Inside: Dealing with a smelly towel? Forgot clothes in the washing machine? Check out this simple tip on how to remove mildew smell from clothes and towels with vinegar. It's easy to remove those mildew smells!
Do you ever have a problem with your clothes and towels getting a mildew smell? You can wash and wash them, but the smell still remains.
Maybe you left the clothes in the washing machine and forgot about them for days. Or if you are like my kiddo forget and leave a towel in the trunk of the car for weeks!
Using laundry detergent can often make the smell worse instead of better. You may wonder if it's even possible to remove the mildew smell.
But, there is a simple way of how to remove the mildew smell from clothes. Skip the laundry detergent and use vinegar instead to remove mildew smell from clothes permanently!
How To Remove Mildew Smells From Clothes
Because my son is a swimmer I am constantly finding clothes and towels that are soaking wet and smelling. He tends to put them in his swim bag and forget them.
Then I find them a few weeks later at the bottom of the bag, smelling of mildew. If you are struggling with how to remove mildew smell from clothes or towels this trick is fantastic.
You will need a few things to get started.
- vinegar (just the plain white vinegar)
- washing machine
- smelly clothes
You will also need an hour or two for the clothes to soak.
Start by filling up the washing machine with the hottest water on your machine that you can use with the fabric. Hot water helps to kill off mildew and mold so using it will help kill off the mildew faster.
Next, you will want to add one cup of vinegar to the machine. Vinegar has antifungal properties that will kill mildew.
Once the machine is filled and the vinegar is added you can put in the clothing or towels that smell.
Let the machine run for a minute or two until the items are completely wet. Then turn off the washing machine and let them soak for about 30 minutes.
After thirty minutes start back up the machine and let it run through the entire cycle. Do not add any detergent to the washing machine. At this point you are just trying to remove the mildew smell from the clothes not clean them.
If you have an extra rinse cycle I recommend using it, it will just help to remove more of the mildew smell out of the clothes or towel.
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When the washing machine is done with the cycles you can remove the clothes and towels and lay them out flat to air dry. If you have a clothesline hanging them up is great!
Once the clothes or towels are completely dry check them for a mildew smell. If they are free from a mildew smell then you can rewash them with laundry detergent as you normally would.
You may need to repeat the process if they are really smelly. One time usually does the trick for most of the clothes that I wash. My son's smelly pool towels sometimes need the second wash cycle.
It's just that easy of how to remove the mildew smell from clothes.
Don't throw out those towels and clothes just because they smell of mildew. With this easy tip, you can have fresh-smelling clothes again.
Need more laundry tips and tricks? Check out how to clean smelly baseball caps easily at home.
How To Remove Mildew Smell From Clothes
1 cup of vinegar
Fill up the washing machine with the hottest water on your machine. Add one cup of vinegar to the machine. Once the machine is completely filled, add in the clothing or towels that smell. Let the machine run for a minute or two until the items are completely wet. Then turn off the washing machine and let them soak for about 30 minutes.
After thirty minutes start back up the machine and let it run through the entire cycle. Use extra rinse cycle if possible. Once your clothes or towels are finished in the machine pull them out and let them air dry. Once they are completely dry check them for a mildew smell. Repeat if necessary.
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Robert Leutwiler says
Great idea. We use vinegar to clean lots of things.
How about an Italian salad: salami, prosciutto, mild cheese, rich Italian dressing, sprinkle on Parmesan,
green olives, if possible salad artichoke in sauce, salt and pepper --ground of course.
capers, and just sliced roast beef, ham or any meat that goes well with Italian.
Good with Fresh Orange Juice with an equal amount of Ginger Ale ( a good brand because some brands are weak)?
o almost forgot quartered fresh tomatoes-so important!
Sorry that can't include quantities since I do it by taste and according to how many people are eating.
The fall weather in CT is gorgeous and I am running in the woods and along the roads like crazy.
Thanks for sharing such a great tip. I have actually thrown items out for the smell not coming out. Pinning for future reference. Visiting from the Link Party Palooza!
So glad I could help. Thanks for stopping by.
[email protected] says
Glad I just read this! Our dryer broke unexpectedly this week. Of course, I had one load in the dryer and another in the washer when I figured it out. We tried to air dry everything, but we live in a high humidity area, so many of the clothes now smell. As soon as we get a new dryer, I will run them through the wash with some vinegar. Thanks!
Oh no! I hate it when things like that happen.
You have created a wonderful blog. Great tips for the housekeeping challenged. Realistic. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂
Leah Courtney says
This is great. I know vinegar is good for so much, but I sometimes forget to use it!
Don't you just love all the things you can do with a bottle of vinegar?
Michelle @ Moms Are Frugal says
Vinegar is great for so many uses. Now I know how get the smell out of my towels. I was just cutting them into rags. Thanks for the post.
What if you have a HE front loader?
Can you maybe add the vinegar in your soap dispenser? I've never used a front loader, so I am not for sure. Sorry.
This is an old post but I actually cane here because I wanted to know where you purchased the bottle you have your vinegar stored in, in your pictures. I use this method all the time...I also have a son that swims. Instead of keeping the huge gallon vinegar jug in the laundry room I'd much rather have that cute bottle like yours!! Crossing my fingers you see this and reply!
The bottle that I use is an old spray bottle and a pour spout that I bought from a local olive oil store. It looks like you can buy something similar on amazon. I will include the link below.