OdoBan Concentrate in laundry room

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

The smell of fresh laundry is one of life’s simple joys. So it can be a real annoyance when musty smells latch onto clothing, towels, and other soft fabrics.  

But these microorganisms aren’t just smelly. Mold and mildew can damage fabrics over time. Even worse, breathing mold spores on musty clothing can be hazardous to your health.

Why Do My Clothes Smell Musty?

A musty smell on fabrics is typically the result of stinky mildew byproducts, including spores and other microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOC). As mold grows on your fabrics, it releases these organic compounds into the air, resulting in the tangy, earthy aroma we recognize as musty smell. 

How to Prevent Musty Clothes Smell

Mold and mildew love damp, dark areas to grow. That makes moist clothing left in any dark area, like a clothes hamper or poorly ventilated closet, an ideal breeding ground for the microscopic invaders.

Here are some ways to prevent musty odors in clothes and towels: 

  • Keep damp clothing and towels out of warm, unventilated environments. Heated spaces with little airflow, like the inside of your car during summer or your heated home during the winter, are ideal places for mold and mildew growth. Don’t leave damp fabrics out in these conditions for long! 
  • Dehumidify and treat trouble areas. Moisture control is key to preventing mold growth. Certain rooms in your home, like bathrooms and closets, can be more hospitable to mold and mildew due to increased humidity (more water vapor is present in the air) and lack of air flow. Consider using a dehumidifier in these spaces to remove moisture in the air and treat surfaces regularly with OdoBan to help prevent mold and mildew growth. 
  • Spray worn clothing or used towels with OdoBan before tossing in the hamper. Mildew can grow quickly in the right environment, and this will help halt mildew growth and the resulting musty smell. 
  • Wash your clothes and towels more often. The longer you wait to wash, the longer you’re allowing mold, mildew, and harmful bacteria to grow on used towels and fabrics. 
  • Stop using fabric softeners. Fabric softeners and other laundry additives can leave deposits on your washing machine and clothing, which may be contributing to unwanted odors. Instead, consider using OdoBan in your washer to deodorize, soften, and eliminate static cling. 
  • Dry clothes quickly after washing. Do your clothes still smell after washing? After running, your washing machine leaves clothes in a humid environment that is ideal for mildew growth. To avoid musty odors on freshly laundered clothes, promptly move those just-washed loads to the dryer. After drying, fold and transfer clothing to cool, dry storage immediately. 
  • Routinely clean washer gaskets. The exterior rubber gaskets on washing machines can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially on front-loading washers. Regularly spray and wipe down these surfaces with OdoBan to prevent buildup and odors.  

How To Remove Mildew Smell from Clothes 

To get rid of stubborn musty smells on clothes, you’ll need to remove the mildew living on your fabric’s surface. Typically, washing your towels and clothing can remove lingering mold particles.

Cleaning the exterior rubber gaskets of washing machine with OdoBan to prevent mold and mildew.

Before washing, check your washing machine for musty odors caused by mold. Thoroughly clean the exterior rubber gaskets with OdoBan. If washing machine odors persist, a full machine cleaning may be necessary. 

Use OdoBan in the laundry to remove mildew odors on clothes.

Wash the musty clothes in your washing machine on an extended cycle with warm or hot water, depending on the color and type of fabric. Use your normal laundry detergent, but don’t overdo it. Adding too much detergent may contribute to excess residue on fabrics, trapping in odors. Avoid using fabric softeners. Add one cup of OdoBan concentrate to the fabric softener dispenser, or during the final rinse cycle.

Promptly transfer the washed load to the dryer and dry immediately. Alternatively, outdoor line-drying on a sunny day can also be beneficial. Either way, do not allow damp clothing to sit. After drying, the musty smell should be gone. 

If you’ve taken preventative steps but musty odors persist over time, this may be due to a larger mold infestation in your home. Mold reproduces through microscopic spores, which float in the air before settling and colonizing new surfaces. Treating the mold in your home, particularly in notoriously mold-prone areas like bathrooms and closets, is essential to preventing a continuous musty smell. 

How to Stop Swimsuit Odors 

Swimsuits can quickly sour and smell strongly of mildew. Here’s how to help prevent strong odors on swimsuits after spending the day at the pool, lake, or beach.  

After changing out of your swim trunk or bathing suit, spray it inside and out with OdoBan Ready-to-Use Spray. Next, spray down your beach towels. Store them away, preferably in a cool, dry place.

This will help control the growth of mildew and prevent a stinky swimsuit when you arrive home. Later, launder the swimsuit with regular detergent and OdoBan concentrate in your washing machine to freshen and deodorize. 

Never leave a wet swimsuit or damp towels in your vehicle overnight, as this environment can promote rapid mold and mildew growth. 

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