How To Get The Smell Of Mildew Out Of Clothes?

Do you often find yourself dealing with the unpleasant odor of mildew on your clothes? Worry no more, as this article will equip you with effective techniques to eliminate that persistent smell. Discover the causes behind mildew odor in clothes, learn pre-treatment methods to remove stains, explore various washing techniques, and explore natural remedies for deodorizing. Additionally, we will provide tips and tricks to prevent mildew smell in clothes. Say goodbye to that unwanted musky scent, and embrace freshness and cleanliness once again.

Key Takeaways

  • Dampness and improper storage conditions contribute to mildew odor in clothes.
  • Using specialized stain remover targeting mold and mildew growth helps in removing mildew stains.
  • Washing clothes with a hot water and vinegar combination eliminates mildew smell effectively.
  • Natural remedies like lemon juice, baking soda, and essential oils can help deodorize mildew-infested clothes.

Understand the Causes of Mildew Odor in Clothes

Frequently, mildew odor in clothes is caused by dampness and improper storage conditions. When clothes are left in a damp environment, such as a basement or a bathroom, they are more susceptible to developing a musty odor. This odor is a result of the growth of mold and mildew on the fabric. Improper storage conditions, such as leaving clothes wet or not allowing them to fully dry before storing, can also contribute to the formation of mildew odor. Additionally, if clothes are stored in a dark and poorly ventilated area, it creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. To remove the mildew smell from clothes, it is important to wash them with a laundry detergent that contains bleach or vinegar, as these substances help to kill the mold and mildew. Furthermore, drying the clothes in direct sunlight can also help eliminate the musty odor.

Pre-Treatment: Removing Mildew Stains


As part of the pre-treatment process for removing mildew stains, it is crucial to apply a specialized stain remover that targets mold and mildew growth on the fabric. This step is essential to ensure effective stain removal and prevent further damage to the fabric. The specialized stain remover works by breaking down the mold and mildew, allowing it to be easily washed away during the regular cleaning process.

To choose the right stain remover, it is important to consider the fabric type and the severity of the stain. Here is a table outlining some popular stain removers and their effectiveness on different fabric types:

Stain Remover Cotton Wool Silk
Bleach Effective Not advised Not advised
Hydrogen Peroxide Effective Not advised Not advised
Vinegar Effective Effective Effective
Lemon Juice Effective Effective Effective

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using stain removers and to test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the entire stain. Regular fabric care and prompt stain removal will help maintain the longevity and cleanliness of your clothing.

Washing Methods to Eliminate Mildew Smell

To effectively eliminate the mildew smell from clothes, using a combination of hot water and vinegar in the washing machine can be a highly efficient method. Here are four reasons why this technique is recommended:

  1. Effective odor removal: The heat from hot water helps to kill any remaining mildew spores, while vinegar acts as a natural deodorizer, neutralizing the unpleasant smell.
  2. Gentle on fabrics: Unlike harsh chemical-based cleaners, vinegar is a natural and mild solution that won’t damage or fade your clothes.
  3. Cost-effective: Steam cleaning machines can be expensive to purchase or rent, while vinegar is an affordable and easily accessible household item.
  4. Environmentally friendly: Vinegar is a non-toxic and biodegradable alternative to conventional cleaning products, making it a more eco-friendly choice.

Natural Remedies for Deodorizing Mildew-Infested Clothes


Using lemon juice or baking soda, along with proper ventilation, can be effective natural remedies for deodorizing mildew-infested clothes. Mildew, which is caused by moisture and lack of ventilation, can leave a persistent musty smell on fabrics. Lemon juice, known for its natural deodorizing properties, can be applied directly to the affected area. Simply squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with water. Baking soda, another powerful deodorizer, can be sprinkled onto the clothes and left overnight. In the morning, shake off the excess baking soda and wash the clothes as usual. For an extra boost of freshness, you can also add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or tea tree, to your laundry detergent. Additionally, vinegar can be used as a natural deodorizer by adding a cup to your laundry cycle. These natural remedies not only eliminate the mildew smell but also leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Preventing Mildew Smell in Clothes: Tips and Tricks

How can one effectively prevent the unpleasant mildew smell from lingering on clothes? This is a common question many individuals ask, especially those who live in humid areas or have limited storage space. To help you tackle this issue, here are four tips and tricks to prevent the mildew smell in clothes:

  1. Proper storage solutions: Ensure that your clothes are stored in a well-ventilated area. Avoid storing them in damp basements or humid closets, as this can promote the growth of mildew.
  2. Use baking soda: Place a small container filled with baking soda in your closet or storage area. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can help absorb moisture and eliminate odors.
  3. Wash clothes promptly: Don’t leave damp or sweaty clothes lying around for too long. Wash them as soon as possible to prevent the growth of mildew.
  4. Dry clothes thoroughly: Make sure your clothes are completely dry before storing them. Hanging them outside to air dry under the sun is a great way to eliminate moisture and prevent mildew.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take for Clothes to Develop a Mildew Smell?

The development of a mildew smell in clothes can vary depending on factors such as humidity, moisture, and lack of ventilation. Understanding how to prevent this odor and the common causes is essential in maintaining fresh-smelling garments.

Is It Safe to Wear Clothes With a Mildew Smell?

Wearing clothes with a mildew smell can have detrimental effects on skin health. It is crucial to find alternative methods to remove the odor without resorting to detergent or bleach, ensuring a safe and pleasant experience.

Can I Use Regular Detergent to Remove Mildew Smell From Clothes?

Regular detergent can be effective in removing mildew smell from clothes, although alternative methods may be more thorough. It is important to consider the fabric type and follow proper washing instructions to ensure the best results.

Can I Use Bleach to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Clothes?

Bleach can be effective in removing mildew smells from clothes, but there are also alternative methods that are safer for fabrics and the environment. Natural remedies, such as vinegar or baking soda, can be equally effective in eliminating the odor.

How Often Should I Wash Clothes to Prevent Mildew Smell?

To prevent the mildew smell in clothes, it is important to follow best practices for washing. This includes washing clothes regularly, using proper detergent, drying them thoroughly, and storing them in a clean, dry place.


In conclusion, eliminating the smell of mildew from clothes requires understanding its causes, pre-treating stains, using appropriate washing methods, and utilizing natural remedies. Additionally, preventing mildew smell in clothes can be achieved through various tips and tricks. According to a study conducted by the American Cleaning Institute, mildew odor is a common issue, affecting approximately 20% of households. By following these guidelines, individuals can effectively remove mildew smell and maintain fresh-smelling clothes.

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