How to Remove Musty Smell from Clothes
When spring cleaning is just around the corner, you’ll want to make sure your clothing stays clean and free from unpleasant odors. Depending on the season, some clothing can retain a musty odor. Perhaps you’ve just started unloading your spring wardrobe from boxes packed inside a closet all winter. Or, mold spores might have found nourishing food sources in your damp clothing, releasing the foul, musty odor as soon as you break open the clothing storage container. Maybe your load of newly washed clothing simply smells awful. Leaving your clothes sitting in the washing machine can also spur mold growth.
Whatever the cause for the musty scent lingering in your apparel, there are a few tried-and-true ways to eliminate musty smells from your clothing. It all starts with the washing machine, where clothes are revitalized season after season.
Musty Clothes from Washing Machine
Removing musty smells from clothes in the washing machine:
- Do a load of laundry, particularly placing importance on the musty smelling clothing.
- You’ll first want to kill any mold spores that are causing the musty stench. White vinegar, borax and baking soda are nontoxic, household items that kill mold.
- Run the washer on the hot water cycle, dousing the load with vinegar, borax or baking soda. If the mustiness is especially strong, use a combination of baking soda and vinegar in the cycle.
- Add ammonia to the water (without detergent during the first cycle) in the load as an alternative.
- Rewash the clothing with detergent. However, make sure the laundry room has ample ventilation, since ammonia spreads dangerous fumes.
Some tips to keep in mind to eliminate mold and mildew:
- Warning: Never mix bleach and ammonia. This deadly combination releases toxic gas into the air, leading to lung damage if inhaled.
- Hot water also destroys mold spores. Clothing items that require a cold water wash can be washed more than once to remove all traces of mold and the resulting musty odor.
- Bleach is an effective mold killer. If your garments can be safely bleached, sanitize your clothes with bleach during the wash to remove the mold spores and the musty odors. Socks, white towels and undergarments can be safely bleached, if the labels recommend it.
- Experts suggest drying your freshly washed load outside in the sun on a clothesline. Direct sunlight is helpful in killing off any remaining mold In addition, you’ll enjoy a naturally fresh scent in your clothes by allowing them to fully dry in the wind and sun.
Clean Dry Musty Clothes
Certain garments may require dry cleaning. When a fresh water rinse is not an option, you can use the versatile household ingredient, baking soda, to remove musty odors from clothing. Baking soda is renowned for its ability to eliminate odors through absorption. Baking soda is also safe to use on various fabrics.
Remove Musty Smells with Baking Soda
- Sprinkle a generous amount of dry baking soda over the musty clothing.
- Allow the baking soda to absorb the odor-causing particles overnight.
- After 24 hours, take the garments outside and shake off the baking soda.
- A soft brush may be used to gently brush off any remaining baking soda particles.
- Hang the clothing outside for several hours to freshen up the garments. Repeat the process as necessary to remove all traces of odor from the clothing.
A dry cleaning service is also an option to remove any musty odors from your clothing. Dry cleaners utilize powerful, deodorizing chemicals during their cleaning process.
Removing Musty Odors from the Washing Machine
A washing machine that harbors mold and mildew will lead to newly washed laundry smelling foul. If your washer is newer, use the tub clean feature to automatically sanitize the machine. In instances where the washing machine is an older model, run an empty cycle with bleach under the hot water setting to destroy the mold and mildew.
Once the machine has run its course, leave the lid open to dry the inside tub. It is recommended that you leave the washing machine lid open after every wash to prevent mold from growing inside the damp recesses.
Eliminating Moldy Smell from Closet
Prevent mustiness in your winter clothing by storing them completely dry. Whether due to weather or sweat, damp clothing that is haphazardly thrown into a closet can start to release pungent odors.
Keep your closet clean and prevent musty smells from permeating your clothing.
Here’s how to eliminate musty smells from clothes stored in the closet:
- Eliminate musty odors from clothing by first emptying out the closet completely.
- Any clothing items you store in the closet must be washed and dried thoroughly prior to restocking the closet.
- Wipe down the closet doors and walls with the natural deodorizer, vinegar.
- Mix bleach and hot water into a spray bottle and spray onto any traces of mold spores or mildew to rid the premises of the fungi.
- Allow the space to air dry 100 percent before returning your clean clothes to the closet compartments.
When you pack clothes after each season, remember to always ensure the garments and shoes are entirely clean and dry before placing them in the dark, unventilated spaces of your closet. This practical step will safeguard the clothes from mildew growth, mold and musty odors all season long.
Removing Musty Smells from Clothes Professionally
When musty odors pervade your living space and constantly return even after you’ve taken steps to remove the stench, call a professional odor removal service. ServiceMaster of St. Charles is equipped with powerful hydroxyl technology that destroys odor particles.
Stubborn odors can be dislodged with advanced equipment and state-of-the-art techniques. Whether the odor in your home is due to sewage issues, water damage, pet smells, cigarette odors, mold or mildew growth, water damage, the presence of wild animals (like skunks or squirrels) or fire and smoke, ServiceMaster of St. Charles will send a team of trained technicians to completely deodorize your home.
The ServiceMaster of St. Charles odor elimination process includes removal of the source of the odor, the odor itself, deodorization of furniture, carpets, upholstery and additional porous surfaces and the sealing of porous surfaces.
ServiceMaster of St. Charles, reliably serves St. Charles, MO as well as the Collinsville, IL community of homes and businesses.