Removing Mildew Smell from Clothes?

February 10, 2007

I can't seem to get rid of mildew odors from my clothes. I never once had this problem before. I don't have a dryer to dry the clothes. I heard vinegar is good to get rid of smell but will your clothes smell like vinegar? I put my clothes on the racks and over the radiators. I don't know what to do anymore.


Heavenly from Canada


February 10, 20070 found this helpful

If they don't dry fast enough they will smell like mildew, plain and simple. If you have a load that mildew smell is abound in, vinegar will do the trick. And no they won't smell like vinegar. A cup of Borax and a cup of vinegar in the rinse load will take it out.

My suggestions for drying clothes. If you have to do it at home, do it on a rack next to the radiator (I did laundry in a tub in my shower many a times and dryed this way in my single days). Or if you have a small bathroom, rack up all the clothes, hang some on the shower stall and stick a small heater inside the bathroom, or a rotating fan, leave on until dry.

Or just wash all the laundry, save some quarters and take to the laundry mat, those dryers can dry up the ocean if you put enough quarters in there, they are HOT!

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By Jeannie (Guest Post)
February 12, 20070 found this helpful

wash them in baking soda and let them soak for a while. I get all kinds of odors out of stuff by doing this. once in a while it'll take a couple of runs through the washer but it does work. They say use a cup of baking soda to a load but if the odor is really bad I use more.


Its never hurt our clothes and I now add it to every load I wash odors or not. Another bonus is it cuts through soap/ softner build up in your clothes and makes towels soft without affecting their absorbancy!

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By (Guest Post)
February 14, 20070 found this helpful

Depending on the fabric, as long as it is not wool or rayon, you can put 1/2 a cup of bleach down in the water with the detergent as it is filling. Add the clothes and let it soak for about 10 minutes. This will remove the smell. For the past 2 years, I have tried to rarely use my dryer. I hang everything I can on a hanger. For socks and underwear, I hang them on a hanger with clothespins by lining them up and hanging them by the edge. Allow adquate air space when things dry and they won't smell.

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By erika b. (Guest Post)
August 29, 20070 found this helpful

See "washing machine smell" listing on this website!

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January 11, 20080 found this helpful

Boy do I have a solution for all you! I bought this fabulous wool coat from a second hand store a few weeks ago but the only problem with it was that it reeked of mildew. I decided that the sweater was worth the challenge of removing the smell so I bought it. As you know, wool is one of the toughest clothing materials to remove mildew smells from but I wanted to try. If nothing else has worked for you, follow my system... it's worth the time and effort cause IT WORKED. So, I soaked the coat in a vinegar/water bath for 24 hours. (Make sure that the mix is about 75% vinegar to 25% water.) During that 24 hours I "churned" the coat to make sure that every single inch was consistently absorbing the bath. Then I washed it and hung it out to dry.


About 50% of the smell had been removed so then, and you're going to love this, I was out of baking soda so I put the coat into a new bath of water mixed with a baking soda based CAT LITTER DEODORIZER. I laughed as I did this, but what kills smells better than cat litter deodorizer! (I used the one by Arm % Hammer btw.) I soaked and churned the coat in this new bath for another 24 hours and then washed and bleached it, using a non-chlorine color safe bleach, hung it out to dry and wha-la! No smell! Seriously folks, this coat had a gag-worthy smell and my system worked. So, everyone who says that using vinegar, baking soda, and bleach individually don't work, use ALL of them but include the cat deodorizer. Your welcome. Xoxo.

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2 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 2, 2015

I washed my down jacket; it is very heavy. I thought it was dry. I put it away in a very large zip lock bag, I opened it up 4 weeks later, and when I took it out it was very heavy and has a very strong odor of mildew. How do I clean it?


By Joe


December 4, 20170 found this helpful

Rewash it. You may have to several times. Put vinegar in the water to help freshen it, lay flat to dry, but turning it often. It may take it 3-4 days to completely dry.

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July 29, 2012

Our laundry room flooded due to clogged pipes. We were away and when we got back everthing was soaked. All you can smell is a mold. I am very allergic to both mold and mildew. Is there a way to get rid of the smell from our clothes, or is it a lost cause?

By frazzeled2000 from Portola, CA

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