How to Remove Mildew And Mold Odors From Fabric

We’ve all experienced that moment when you open up a closet/chest of drawers/wardrobe and been hit with that awful, musty smell. Sometimes, it’s enough to make you run from the room gagging. 

Unfortunately, this is caused by mildew and mold that’s begun to grow on your clothes, often because of moisture left behind from the washing machine (or due to leak, flooding, or excess moisture in the air of your home). 

Here’s the good news: it’s totally possible to get rid of the smell (and mildew) and leave your clothes feeling and smelling fresh again. Here’s all you need to do:

Get Musty Clothes Clean

Start by gathering up all the musty clothes you have, and then follow these simple steps:

  • Run the musty clothes in the washer with white vinegar or baking soda to remove the mildew smell and kill any mold spores (note: hot water is also a good idea here, but only do what your clothes can handle). Do not use detergent.
  • Once the wash cycle is complete, check your clothes to ensure the smell is gone. If it lingers, you may want to combine the baking soda and vinegar instead of an either/or.
  • When the must is gone, rewash your clothes, this time with detergent like you normally do. 
  • Dry promptly and thoroughly, again checking to ensure the musty smell is gone for good. 

This method works for the vast majority of clothes, but keep in mind that you still can get mold on delicate or dry clean only clothes as well. In these cases, you’ll need to be extra cautious and make sure you work with a professional to ensure the mildew is removed properly. 

And in the future, try to remember to thoroughly check your clothes for dryness as they’re coming out of the dryer, or give a quick sniff if you’ve left your clothes sit in the washing machine too long. With a little extra vigilance, you can avoid this problem altogether and keep your clothes smelling fresh as ever. 

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