When you leave damp clothes uncatered for a while, they begin to have a bad odor because of mildew. Also, if your home washing machine has mildew, your clothes could carry the smell after washing them, regardless of whether you have to dry and iron them after washing.
10 Ways To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Clothes
Here are 10 methods you could use to get mildew smell out of clothes:
Method 1: Make Use of Vinegar
Using natural white vinegar during laundry is an easy way to get rid of the mildew smell from your clothes. Besides destroying the odor-causing micro bacteria in your clothes, vinegar removes most of the mechanisms in your clothes that facilitate the bad smell of mildew.
Follow these steps to remove the mildew smell from your clothing using vinegar:
- Add your regular detergent.
Put a single cup of vinegar in place of your regular detergent for laundry. A cup of vinegar is 240 mL on a scale.
- Alongside the vinegar, you could also use your regular detergent. Ensure the detergent you’re using is not produced with organic soap.
This is because vinegar naturally reacts with the fats in organic soaps, ensuring that both the vinegar and the organic soap are inactive and ineffective when used together. So rather than a laundry detergent made from organic soap, you could opt for a regular detergent.
- Using your washing machine, wash your clothes and air dry them.
Method 2: Make Use of Baking Soda and Vinegar
It is important to note that the bacteria responsible for the mildew smell in clothes have different strains. Vinegar attacks and destroys one strain of the mildew, while baking soda attacks and destroys another mildew strain (downy mildew).
Follow these steps to remove the mildew smell from clothes using baking soda and vinegar:
- Put a single cup of vinegar in place of your regular detergent for laundry. A cup of vinegar is 240ml on a scale.
- When you have already used vinegar and realize that the mildew smell still lingers on your cloth, combine your regular detergent with baking soda. Only a half cup of baking soda should be enough to get rid of the mildew bacteria in your clothes.
- Afterward, ensure that the water you use is very hot so that the baking soda can be activated adequately.
- After using baking soda to wash with hot water, the mildew smell will be gone.
- You could also add vinegar to the rinse to ensure maximum results.
Method 4: Use Oxygen Bleach to Pre-treat the Clothing
Most times, your normal detergent may be unable to get rid of the mildew smell, but a stronger detergent such as oxygen bleach used in hot water could do the trick.
Using oxygen bleach would mean you would not have to use any other detergent, unlike in the case with vinegar and baking soda, where you would have to combine them with your regular detergent.
Follow these steps to use oxygen bleach to pre-treat your clothing:
- Oxygen bleach can be used as pre-treatment when you want to do a deep clean. Apply a little quantity of oxygen bleach directly to your clothes.
- Allow it to remain for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Locate a clean sponge and use it to scrub the clothes before putting the clothes in your washing machine.
- After washing the clothing, consult a dry cleaning expert if the smell lingers.
Method 5: Use an Enzyme Laundry Wash
Leaving your sweaty clothes without washing for some time combines mildew smell and body odor. This makes it very hard to remove the smell from your clothes. In such situations, the alternative would be to use an enzyme odor remover.
Follow these simple steps to remove the mildew smell from your clothing using an enzyme laundry wash:
- Locate your local store.
- Acquire an enzyme product that kills odors. Then this will be used to wash the clothing.
- Open the enzyme laundry wash and apply this to your wash.
- After washing the clothing, air dry it for maximum result.
Method 6: Using Borax Detergent
Borax is another string detergent like oxygen bleach that could enable you to get rid of the mildew smell on your clothes when the regular detergents seem to be unable to do so.
Like oxygen bleach, borax is used with hot water; this gives it its maximum effect. Using borax detergent would mean you do not have to use any other detergent, unlike in the case with vinegar and baking soda, where you would have to combine them with your regular detergent.
- Like oxygen bleach, borax can be used as pre-treatment when you want to do a deep clean. Apply a little quantity of borax directly to your clothes.
- Allow it to remain for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Locate a clean sponge and use it to scrub the clothes before putting the clothes in your washing machine or handing it over to a dry cleaner after pre-treatment.
Method 7: Air your Clothes
After washing your clothes, hang them on a line outside. This is so that the natural sunlight and air outside would dry them up. Another reason this method is effective when trying to get rid of the mildew smell is that the sun’s rays also help kill the bacteria on the clothes that cause the odor.
However, this procedure can be quite selective. The procedure favors cloth materials like cotton fiber, wool, etc., which are generally natural fibers, much more than it favors cloth materials like nylon, etc., which are synthetic fibers.
A disadvantage to this procedure is that continuous exposure of clothes to sunlight will lead to cloth color bleach.
Method 8: Freeze your Clothes
Cold temperatures are extremely harmful and toxic to bacteria that cause odor in clothes. Therefore exposing your clothes to an extremely cold atmosphere will help destroy and remove the mildew smell on your clothes.
Locate a resealable bag (plastic) and place your clothes in it, leaving them overnight in your freezer. It may look rather strange, but it works very well when you want to get rid of the smell of mildew from your clothes.
Method 9: Make Use of Vodka
Vodka, like vinegar, can destroy odor-causing bacterias that cause a mildew smell on clothes. One good quality of vodka is that it evaporates after a while, so you can directly spray it on your clothes.
Follow these steps to remove the mildew smell from clothing using vodka:
- Locate a spray container and empty your liquid vodka into the container.
- Allow it to saturate for a while (this is very important for maximum result), then allow your clothes to air dry.
- Alternatively, you could still use your machine for drying if you do not want to air dry.
Method 10: Use Charcoal
When charcoal is activated, it possesses an intense filtration ability, making it very useful in many ways. For instance, activated charcoal is used for beauty products, water filters, poison treatment, etc.
Leave your affected clothes in a sealed bag with charcoal that has been overnight, where the smell is very strong. You could leave it there for about a week to get the maximum effect from this procedure.
Acquire your activated charcoal from your local store if they have it, and follow the procedure above to get rid of the mildew smell from your clothes. After trying the procedures mentioned above, if you still notice the smell of mildew on your clothes, the alternative would be to give the clothes to an expert dry cleaner.
Let’s face it; nobody wants to walk around with the smell of mildew on their clothes. Now, most people dispose of their clothes when they notice it has begun to develop the mildew smell; this is mostly because they do not know that the mildew smell can be completely gotten rid of from your clothes; others abandon the clothes. If you want to know how to remove the mildew smell from your clothes, follow the procedures listed above carefully.