Musty Smell on Clothing

I have a very small closet space in my room, therefore I have to store my clothes in my basement in a closet during the off seasons. Recently, when it was time to switch at the changing of the seasons, I noticed that some of the clothing that had been in the basement closet smelled musty. I can't seem to get rid of it just by washing. Does anybody have any idea how to get the musty smell out of my clothes? Is there any hope at all? I appreciate any help that anyone can give me. Thanks!

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Robin from Washington, IA

Answers:

Musty Smell on Clothing

Well, first off, what is the material made from? If it is a polyester blend, cotton, spandex, etc. you can machine wash it. Add some vinegar to the wash cycle, about a 1/4 cup. If the material is rayon, silk, wool, cashmere, etc., then the outfit needs to be dry cleaned. Both methods of cleaning should bring the garments back to life! (01/31/2005)

By Cavelady

Musty Smell on Clothing

When I have this problem (which is fairly frequent since I shop mostly second-hand shops), before I wash the clothes I let them soak in the machine with vinegar (1 cup per full load) for about an hour. I then drain the water, put in my detergent and wash normally. During the rinse cycle I add 1/2 - 1 cup of vinegar (if the smell has not totally dissipated). I prefer to hang them outside weather permitting, as the fresh air blowing through the cloth takes the rest of the smell (if there is any) away. Hope this helps. (02/01/2005)

By Terry

Musty Smell on Clothing

If it is a washable fabric, try putting vinegar in the rinse water, even let it set in it for awhile. (02/01/2005)

By Beverly in TN

Musty Smell on Clothing

A trick I've used to freshen the smell of anything like clothes, a room, the car, the entry way in the house, a drawer, etc is to use a dryer sheet. Put it near by, under a rug or chair, or in the item. It really smells good! (02/01/2005)

By Buckets

Musty Smell on Clothing

Try washing those things that can be washed, in a vinegar wash. I have added washing soda to the wash cycle as well. Rinse with normal fabric softener rinse. (12/02/2006)

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By ERP

Musty Smell on Clothing

Odo-Ban from Sam's. Use as directed on label. Safe, effective and economical. (12/03/2006)

By Camilla

Musty Smell on Clothing

I wash all of my clothes using the recommended amount of detergent then I add 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar to the wash.
Not only does this remove all odors from your clothes, but it has better whitening results than bleach or non-chlorine bleach.
Good Luck! (01/12/2007)

By Cleo

Musty Smell on Clothing

For years I have struggled with washing and drying my clothes in the dryer and still feeling a light "dampness" to them. If not caught, the clothes smell musty. Then I became "hyper" sensitive to even the smallest amount of moisture on clothes, sometimes even drying them two or more times, but still getting the musty smell! I will try the white vinegar and baking soda and will adjust the humidity in the house. Pray this helps or I quit being a sane mom! (05/25/2007)

By Nancy

Musty Smell on Clothing

Thank you everyone.
I moved in my new house 2 years ago. I have been having escalating problems with my clothes and towels smelling really moldy. It would even actually transfer to my skin. Sometimes a washcloth would smell fine then once it got wet, oh ish. It was driving me crazy. I even had to start allergy meds. I repeatedly tried vinegar. I wanted to pull apart my washer but my husband poo-pooed it because the washer seemed fairly new (came with the house).

Based upon the postings here, I went ahead anyway and pulled my washing machine apart. What the heck, it if I damaged it, so what, I would need a new one anyway. I knew I was on the right track when I pulled off some parts and got a snoot full of air coming from the inside. Sure enough, lint, soap residue and mold all over in the space between the drum and thing that holds it and the upper ring. Cleaned it up and put it all back together.

It is still the first day but I can already tell that worked. Next time I will try the smelly washer stuff. I have switched to powder deter.
Thanks again (05/26/2007)

By Julie

Musty Smell on Clothing

I get a big plastic bucket, big enough to hold a load of laundry, fill it with water and pour in about 2 tablespoons of bleach mix it around then put the moldy smelling clothes in it for about an hour or so then wash as normal. Works like a charm. (07/03/2007)

By Julie

Musty Smell on Clothing

I have tried the whole baking soda and vinegar thing, but I did something different that I hope will work for you.

I washed my canvas backpacks about 5+ times with the vinegar and baking soda and it didn't work. So I added the baking soda to the wash and quickly after, the vinegar. It still smelled musty, even when wet, so I added 2 capfuls of Downy Lavender and Vanilla fabric softener to the first rinse cycle, then another capful on the second rinse cycle (I did a power wash) and the smell is gone and the backpacks are nice and soft!

Good luck! (07/06/2007)

By Babyface

Musty Smell on Clothing

If the item is washable, put white vinegar in washer with the detergent, agitate a few minutes, then let soak for an hour or more. The musty smell will vanish. I suggest you use at least a cup of white vinegar depending on how large the load is. (10/03/2007)

By Henrie Osborne

Musty Smell on Clothing

For musty clothing there is a product sold called Purewasher. All it takes is soaking all your clothing and towels with a tablespoon of the cleaner for a couple of hours and no more mildew or basement smell! It'll clean fungus from your washing machine too! (10/13/2007)

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By Joan

Musty Smell on Clothing

Yes! OZONE MACHINES work & work VERY WELL, but you have to use care! We had a home fire & the pros brought in a BIG professional size Ozone generator & they said that it was important that no one was in the house while it was running (I think it may remove oxygen?). Ozone machines remove any & all traces of smoke & other smells, but don't run a large one while your at home & never run a smaller one when your in (or near) that room! (No matter WHAT the directions may say!)

* The trick the pros taught us, was to add one can of (regular) coca cola (not sugar-free) per load in the washing machine to remove smells. It's TRULY AMAZING how just one can of coke removed any & all traces of smoke from our clothes! (Wonder what it does to our insides?) (02/07/2008)

By Cyinda

Musty Smell on Clothing

I use Lysol Concentrate in my washing. It deodorizes and disinfect the clothing. (04/28/2008)

By Diane

Musty Smell on Clothing

Hi there, We have a front loading washer and were having the same problems.The repair man told us to use automatic Dishwasher detergent and to start an empty load at the hottest setting. Then pause it for a awhile. Then run the empty load through. It helped, it cleans the hoses and washing machine of the soap build up. Sorry I got a front loader now:( (07/05/2008)

By Mama-T

Musty Smell on Clothing

I use borax and washing soda in the washer. They freshen and remove odors. Actually, I use them with half the laundry liquid called for, and have low-sudsing (and cheaper detergent) for my front-loader. (07/31/2008)

By Nancy

Musty Smell on Clothing

Use about 3/4 cup automatic dishwasher detergent in your washing machine. I have had to do this with musty smelling towels. (08/02/2008)

By Lori

Musty Smell on Clothing

Easy! Just get a drying rack and place outside if it is possible leave out for a number of hours. Or even better an outside line And the last resort place clothing on grass outside for a whole day You would be surprised at the results. Tricks from my Scottish mother. (08/24/2008)

By donald.

Musty Smell on Clothing

I had towels I thought I would never rid mildew smell of - one word: OxyClean! The guy on the commercial is obnoxious, but I used 1/2 required liquid detergent and 2 to 4 TBLS of this stuff along with fabric softener (not dryer sheets). I wash every load of clothes this way all the time now and don't have to worry about that smell any more. (09/29/2008)

By VChenz

Musty Smell on Clothing and towels, etc... solutions

Your local professional dry cleaner can take care of this issue. If you want to do it yourself, this is how I do it:

Odors from towels. Causes: folding of towel after use and leaving within a dank environment is a breeding grounds for germs and molds. Use a towel bar and let dry without folding. How to remove odor. I use a top loader at home, Start by filling with water warm-hot temp, at largest capacity, once about half full add 1/4 cup of bleach, any type will work, then let it fill. Once it is about to go onto the next cycle, pause the unit, you can use detergent if you'd like, personally I use A&H baking soda, about a cup and a half, let the washer actuate a bit to mix then pause.

Now before you handle any article of fabric change your gloves or wash hands 3 times over. You may want to wear something u care less for. Put the towels, into the washer and let them sit for about 30-60 minutes then let the washer cycle. This will also keep your machine smelling nice.

Try to dry your clothes right after the laundry is done. If using a dryer make sure you over dry, but always read your garment label on drying care. It is better to hang your clothes after drying vs folding, something that may feel dry, still may have steam trapped which eventually materializes back to it's solid form, and leaves you with the dreaded funk smell. So over dry, especially socks, undies, boxers, towels. (10/04/2008)

By Your local Dry Cleaners in CA

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