How to Get Rid of Musty Smell in Clothes and Towels

Smelly towels and musty odor, those are just two of the laundry hazards you have to face when you do not let your towels or clothes dry thoroughly. If you want to know how to get rid of musty smell in clothes and towels all you have to do is continue reading our article.

It provides the information you need to know so you can have perfectly smelling fabrics every day.

How to Get Moldy Smell Out of Towels?

Excessive humidity is what causes musty smell in clothes and towels and towels are designed to get wet. That is their primary purpose as they are made to remove the moisture from your body and absorbed it into its fabric. Yet, there are times that your towels do not dry properly and instead of smelling nice, you get that musty odor.

The reason for that musty odor is that either the towels did not dry thoroughly or there is a buildup of detergent or fabric softener and bacteria has found its way in. The good news is that you can get rid of that musty odor very easily.

One of the methods you can use is replace your laundry detergent with 1 cup of vinegar. Then turn on the hot water in your top or front loading washing machine and send the stinky towels through the wash cycle.

After that cycle is over, repeat the process but this time replace both the detergent and vinegar with 1 cup of baking soda. When that cycle is done, your towels should be smelling nice and fresh again.

How to Get Mold and Mildew out of Clothes?

Mold can be dangerous to your health and when it gets into your clothes, you are more at risk because the toxic material is right next to your skin. There are different products you can use to get rid of the mold that has begun to grow in your clothes.

Vinegar Bleach Remove Musty Smell

Vinegar and Baking Soda

  • Bleach - but only if the bleach does not damage the fabric
  • Borax - as long as it is safe for your clothes
  • Vinegar - it contains acid that kills mold
  • Baking soda - helps your clothes smell fresh and clean
  • Mold killing detergent - laundry soap manufacturers continue to improve their products and this is one upgrade you can use.

Now that you know the different products, you need to know some of the methods you can use to get rid of the mold growing in your favorite jeans.

Wash in hot water

You have to be careful here as hot water does kill mold but it can also damage some of your clothing. Keep the water hot but not too hot

Wash regularly

Use your regular detergent and fill the washing machine up before you add the bleach. Check to make sure you can bleach those clothing items

Soak your clothes

Mix about 1/2 cup of bleach and water together and soak your clothes for about a few hours

Replace bleach with borax

This cleanser does not give off toxic fumes like bleach does and all you need is 1/2 cup in some hot water to do the job

Soak in vinegar and water

This is safer for most clothes than using bleach and soak the items for about an hour before washing with your regular laundry soap

How to Wash Moldy Clothes

This is going to be tricky as some fabrics do not handle hot water very well. Cold water is not effective against mold so at worst you should stick to warm water where necessary and hot when you can.

Then if your clothes are vulnerable to bleach, do not add any into your washer or bucket if you are going to soak the clothes. Use borax instead and your clothes should be safe from any chemicals bleach has inside.

With borax, you should pre-mix it with hot water so it is dissolved fully before adding the powder to your wash. You can try an oxygen bleach instead of borax if you think it is safe for your clothing.

How to Get Mold Stains out of Clothes?

How to Get Mold Stains out of Clothes

The danger of living in a high humidity area is that your clothes can start to grow mold fairly quickly. Then when you go to clean that mold off your favorite items, the mold leaves stains behind, making the clothes unwearable.

The key to winning this battle is to take your clothes outside first, so that the spores do not spread inside your home. Then you need to clean and dry your closet completely so that the mold does not return

Putting your mold-infested clothes in the sun first helps kill the mold spores. Once that is done, you can use an old toothbrush to clean away as much of the mold as possible. Again, do this outside so you get rid of the mold and not relocate it.

Once that is done, you can put some stain remover on it as pretreatment, wait about 30 minutes then wash the clothes in hot water. Wash these items by themselves so you do not transfer any spores.

You can add in a cup of vinegar at this time so the mold is completely removed.

Finding the root causes...

In removing mold from clothing & towels, you will find that the places you hang your clothes and towels are part of the problem. Bathrooms, closets and bedrooms, as well as laundry rooms, are not always the driest environments, especially if you wad up wet clothing and leave them in a corner or your closet.

When trying to avoid black mold or musty odors, you need to dry those rooms with one of the best dehumidifiers. As they say, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Keeping the air in those dry through using the right dehumidifier for those rooms is the best way to remove mold from clothes.

The less mold that gets inside your clothes, the easier time you will have cleaning them. You will also save some money as you won’t be using a lot of different cleansers to get those clothing items clean and mold free again.

Our Advice on How to Get Mold out of Fabric

This can be a complicated procedure as all fabrics do not respond to the same cleaning methods. One of the first steps you must take is to learn what cleansers will and will not work with the fabrics your bath towels and clothes are made from.

Because towels and clothes are often made from the same fabrics the solutions are the same as well. Put your towels in the washing machine and if possible use bleach or borax to start.

You can also use vinegar with a second cycle of baking soda to make sure your towels come out spotless. When you place your clothes in the washing machine, use the cleanser that works best for those fabrics.

Dry your towels by hanging them on a bar/hook in a well-ventilated place after every use to prevent mold from growing.

Don’t be afraid to wash your clothes 2 or 3 times to get the mold or them, old stains out of the material.

Some final words

They say that information is power and you will have that power over mold and that awful musty or mildew odor when you use the information given above. Once you learn how to get rid of mold from your towels and clothing, you should not be afraid of seeing mold on them again.

To make sure you do it right, you can use bleach, borax, or vinegar with a little baking soda. Then stay away from cold water. Hot is the best temperature to use. You can soak your clothes and wash them or you can wash them only. How you do it is up to you.

The key is to use the information above to its fullest potential.
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My name is Justin Williams. I am the founder and blogger at (read more about us). I was an allergy sufferer and that is also the reason why I began my trek to finding the best dehumidifier for my own personal health issues. All of the dehumidifier top picks on the site were put through their paces by Lance Perez - our dehumidifier researcher. He put each one through a series of tests to see how well they performed. Then, our editorial team compiled the insights into articles and published them.

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