Worried about Clothes Odor? Find Out How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes Easily

The moldy, damp, stale, and musty-smelling clothes are all too familiar issues that we have to deal with in life.

The good news is there’s a lot of ways to get rid of that musty smell and bust the bacteria out of clothes to regain the freshness and cleanliness back to your clothes.

All you need to have are some cleaning agents that can be found already at your pantries such as vinegar and baking soda then add in a few tricks and hacks that you can try that should leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Why do clothes smell musty?

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes - Woman folding clothes inside the laundry shop

If your clothes smell musty, it is most likely that mildew is present.

Damp clothes that were not properly dried will develop unpleasant odors because of a mildew build-up.

Another reason is that a washing machine can also leave the same smell in your clothes even after you have dried them immediately after washing. You need to check if your washing machine does not have any molds or mildew growing inside it.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat the musty smells in your clothes and get rid of them for good.

How to get mildew smell out of clothes naturally

You may follow these natural ways of getting rid of the musty smell.

It is cost-effective as it only needs cleaning agents that are already a staple in your pantry and also you can be assured that your lovely clothes will not be harmed unlike using chemicals.

1. Use 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to replace your usual laundry detergent.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes? organic vinegar

Vinegar is a natural body odor eliminator in your clothes and helps kill bacteria that can cause mold and mildew. It also removes product build-up that can trap moisture in your clothes that can bring about mildew smells.

2. Use 1/2 cup baking soda along with vinegar if the musty smell still lingers.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes - baking soda in a blue bowl

Baking soda and vinegar duo of odor removal power will remove musty smells effectively. They both kill mold and mildew but attacks different strains and they are capable of stain and odor removal. Just add 1/2 cup of baking soda into the wash and give it a full cycle with the hottest water.

You can follow it up with a little vinegar on a rinse cycle.

3. Use oxygen bleach or borax if you want a stronger store-bought cleaning agent.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes - borax in a bowl

You can use it along with your regular detergent.

Step 1: Dissolve 1 part Borax into two parts hot water.
Step 2: Fill the washing machine with water.
Step 3: Put your regular detergent in the washing machine.
Step 4: Add in your clothes.
Step 5: Pour in the mixed borax.
Step 6: Run a full cycle.

You can also pre-treated your musty clothes with borax.

Step 1: Pour a small amount of oxygen bleach directly into the garments.
Step 2: Let it sit for a few minutes
Step 3: Then scrub it with a brush.
Step 4: Put it in the washing machine and run the usual cycle.

4. Use enzyme odor remover for musty clothes due to sweat.

The combination of sweat and mildew on athletic or workout clothes makes it difficult to remove the odor from the fabrics. Use a detergent that has enzymes because it can assist in breaking down organic causing bacteria that destroy the odor and neutralize mold and mildew.

Just add it to your regular wash.

5. Sunlight dries clothes naturally.

If you have the option of drying your clothes under the sun after machine wash the better because sunlight kills bacteria and sanitizes your clothes. Although this natural method works best for clothes that have natural fiber like in cotton and wool.

Avoid using this method for clothes made of synthetic fiber like spandex and nylon as they will get bleached under the sun over time.

6. Spritz clothes with all-around natural linen spray.

After you have washed and dried your clothes, take a step further by spritzing linen spray on your clothes. It has a formulation that absorbs and eliminates foul odors.

It’s very safe to use and won’t mask odor rather it dissolve and remove mildew smell from clothes naturally.

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How to keep washing machine clean

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A washing machine can also be a place where mold and mildew can grow. A specific design especially with the front-loading variety when closed becomes airtight and locks in all the moisture from the hot water used in washing.

The moisture will precipitate and settle underneath the rubber gasket which holds the door shut.

Over time, mold and mildew while thrive in this dark and damp place.

Another part of the washing machine that you may need to check for mold and mildew is the drain lines. You can either let the professional clean it or try this hack of running an empty load with a gallon of vinegar every after 6 months.

Once you have cleaned your washing machine, here are some tips to keep it clean.

1. Leave the lid or the door of your washing machine open after use. This will allow any moisture to evaporate thus preventing mildew or mold from building up.

2. Always use the correct amount of detergent. Too much detergent is not good if you want to keep the mold and mildew out because they leave a film filled with dirt and grime around the machine where mold and mildew can grow.

3. Fabric softener will also do the same so try to switch to dry sheets if possible.

How to get musty smell out of clothes and the closet

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First off, you should never put damp clothes in the closet. This will only generate more molds and mildew and worst it will contaminate your other clothes and your entire closets will get that musty smell.

Here are tips to get the musty smell out of your closets:

1. Keep closet doors open to increase airflow.

It will be best if you use louvered doors which is better than solid doors as they allow air to flow even when closed.

2. Clean your closet.

Organize your closets by getting rid of unused and rarely used items to improve airflow.

3. Consider purchasing a small fan.

Small fans can be helpful if you have a basement closet that is persistent for musty odor. You can put them in the bottom of the closets to circulate the air. You can set it up with a timer if you don’t want it running all the time.

4. Add desiccants packets in the storage room or closets.

This will prevent moisture from the clothing and prevent mold growth.

Ways on banishing musty odor for good

Musty smells are really annoying and you want it to banish for good. Here are some tips on how to do it.

1. Hang damp clothes to dry right away.

2. Use the right amount of detergent when washing clothes.

3. Don’t use fabric softener for your workout clothes. The fabric softener will leave a residue that can be impossible to remove and prevents water to penetrate into the fabrics which makes them to smell musty even if they’re clean.

4. Don’t leave your cleaned clothes in the washing machine as mildew will start to develop in just a few hours. Dry your clothes immediately after washing them.

5. Don’t store your clothes in a damp room like bathrooms or in the basement as a humid environment can collect moisture and will be absorbed by the fabrics leading to the growth of mildew.

6. Clean your washing machine regularly especially if your clothes smell worse after washing.

7. Consider spritzing clean clothes with linen spray to give them added protection from the musty smell.

Frequently asked questions

1. How do I get mold out of wood

Make a paste of baking soda and water then rub it in the infected wood with a fine cloth. Let it dry and wipe it with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Place it under the sun for an hour.

2. Will using vinegar makes my clothes smell like vinegar

No, the vinegar smell will vanish once you are finished with your laundry. It takes the odor out, softens the fabric, and disinfects.

3. If mildewy clothes are in the bathroom, will it leave a mildew smell in the room?

Yes, mildew smell will stay throughout the room unless you get rid of the source which is your clothes. Try the methods in this article on how to get rid of the musty smell on your clothes.

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Vanilla – 4997 Servings IN STOCK - ready to ship
      44 REVIEWS 2.89 of 5

Real reviews

  • 🏆 BEST EUCALYPTUS OIL SPRAY: Natural scent great for rooms, closets, draws, wood
  • 👍 EUCALYPTUS PILLOW MIST: Eliminates and neutralizes odor. Does not mask it like chemical sprays
  • ❤️ A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY: Spray and forget. Nontoxic, non-irritating, and natural air spray.

$9.99

Add to cart

View Label / Ingredients
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Free ground shipping

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