Preventing Mildew Smell on Clothes Left in Washer?


When the temperature starts to warm up outside, almost immediately after my washing machine cycle has ended, I have to get the laundry out or it will start to smell like mildew. I only have about two - three hours before the process starts.


In the winter, I have accidentally forgotten laundry for a couple of days or more and found them smelling beautiful after all that time. I do put vinegar in my laundry, but it doesn't help. Again, if I get the clothes out within that short period of time, there isn't a problem. After the smell has begun, I have to run the same laundry through a soaking load of vinegar water to try to dilute the smell. It helps, but never totally eliminates the odor, not to mention this gets very expensive.

We do live in a rather humid area, however, I am not always able to get the laundry out in this short period of time. Is there anything else I can do to prevent this problem? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you in advance!

By Marla

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May 16, 20110 found this helpful

I set a timer so I don't forget and especially since I live in a large apartment complex and know there's almost always someone else waiting to do their laundry. Doesn't matter whether your choice would be an egg timer, microwave timer, an alarm clock or alarm on a cell phone. It truly does help. :-)

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May 16, 20110 found this helpful

You could try using less laundry detergent. You could also add 1/2 c. to 3/4 c. baking soda to the wash water.


You can buy large laundry size boxes of baking soda at most stores. Washing soda would do the same thing. Also adding white vinegar to the rinse water would be additional help.

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

A repairer of washing machines once told me that I should periodically run a clothes free programme using a mixture of chlorine bleach [non-foaming] and water only.

I didn't bother because I do use bleach when washing dishcloths, but it does make sense. Chlorine is the best eliminator of mildew.

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

The best way to prevent that "mildewy sour" smell is to leave your washer door open for at least an hour after you're done. Let it air out well, and you will find what a big help that is.


I hang a bright orange dish cloth on the door to remind me to close it later. You may also want to run a packet of washer cleaner through if it's a front loader. Good luck.

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with Barb-Baking soda usually does the trick-& vinegar.White-distilled.Good luck. : )

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May 20, 20110 found this helpful

I use washing soda to get rid of the mildew smell and it's been great!

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May 23, 20110 found this helpful

Borax with the detergent also helps....

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May 29, 20110 found this helpful

Think about this; in all those clothes you washed,there were dead skin cells.They are sitting,mixed with small amounts of standing water,in the washer under the spinning drum,and in the bottom of the drain hose. Along with that dead skin is bacteria from underwear,meat juices on dishcloths,you name it.


If you don't bleach anything, it is growing bacteria from decaying proteins and mold and you are washing it all back into your clothes and dish towels.

The new front loading water saving machines are horribly notorious for this.
Bleach, bleach, bleach, any and everything you can!

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