How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Clothes

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Clothes


The musty smell in your clothes is the result of mold or mildew growing on them. This can happen to clothes that have been in a dark and humid place for too long, or it can be a sign that your washing machine or dryer contains mold or mildew.

The most common ways to remove mildew smells from clothes:

  • Check your washing machine and dryer for mold. If your clothes smell musty right after a wash, mold may be present in your washer. To clean the mold inside the machine, run an empty cycle with hot water and bleach or detergent.
  • If that doesn’t work, carefully disassemble the washer and clean any mold you find with hot water and a cleaning product. Have your washer serviced if the task is too difficult.
  • In case your clothes smell musty because they are infested with mold, you need to wash them. Add a mold inhibiting product, such as bleach, vinegar, baking soda, ammonia or borax, to the washing cycle.
  • When using bleach, check for “do not bleach” warnings on clothes first. Add the laundry and detergent in the machine, then start a normal cycle. Pause the cycle when the washer has filled with water, then add a cup of bleach and resume the wash. Alternatively, soak the clothes in a solution of 1 cup of bleach and 2 gallons of hot water for at least one hour.
  • Instead of bleach, you can use vinegar, baking soda, borax or ammonia in a similar way. Start a washing cycle with your laundry and detergent, then and add a cup of the product you prefer. Stop the cycle when the clothes have become soaked and wait at least one hour before you turn it back on. Pausing the cycle while the clothes are wet will allow the chosen product to fight the mold.
  • WARNING: never mix ammonia with bleach, as it creates toxic fumes that can harm your lungs.

To prevent clothes from smelling musty, dry them out immediately after washing. Consider letting them dry outside, in the sun, as heat and light inhibits mold growth. If you need help after experiencing mold, water or fire damage, contact Purofirst!