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Damp & Mildew Odours: How to Remove Musty Smell from Clothes

Do your clothes smell musty even after the wash? Discover how to eliminate damp and musty odours from clothes with this easy-to-follow guide


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Remove Musty Smell from Clothes

When clothes smell damp, you know you’ve got a problem on your hands. Not only do you need to do something about the cause of the smell, but you also need to work out how to get musty smells out of clothes. Luckily, we’ve taken on the challenge for you, so all you need to do is read on to find out restore your clothes to wearable freshness.

For a lovely fragrance, wash clothes with Surf with 5 Herbal Extracts. Then, hang a deodorising sachet in your wardrobe or put one in your drawers to keep stored clothes smelling fresh.

Smelly Clothes After Washing – The Possible Causes

If you often have smelly clothes after washing them in the machine, there could be a few possible reasons. Consider the following causes:

  • You have left wet clothes sitting in the washing machine for a period of time before hanging them up to dry.

  • If clothes come out of the machine smelling of mildew, the washer needs to be cleaned.

  • You have used too much detergent and the build-up is preventing the clothes from being cleaned properly.

  • You have put clean clothes away before they are completely dry.

  • You have stored clean dry clothes in a damp environment.

Want to know how to get rid of musty smells in clothes? The best way is to prevent odours from forming in the first place! Of course, it isn’t always easy to control where you store your clothes, especially if you only have a limited amount of space. But when it comes to washing and drying your clothes, there are a few adjustments you can make to ensure they stay smelling fresh:

  • Remove wet clothes from the washing machine as soon as it is finished and hang them out to dry.

  • Regularly run your washing machine (while empty) on a warm to hot cycle (adding a scoop of Omo detergent to the soap tray) to keep the inside of your machine mould-free.

  • Check the label on the detergent and adjust the amount you use accordingly.

  • When line drying clothes, be sure that they are not bunched up so that air can circulate to all parts of the garment and dry everything thoroughly.

  • Line dry clothes outside on a fine sunny day, or indoors in a room that gets lots of fresh air to make sure clothes dry as much as possible before you store them.

  • If it’s not possible to line dry them, use a drying machine to ensure your clothes don’t retain any dampness – but be sure to read the care labels before you do so to check that garments can be dried this way.

How to Remove Musty Smell in Clothes

The quickest way to remove mildew smells is to rewash your clothes on the hottest cycle allowed by the garment’s care label – if you use a high quality detergent like Surf, you’ll get great cleaning with a wonderful fragrance added in. When rewashing your clothes doesn’t entirely do the job, you can try:

  • Adding vinegar to the soap tray. The astringent nature of vinegar will help remove any detergent build-up or residual mould from your clothes.

  • Soak your clothes in an oxygen bleach solution. This is an active ingredient in many detergents designed for both whites and coloured clothes. Always be sure to read the safety and user instructions on the bottle.

Don’t forget to read the care label and following the instructions carefully before washing.

With these tips, and the help of a good quality detergent like Surf, you can say goodbye to damp and musty smelling clothes, and hello to clean and fresh-smelling clothes every time!

how to wash bras

* Identify the original cause of the mildew smell.

  • Take appropriate action to prevent future problems with mouldy smelling laundry.

  • Remove the damp smell by rewashing your clothes.

Frequently asked questions on removing musty smells from clothes

Can I use bleach to remove musty smells from clothes?

Bleach can be effective for removing musty smells from clothes, but it can also damage certain fabrics. Be sure to read the care label on your clothes and test the bleach on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on the entire garment.

What if the musty smell persists after washing?

If the musty smell persists after washing, you can try soaking the clothes in a mixture of warm water and white vinegar for an hour before washing again. You can also try using an odor-eliminating laundry detergent or adding a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or tea tree oil, to the wash cycle.

How can I prevent musty smells from developing in my clothes?

To prevent musty smells from developing in your clothes, be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly before storing. Avoid leaving wet or damp clothes in the washing machine for too long, and store clothes in a cool, dry place. You can also place a few sachets of activated charcoal or silica gel in your closet or dresser to absorb moisture and prevent musty smells from developing.

Originally published