How to Remove Mildew Smell from Clothing

What You'll Need
Baking soda
Sheet of fabric softener
Oxygen bleach

You need to remove the mildew smell from clothes. There’s nothing worse than going around smelling of mildew all day. Taking care of the problem as soon as you notice it is important. The mildew smell grows when clothes have been kept in an area with mildew. It’s not difficult to remove the mildew smell and leave clothes smelling clean and fresh.

Step 1 - Vinegar

As the water is running in the washing machine, add ¼ cup vinegar and then put in the clothes from which you need to remove the mildew smell. Once you’ve done that, switch the washing machine off and let the clothes soak in the vinegar solution for an hour.

Step 2 - Washing

After the clothes have soaked for an hour, drain the machine and refill, then wash normally with detergent. After the wash has finished you’ll find this will have removed most of the mildew smell. To take out the rest, allow the clothes to dry outside on the line, where the sun and air will leave them smelling good. In some instances this won’t be possible. If you can’t dry them outside, put the clothes in the dryer with a sheet of fabric softener. This will remove the mildew smell from the clothes.

Step 3 - Smell Won’t Go

There will be occasions when this procedure won’t remove the mildew smell from the clothes. Try going through everything again to see if this will take care of the problem. In most cases it will. It will certainly reduce the smell a great deal.

Step 4 - Baking Soda

To remove a mildew smell that lingers and can’t be removed by repeated washings with vinegar, try baking soda. Use 1 cup of baking soda in the washing machine and wash in a normal cycle, although you’ll achieve the best results with the water as hot as possible. After doing this, let the clothes dry outside if possible.

Step 5 - Detergents

There are detergents made for hunters that claim to eliminate all scents and should be able to remove the mildew smell. These aren’t always easy to find, so try an outdoor store that specializes in hunting gear, or check online. Use ¼ cup of the detergent along with a scoop of oxygen bleach, which is available from most supermarkets, and add in some fabric softener if you wish. If you use this method it’s advisable to put the clothes in the dryer after washing and let the heat remove the mildew smell that might remain in the clothes.

Although this method is usually a very reliable way to remove the mildew smell from clothes, it uses chemicals to achieve its end, which isn’t the case with vinegar or baking soda. You’ll be putting chemicals into the water table. Vinegar and baking soda ofter a softer, greener solution to the mildew problem and should take care of it most of the time.