How to Get Musty Smell Out Of Clothes

Sometimes when you wash, you will notice an unpleasant musty smell. Some people try to remove the smell by washing the cloth repeatedly. Repeating the washing process will not altogether remove the smell; in some cases, it reduces the smell; sometimes, it doesn’t. Don’t waste your time rewashing for no reason. This article will share tips on removing the musty smell from clothes after washing them.

Tips For Eliminating Musty Smell from Clothes

Eliminating Musty Smell from Clothes

Removing unpleasant smells from your clothes should not be a big task; here are ten easy ways you can use to remove a musty smell from your cloth. But first…

Make Sure Your Washing Machine is Clean

Clean Washing Machine

One of the significant reasons clothes have a musty smell is sometimes because of the washing machine itself. When your washing machine accumulates dirt, it gives your cloth an unpleasant smell when you wash them. Hence, the best solution is to wash the machine frequently.

Here is how you can go about it:

  • Put on your washing machine and set the water level for regular washing
  • Run hot water and mix it with about four cups of vinegar in place of detergent
  • Allow to operate for about ten minutes; this process will remove smell, bacteria, and stains

You can make things better by adding other household ingredients like baking soda, ammonia, washing machine detergents, or disinfectants. If you want the machine to be 100% clean, I suggest repeating the process two to three times until the water is spotless and clear. 

Use Vinegar to Wash

Vinegar is an essential washing ingredient; it helps with smell and stains. Using vinegar before washing, especially if you rewash the cloth, helps eliminate musty smells. The process is simple; after putting the cloth in the machine,  pour a cup of vinegar with your regular detergent and wash normally. 

You can add bleach to the mixture if you are dealing with white clothes. If it is a thick fabric like denim, consider soaking the cloth in vinegar and water for about two hours before you wash it, this will help you remove the smell even better. 

Dry Properly Even When it Rains

Another factor that leads to a musty smell in clothes is not properly drying clothes during rainy seasons. Especially if it rains for more than a day at a stretch, people are usually faced with musty cloth issues on such days. Waiting for the rain to stop and the weather to clear leads to an accumulation of damp clothes in the basket.

Therefore, you don’t have to wait for the sun; you can use a dryer instead of drying it in the sun. Dryers help saves time and prevents musty smells. If your dryer is not efficient enough, consider getting a new one.

Change Your Detergent and Separate Musty Smelling Clothes As Well


Another way to remove the musty smell from your cloth is to change your detergent completely. If you are currently using an ordinary detergent, look for a formula designed with ingredients that can remove the musty smell. This detergent will come in handy for indoor drying and places with poor ventilation.

Another way to go about it is to separate your clothes based on the type of material. Since thicker clothes are more prone to a musty smell, wash them separately on clear and sunny days. Don’t wash and pack them together; this will cause other clothes to smell. 

Hang the Clothes Apart and  In Well-ventilated Areas 

The best way to prevent the smell in the first place is to dry the clothes in a well-ventilated space under the sun. Because if you spread your clothes in places with little or no ventilation, they will likely have a musty smell. 

If you stay in a place that doesn’t afford you that much space, places like condominiums or rented rooms, look for a place where the wind passes and spreads it there. A good example is your balcony. Also, don’t hang your clothes near each other; give at least some inches of space. If you don’t have enough lines that will allow you to spread them apart, then wash them separately. 

Choose a Specially Formulated Fabric Softener

We recommend getting an indoor drying fabric softener and an anti-odor detergent. These two ingredients will help keep your clothes smelling fresh after washing them, and it helps eliminate the smell of dampness and fermentation and kills bacteria. Formulated fabric softener keeps the clothes smooth, soft, and comfortable even when spreading them on rainy days.  You also don’t have to worry about the musty smell. 

Use essential oils To Eliminate the Musty Smell Without Washing.

essential oils

If wet clothes are kept in the closet, they will smell musty even after completely drying. Applying essential oil is an excellent way to remove the smell without rewashing the clothes. Just spray enough on your cloth, and it will smell good. You will not rub essential oil on the cloth; you need first to mix it with water. Preferably use a spray bottle to apply the formula to your cloth.

Use Charcol Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes also work. It helps absorb different types of unpleasant smells within the home and works on clothes. It is simple to use; all you need to do is place the charcoal inside a white cloth or a clean stocking, then place it on your clothes. This is to prevent the charcoal from staining the cloth.

Freeze The Cloth

Freezing Clothes help to remove musty smells from clothes. If you notice that your clothes have a musty smell after washing them, here is a trick on how to go about it. Freeze it in a freezer to refrigerator, this smells like a weird method, but it works. When you freeze the cloth, it kills bacteria. You can keep it in the fridge for about one night or at least three hours before washing it.

Don’t just dump your clothes in a refrigerator or freezer; first, place them inside a zip lock laundry bag to ensure that the cloth is not touching the freezer directly. This method helps prevent a musty smell, kills bacteria, and prevents color from fading.

Steaming Your Clothes 

cloth steamer

Steaming will help our clothes look fresh and make them smell fresh if a musty cloth is exposed to high heat; when under steam, the bacteria that cause musty smells are killed. 

Steaming Your clothes shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Hang the cloth with a hanger, then prepare your steamer by filling it with water and heating it. Make sure you attach all necessary accessories. 

Hold it straight for garments like tank tops, blouses, and shirts, and run your steamer from top to bottom of the cloth. If it is a long sleeve shirt, hold the cuffs while steaming. 

If it is a pant, fold them on the hanger before steaming them. Start from the bottom and work your way up from time to time; switch sides. 

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