How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes
How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes


Have you ever gone to throw a heap of dirty laundry into your washing machine, only to find an overwhelming musty smell coming from a load of damp clothes that never made it to the dryer?

When left sitting wet for too long, clothes can develop the earthy, altogether unpleasant smell caused by pesky mold and mildew.

Even if you don't tend to forget clothes in the washing machine, the same smell can overwhelm you when you take winter coats out of storage. Similarly, stuffing multiple loads into your machine on laundry day will prevent your dirty clothes from being able to generate friction with each other inside the tub. If the clothes aren't getting clean, they're only getting wet, which can result in the infamous mildew stench.

On the other hand, adding too much detergent or fabric softener to a load of laundry in an effort to remove odor can actually reverse the cleaning action and cause dirt and bacteria to stick to clothes.

Various online cleaning tips may have suggested you get rid of mildew smell in clothes with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. But the acetic acid of the vinegar and the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda counteract each other, leaving only a weak solution of sodium acetate behind, which will not work well as a cleaner.

Regardless of why your clothes smell musty, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a cleaner, degreaser and deodorizer that will not only remove mildew smell from clothes, but will also eliminate troublesome stains.

Directions for Getting Mildew Smell Out of Clothes:

  1. Prepare your Simple Green solution. Mix a 1:10 dilution of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner with water in a bucket or sink.
  2. Soak. Soak the clothes in the cleaning solution for at least two hours. Separate overly large loads into 2 smaller loads to give your clothes more agitation space.
  3. Wash as usual. Wring the clothes out before adding them to your washing machine. Add normal laundry detergent and launder as usual.
    1. Make sure you're not using too much detergent. Excess detergent leaves a residue, especially in high-efficiency washers that use less water. Wash in hot water if the fabrics can handle it without shrinking, as this may lead to even better results.
  4. Dry immediately. Dry clothes immediately after the wash cycle is complete. If you have an outdoor option, use clothespins to clip them to a line, and let the fresh air and sunlight dry them naturally. If line drying isn't an option, dry in your dryer as usual.
    1. Sunlight can kill some of the bacteria that create unpleasant odors, which is why line drying leaves clothes smelling fresher.

TIP: Mildew in your washing machine can leave the same smell in your clothes, even if you dry them immediately after a wash. Most front loading washing machines are high-efficiency (HE), meaning they use less water and energy than standard washers. If left untreated for too long, leftover detergent residue, dirt, soap scum and hard water buildup in your machine may hinder its performance. Learn how to deep clean your washing machine with Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner by clicking here (conventional) or here (HE).

Note: Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner only removes odor from clothes and cleans stains caused by mold/mildew - it does not kill or inhibit mold/mildew growth.


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