine isn’t draining properly.

Can mildew smell be washed out of clothes?

Yes, mildew smell can be washed out of clothes. If your clothes smell musty, there are a few things you can do to try and remove the mildew smell. First, wash the item in warm water with mild detergent.

You can also add vinegar to the wash cycle, as vinegar is known for its ability to kill mold and mildew. If the item is still smelling musty after washing, you can try soaking it in a mixture of water and vinegar for 30 minutes before washing again.

Once your clothes have been washed, it’s important to dry them completely to prevent mold and mildew growth. If possible, dry your clothes outside in the sun as sunlight has natural mold-killing properties.

You can also use a clothesline or drying rack inside your home if sunlight isn’t an option. If you must use a dryer, make sure to set it on the hottest setting possible so that your clothes will be completely dried.

To prevent musty smells in your clothing, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in plastic bags as this can create an environment that is conducive to mold and mildew growth.

Be sure to wash your clothes regularly and thoroughly dry them after washing to prevent musty smells from developing.

What takes mildew smell out of clothes?

There are a few ways to remove the mildew smell from clothes- one is by using heavily perfumed detergents which will just cover up the smell and another is by cleaning your closet and taking care of any pet stains.

The best way, however, is to treat your bath towels with vinegar and baking soda once a month during the humid summer months.

Wash your clothes immediately after use, especially if they’ve been exposed to moisture or sweat. Store clean, dry items in a well-ventilated area.

Can you put moldy clothes in the washing machine?

Yes, you can put moldy clothes in the washing machine to remove the smell of mildew from your clothing. You will need to mix one cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water and pre-soak the clothing for at least an hour.

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