Natural Ways to Remove Mold Smell from Clothes

Amy Erwin

Hi. I'm Amy Erwin, the Intern at Moldli. Thank you for reading and please comment if you care to let me know what you thought or how I can better help you.

If you’ve ever dealt with moldy clothes, you know how difficult it can be to remove the smell.

Even after washing them, a musty odor can linger.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to get rid of mold smell from clothes without using harsh chemicals.

One effective option is to use white vinegar. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can kill most mold types, including those that usually live on clothing.

Just add a cup of distilled white vinegar to your washing machine along with your regular detergent and run a cycle on the hottest water setting. This will not only help remove the mold smell but also prevent future mold growth on your clothes.

Baking soda is another natural way to remove mold smell from clothes. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Add a cup of baking soda to your washing machine (or a half-cup for a small load), along with your regular detergent and run a cycle on the hottest water setting. This will help neutralize the musty smell and leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Identifying Mold Smell on Clothes

If you notice a musty or damp smell on your clothes, it may be a sign of mold growth. Mold can grow on clothes that have been left wet for too long, stored in damp areas, or not washed properly. The smell can be quite pungent and unpleasant, and it can linger even after washing your clothes regularly.

Here are some signs that your clothes may have mold:

  • A musty or damp smell
  • Visible mold growth on the fabric
  • Discoloration or staining on the fabric
  • Irritation or allergic reactions when wearing the clothes

If you suspect that your clothes have mold, it’s important to take action right away to prevent further growth and to get rid of the smell. Mold can be harmful to your health and can spread quickly to other clothes and surfaces.

Ways to Get Rid of Mold Smell from Clothes

1: Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

Mix one cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda in a large bowl or bucket. Add the affected clothes to the mixture and let them soak for at least an hour. The vinegar will naturally kill most mold species, while the baking soda will help to remove any lingering odors. After soaking, wash the clothes as usual with your regular detergent.

2: Lemon Juice and Sunlight

Fill a large bowl or bucket with hot water and add the juice of one lemon. Add the affected clothes to the mixture and let them soak for at least an hour. The acid in lemon juice helps kill the mold and remove any lingering smells. After soaking, hang the clothes outside in direct sunlight to dry. The sun’s UV rays will help to further kill any remaining mold spores and freshen up the clothes.

3: Tea Tree Oil and Water

Mix one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected clothes liberally with the solution and let them sit for at least an hour. Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and antimicrobial agent that can help to kill mold and remove odors. After letting the clothes sit, wash them as usual with your regular detergent.

These natural methods are effective in removing mold smells from your clothes without harsh chemicals. Remember to always wash your clothes in hot water with detergent to kill any remaining mold spores, and to hang them outside in direct sunlight to dry whenever possible.

Preventing Mold Smell in Clothes

If you want to avoid the hassle of getting rid of a mold smell from your clothes, you can take some preventive measures to keep your clothes fresh and mold-free.

Store clothes in and dry space with good ventilation.

Proper storage of your clothes is crucial to avoid mold growth. Make sure to store your clothes in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. Avoid storing your clothes in damp places like basements or attics. Use breathable storage containers like cloth bags or cardboard boxes instead of plastic bags. Make sure to clean your storage containers regularly to avoid mold growth.

Wash your clothes often.

Regular washing and drying of your clothes is essential to keep them fresh and mold-free. Make sure to wash your clothes with a good quality detergent and use hot water if possible. If you have clothes that are prone to mold growth like gym clothes or swimwear, make sure to wash them immediately after use. Dry your clothes completely before storing them. Avoid hanging damp clothes in your closet.

Dry clothes completely before storing or hanging them.

Avoiding dampness is key to preventing mold growth in your clothes. Make sure to dry your clothes completely before storing them. If you live in a humid area, use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home. Avoid hanging wet clothes in your closet. If you have clothes that are wet or damp, make sure to dry them quickly to avoid mold growth.

Round Out & Wrap Up

Getting rid of a moldy smell from clothes can be difficult, but with the above techniques, it is definitely possible.

Each of these methods has its own unique benefits, and you can choose the one that works best for you. 

For instance, vinegar is an excellent natural disinfectant that can kill most mold species, while baking soda helps absorb moisture and remove smells.

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to mold smell.

To prevent mold from growing on your clothes, make sure they are completely dry before storing them, avoid leaving wet clothes in the washing machine for too long, and use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in your home.

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