Remove mildew smell from laundry with the help of vinegar. Mildew emits a characteristically musty smell. The unpleasant, and all too familiar, smell of mildew gets trapped in clothing if a load of laundry is allowed to sit in the moist environment of a washing machine for too long. Vinegar has been used for generations to neutralize unpleasant odors. It is one of the oldest home remedies for odor removal.
Use White Vinegar
If you do not already own a bottle of white vinegar, purchase a jug from any store. It is inexpensive and extremely useful. Put the affected mildew-smelling clothes in the washing machine, and proceed as if it is a normal load of laundry. When the washer has finished filling up with water, add one to three cups of white vinegar to the water. Make sure to switch the clothing into the dryer as soon as the washer turns off, and all of the mildew scent should be completely gone.
When not to Add Detergent
If the clothes that smell like mildew are already in the washer (and smell like mildew because they were left in the washing machine too long) you need not apply laundry detergent, only vinegar and water.