How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes with 1 Simple Step


Let’s show you how to remove mildew smell from clothes with this easy cleaning hack!

If you have ever left your laundry in the washing machine for days, you know the exact mildew laundry smell that I am talking about. And yes, it’s disgusting!

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

Let’s talk about how to get rid of mildew smell out of clothes. Whether you left you wet clothes out and they mildewed or the washing machine did it.

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes
How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

We have a no fail fix that works every time! Let’s talk smell. We told you how to clean your laminate floors with our favorite cleaning hack, now let’s talk mildew laundry!

Mildew Laundry Smell

Guys, I am for real  The LAUNDRY IS TRYING TO KILL ME. 4 kids and I am just done. I can’t keep up with the laundry, which inevitably means that a few times a week I leave wet laundry in the washing machine for too long.

Forgot About Clothes in the Washer

Tell me I am not alone. You surely have forgot about clothes in the washer and when you open the washing machine door you are rudely made aware of that fact by a stench, stink, mildew, musty aroma. Nobody wants musty clothes.

remove mildew smell from clothes
remove mildew smell from clothes

I admit to going to Target and buying clothes on many occasions in an effort to avert having to do laundry for a few days. Now that there are 4 kids, I just can’t do that.

If you enjoy learning easy ways to clean, don’t miss our favorite tiktok cleaning hacks.

Stinky Laundry

3 day old stinky laundry in the washer. I wish I could say that this was the first time I had left wet clothes in the washer for 3 days, but no,

PLEASE tell me that this has happened to you and that I’m not the only one who deals with moldy smelling clothes.

Remove Mildew Smell from Clothes

Let’s talk about how to remove mildew smell from clothes that have been left in the washer. We are going to do this without doing what I use to do – which was re-washing the clothes 3x and adding in a ton of laundry detergent thinking this would help. WRONG.

Here is how to remove mildew smell from clothes by washing your clothes just once but make sure you follow these steps.

  • Make sure that the water temperature setting on your washing machine is set to HOT.
  • Dump 2 cups of white vinegar into the washer or into the laundry dispenser.
  • Place moldy clothes or towels into the washer if they are not already in the washer.
  • Use either NO laundry detergent or HALF of the amount you would typically use. (If you typically use 2 laundry pods, just use 1. If you use 1 pod, just use that – you don’t have to try to half the single laundry pod.)
  • Set your washing machine to use the longest cycle available. Our washer offers an option for extra rinse and a pre-wash. I select both of those and on the longest wash option.

Don’t throw away mildew clothes and check out our trash memes.

Vinegar Wash Trick

This magic Vinegar wash trick removes the smell from clothes.

vinegar wash laundry mildew
vinegar wash laundry mildew

By setting your washer to wash the clothes for an extra amount of time – you are diluting the smell of the laundry so if you do have a slight stench of vinegar – it should be faint. But the best part there should be NO more stinky wet laundry!

I followed this up with the dryer and use dryer balls with essential oils to keep the fresh smell without chemicals.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes

Don’t miss our funny laundry memes for those of us who know that the laundry struggle is real.

funny laundry meme

I have bought clothes at estate sales have a musty smell that just has to go.

If you are trying to get musty smell of clothes, maybe they have been left in a suitcase or in an old dresser, laundry basket for too long or a closet – this tip for removing mildew smell works!

Just wash using the vinegar wash trick!

Laundry is just another thing that I didn’t see in the mom job description. I guess it’s here to stay. If my kids’ clothes or my clothes smell – just pass me the Febreeze and know that I am trying. It’s just that my trying – REALLY isn’t working.

(Read how vinegar works.)

Drying Laundry

I did read that hanging your clothes out in the sun is a great way to dry them. Here in the suburbs, I think our H.O.A. would have a cow. Maybe I should try it. (P.S. How 2020 am I? I’ve never hung laundry out to dry!)

funny laundry meme

This post, How to Get Remove Mildew Smell From Clothes – was originally posted in March 2013.

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Digital Mom
Mom to 4 kids, Molly aka Digital Mom is the blogger-in-chief and meme queen here at She likes to keep it real, overshares on her personal Insta-stories, tries her best to show grace and always appreciates a funny meme. Molly appreciates the unique things in life, and is a Ennegagram 7w8.