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3 Ways to Remove Mildew Smell from Clothing

April 30, 2024

Persistent mildew smells in clothing can indeed transform a clean laundry pile into a less-than-inviting chore. If you’re grappling with lingering musty odors, fear not. Here are three effective methods endorsed by cleaning professionals to eradicate mildew smells from your clothing, ensuring your garments emerge fresh and odor-free.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Wash

Using vinegar and baking soda is one of the most reliable ways to tackle the mildew smell in clothing. These household items are not only economical but also environmentally friendly.

How It Works:

With its acetic acid content, vinegar is excellent at breaking down mold and mildew while neutralizing odors. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleanser, making it perfect for removing entrenched smells.


Add one cup of white vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle. This will help disinfect the fabric and eliminate any lingering odors. After the vinegar rinse, sprinkle half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum of your washing machine with your clothes and run a regular wash cycle with warm water. This combination not only helps eliminate odors but also softens your clothes.

The Sun-Drying Technique

Sunlight is a natural mold and mildew killer and works exceptionally well in removing odors from clothes. Its ultraviolet rays can help break down mold embedded in the fabric, which is often the source of the smell.

How It Works:

The sun’s UV rays have natural bleaching and disinfectant properties that kill mold spores and bacteria, effectively removing odors without using chemicals.


After washing your clothes as usual, hang them to dry in direct sunlight. Ensure the clothes are fully exposed to the sun, turning them over once to ensure both sides receive ample sunlight. This method is particularly effective on a hot, sunny day and can also help whiten whites and brighten colors naturally.

Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils not only mask odors but can also combat the bacteria and fungi responsible for them. Oils like tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus are known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties.

How It Works:

Essential oils have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that help fight the microbes that cause mildew and other unpleasant odors in clothes.


Add 10-15 drops of your chosen essential oil to a small cloth or towel. Place this in the washing machine while washing your clothes. Alternatively, you can add a few drops directly to the rinse cycle. Not only will this help in removing the mildew smell, but it will also leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Additional Tips

-Prioritize thoroughly drying your clothes before storage, as moisture fosters mildew growth.

-Maintain your washing machine regularly to thwart mold and mildew buildup, which could transfer onto your clothes.

-If persistent odors persist, consider repeating or combining these remedies for heightened efficacy.

Implementing these techniques can rejuvenate your clothes, eliminating the bothersome mildew scent. Whether opting for sun drying, a vinegar and baking soda wash, or infusing with essential oils, each approach provides a pragmatic solution to maintaining fresh-smelling garments.

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