How to get mildew smell out of clothes quickly

The mildew smell is just terrible. If your clothes are affected by mildew smell, you’d be stinking so much that no one will like to stand closer to you.

Do you want to get rid of the mildew smell from your clothes? If yes, then you have made the right decision to be here.

How to get mildew smell out of clothes quickly

This article is a complete guide where we will teach you how to get mildew smell out of clothes faster. We have all the crazy tips and tricks to help you!

What does mildew smell like on clothes

The mildew smell on clothes is extremely unpleasant and disgusting.

If you want to have an idea about how mildew on cloth smells like then you can say that;

Mildew on clothes smells like stinky wet socks or rotting wood. Its smell is meaty, musty, earthy, damp, pungent, and unpleasant. It is not the kind of smell you will like to have in your clothes or house.

Luckily, removing mildew smell from clothes is not very difficult. There are plenty of effective tips and tricks that will help you easily remove all the mildew smell from your clothes. Keep reading because we have covered all that for you.

What causes mildew smell on clothes

It is very important to know the root cause of the mildew smell on your clothes.

Generally, the mildew smell on your clothes is because of the mold and mildew that grows on them. There are 3 reasons for that:

1. Storing clothes in a dark and humid place

When you will store your clothes in a dark and humid place for a very long time then they will develop mold and mildew because of moisture and no light. Eventually, the clothes will start giving out a strong mildew smell.

2. Presence of mold or mildew in your washing machine

Sometimes, the mold and mildew are also residing in your washing and dryer from where they get on your clothes and give out an extremely bad smell.

3. Storing the clothes without drying properly

If you do not properly dry the clothes before storing them in the closet then those wet clothes can also develop mold and mildew and give out that bad smell.

Can mildew smell be removed from clothes

Yes, mildew smell can be removed from clothes.

Today, there are several different effective methods that you can follow for removing mildew smell from your clothes.

We will teach you all the effective methods for removing mildew smell from clothes, right below in this article.

What will take the mildew smell out of clothes

There are many things that we can use as a solution for removing the mildew smell from our clothes.

Here are some of them:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Sunlight
  • Laundry enhancers
  • Enzyme based odor removers
  • Laundry detergent
  • Activated charcoal

How to remove the mildew smell from clothes

If you have a mildew smell in your clothes then you just need to follow these proven tips to get rid of that:

1. Wash the clothes with white vinegar

White vinegar is one of the best household ingredients that can remove mildew odor from clothes. It is a completely safe and effective solution for mildew smell.

You can wash your cloth with white vinegar instead of ordinary detergent.

White vinegar will kill all the mildew smell and also break any compounds that are trapping the smell in your clothes.

Just add one cup of white vinegar (240ml) per load and get rid of the mildew smell.

2. Wash the clothes with baking soda

If you have washed the cloth in white vinegar but they still give a mildew smell then add baking soda into it.

Baking soda and white vinegar can kill different types of molds and mildews so using a combo of them is an excellent solution.

Add ½ or ¼ cup of baking soda into the wash and start the cycle with the hottest recommended water. After that, rinse the clothes with white vinegar as well.

3. Soak the clothes in borax

Borax is also a superb solution for killing the mildew and removing its smell from your clothes.

What you have to do is take a tub of the hottest recommended water and add ½ cup of borax into it.

Now soak the clothes in it for a couple of hours and then wash them as you do regularly.

How to remove the mildew smell from clothes without washing

Sometimes, you don’t want to wash the clothes for some reason but still want to get rid of the mildew smell without washing.

Here is how you can do that:

1. Expose the clothes to sunlight

Sunlight is very powerful. If you will expose your clothes to sunlight then it will kill all the molds, mildews, and other bacteria that cause bad smells.

The combo of sunlight and wind will take away all the bad smells.

2. Spray vodka on the clothes

Vodka is a very good deodorizer.

You can spray some vodka on your clothes and it also shows better results and help get rid of mildew smell.

3. Spray white vinegar on clothes

As we said, white vinegar kills mildew, mold, and other bacteria. It’s a great deodorizer.

Spraying it on your clothes can also help you get rid of that bad mildew smell without washing.

4. Spray lemon juice on clothes

Don’t have vodka or vinegar at home?

Just use lemon juice instead.

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice into one cup of water and spray it on your clothes.

It will remove the mildew odor and make your clothes smell fresh.

5. Steam the clothes

Heat is the most lethal enemy of mildew.

If you will steam your clothes in a steamer then the heat will kill all the smell-causing mildews, molds, and bacteria.

If you don’t have a steamer then you can simply hang your clothes in the bathroom during a hot shower. The steam generated will automatically kill the mildew and make your cloth smell fresh.

6. Freeze the clothes

You can also put your clothes in a bag and throw them in a freezer.

Then you can take them out some time before you want to wear them.

Freezing may also help neutralize the mildew smell in your clothes.

7. Use activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a very good deodorizer because it can effectively absorb different odors.

You can put the affected clothes in a bag and also put some activated charcoal inside it.

Now seal the bag and leave it for some time. Activated charcoal will absorb all the mildew odor and make your clothes smell nice and fresh.

How to remove the mildew smell from clothes left in the washer

Sometimes, you leave the clothes in the washer and often forget them.

Those clothes develop mildew and give out an extremely bad smell which is challenging to remove.

Here is the best way to remove the mildew smell from clothes left in the washer:

Use enzyme-based odor remover on clothes

There are many enzyme-based odor removers that you can apply to your clothes.

The enzymes specially target the mildew, mold, bacteria, and other compounds trapping smell in your clothes and completely break them.

This way they effectively remove the mildew smell from your clothes.

How to prevent mildew smell in clothes

There is a golden saying that prevention is always better than the cure.

You saw that removing mildew smell from clothes isn’t a cakewalk. It is challenging and requires strenuous effort.

Here are some tips that you should follow so your clothes never catch mildew smell:

1. Dry the clothes properly

Storing wet and moist clothes will lead to the birth of mildew and then eventually mildew smell.

So, make sure that you completely dry all your clothes before you store them.

2. Avoid overuse of detergent

Overusing the laundry detergent during the wash leads to the build-up of certain compounds.

Those compounds trap smell in your clothes and also promote bacteria and mildew growth.

Therefore, make sure that you only use the recommended amount of detergent during the wash.

3. Dry instantly after washing

Whenever you wash the clothes, just dry them instantly after washing.

Storing wet clothes for too long will allow the mildew to grow on your clothes and give out a bad smell.

4. Avoid storing the clothes in a damp & humid place

Storing the clothes in damp and humid places like the bathroom or basement will lead to the build-up of moisture and the birth of mildew. Then it will create a bad mildew smell.

So, store your clothes in a dry place.

5. Keep your washing machine and dryer clean

Mildew and mold can also grow inside your washing machine and dryer. From there, they can get on your clothes and cause the mildew smell.

Thus, it is important to keep them clean.

You can regularly clean them with the help of detergent, baking soda, or vinegar.

Especially if your clothes are giving out a mildew smell, then you must clean your washing machine and dryer.

Safety tip when removing mildew smell out of clothes

Different types of clothes have different safety guidelines.

Some ingredients are allowed for some clothes while some are not.

Therefore, we recommend you make sure to read the garment care label of your clothes before applying any particular ingredient to them to avoid any damage.


If you want to remove mildew smell from your clothes then please follow all our given instructions.

These tricks will save your time, money, and energy and also completely remove the mildew smell from your clothes.

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