How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

In this guide, we’ll explore various techniques about How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes, ensuring they smell as good as new.

Mildew smell in clothes can be incredibly frustrating. Whether your clothes have been left damp for too long or stored in a humid environment, that musty odor can be challenging to eliminate.

Fortunately, there are effective methods to get rid of mildew smell and restore your clothes to their fresh, clean state.

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

Mildew is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, warm environments. When clothes are exposed to moisture for extended periods, mildew can develop, leading to that characteristic musty odor.

It’s essential to address the smell promptly to prevent mildew from spreading and causing potential health issues.

Effective Methods to Remove Mildew Smell from Clothes

White Vinegar Solution

White vinegar is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant, making it an excellent choice for removing mildew smell from clothes.


  • Fill your washing machine with hot water.
  • Add two cups of white vinegar.
  • Let the clothes soak in the vinegar solution for at least an hour.
  • Wash the clothes as usual with your regular detergent.

White vinegar works by neutralizing the odors and breaking down mildew spores. It’s also safe to use on most fabrics, making it a versatile solution for various types of clothing.

Baking Soda Boost

Baking soda is another natural deodorizer that can help neutralize odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh.


  • Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda directly into the washing machine drum along with your clothes.
  • Add your regular detergent and wash on a hot water cycle.
  • For stubborn odors, let the clothes soak in the baking soda solution for an hour before washing.

Baking soda is highly effective at absorbing and neutralizing odors. It also helps to soften clothes and can be safely used on most fabrics. For particularly stubborn smells, consider creating a paste with baking soda and water and applying it directly to the affected areas before washing.

Sunlight and Fresh Air

Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and can help eliminate mildew odors from clothes.


  • Hang your clothes outside in direct sunlight.
  • Let them air out for several hours. The combination of sunlight and fresh air will help kill mildew spores and remove the smell.

The ultraviolet rays from the sun help to break down mildew spores and other bacteria that cause odors. Additionally, the fresh air can help to naturally ventilate the fabric, removing any lingering smells. This method is particularly effective for delicate fabrics that may not withstand multiple washes.

Tea Tree Oil Treatment

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties that can help eliminate mildew odor.


  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled with water.
  • Spray the mixture onto the affected areas of your clothes.
  • Let the clothes sit for an hour before washing as usual.

Tea tree oil not only helps to remove odors but also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it an excellent natural disinfectant. Ensure that you use a diluted solution, as pure tea tree oil can be too strong and might damage certain fabrics.

Lemon Juice Rinse

Lemon juice is a natural deodorizer and can help remove mildew smells.


  • Mix a cup of lemon juice with a gallon of hot water.
  • Soak the clothes in the solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • Wash the clothes as usual with your regular detergent.

Lemon juice has natural bleaching properties and a pleasant citrus scent that can help to refresh your clothes. It is particularly effective on white or light-colored fabrics but should be used cautiously on darker clothes to avoid discoloration.

Preventing Mildew Smell in Clothes

Preventing mildew odor is easier than dealing with it after it develops. Here are some tips to keep your clothes smelling fresh:

  • Dry Clothes Thoroughly: Always ensure your clothes are completely dry before storing them. Even a small amount of moisture can lead to mildew growth.
  • Use Moisture Absorbers: Place moisture absorbers, like silica gel packets, in your wardrobe to reduce humidity. These are particularly useful in areas with high humidity.
  • Store Clothes Properly: Store clothes in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Avoid plastic bags, which can trap moisture. Instead, use breathable garment bags or storage bins.

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Q1: Can I use bleach to remove the mildew smell from clothes?

  • A: Yes, bleach can effectively kill mildew and remove odors. However, it’s essential to check the care label on your clothes to ensure they can be safely bleached. Use bleach only on white or colorfast garments to avoid discoloration.

Q2: How often should I wash clothes to prevent mildew smell?

  • A: Regularly wash clothes that are exposed to sweat and moisture. For items like towels and workout gear, washing after each use is recommended. For other garments, follow the care instructions and avoid letting them stay damp for extended periods.

Q3: Can mildew smell cause health issues?

  • A: Prolonged exposure to mildew and mold can cause respiratory issues and allergies. It’s crucial to address mildew smells promptly to avoid health problems. Ensure proper ventilation in storage areas and regularly clean spaces prone to moisture buildup.

Q4: What should I do if the mildew smell persists after washing?

  • A: If the smell persists, repeat the washing process with white vinegar or baking soda. Consider using a specialized mildew odor remover for tough cases. Additionally, ensure the washing machine is clean, as buildup in the machine can contribute to persistent odors.


Mildew smell in clothes can be stubborn, but with the right techniques, you can effectively remove it and keep your garments smelling fresh. Using natural deodorizers like white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, along with preventive measures, will ensure your clothes remain odor-free. Don’t let mildew ruin your favorite outfits – follow these tips and enjoy fresh-smelling clothes every day.

By addressing mildew smell promptly and taking preventive steps, you can maintain a fresh and clean wardrobe all year round. Happy laundering!

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