We have a quick and easy solution for how to get rid of mildew smell and bring the fresh back, and you only need one ingredient. You will be amazed at how fresh everything smells. It is so simple.

We have an easy solution for how to remove mildew smell from clothes. Only 1 ingredient is needed and it works every time. You will be amazed at how fresh everything smells. This trick works for towels too. #onecrazymom #cleaninghacks #cleaningtips

What takes mildew smell out of clothes?

Ew! Do you ever grab for that fresh towel and get a not so fresh smell? It happens but we are going to show you how to get rid of mildew smell.

After prolonged use, those towels not only lose their freshness, but they begin to take on a less then appealing mildew smell. Yuck! You only need one ingredient — vinegar! 

Yes! Only one ingredient. Can you believe it? Trust me! I love tips and tricks that are this simple.

No complicated things to do or buy. No breaking the bank. Just one simple ingredient and such an easy process.

You will be amazed! It’s not time consuming so no worries about this taking hours. Truly the vinegar in the washing machine does all the work!

After reading my posts on different ways to use Vinegar, you know I love using vinegar around the house. It also works great on clothes and towels.

There are so many uses and this is probably one of my favorites. This also works to remove odor from damp clothes if they have a musty smell.

How to get rid of mildew smell:

  • Step 1. Wash clothes in hot water. Place clothes in the washing machine. The next time you notice your towels are getting musty, wash them in HOT water.
  • Step 2. Add vinegar to the water. Next, add about 1 cup of vinegar to the wash. Just add the vinegar the way you would normally add your detergent.
  • Step 3. Finally, add the detergent. Many people suggest only adding vinegar to the wash and not using detergent. However, I really am sensitive to the smell of vinegar (who isn’t, really?) so I washed my towels with the vinegar AND the normal amount detergent.
  • Step 4. Dry your clothes. You can use the dryer and your regular fabric softener sheets. Another option is to allow them to line dry.
Clothes in laundry basket.

2 more ways to get mildew smell out:

  1. Wash again with baking soda. Just add 1 cup of baking soda to your washing machine. Wash as normal using the longest wash cycle. If clothes still have an odor, repeat the process again.
  2. Let the clothes air dry in the sun. Exposure to sunlight is a natural way to remove a mildew smell as well as other odors in clothes. The UV rays in sunlight help to kill bacteria.

    They need to be in the sunlight for 6+ hours to remove the smells. If it is is really hot and, in the Summer, the time can be reduced for 3 hours.

    If you still smell a slight odor, line dry for another 30 minutes to an hour until the smell is completely gone.

Tips and tricks:

  • Resistant Odors. Usually, vinegar does the trick. However, if you have an odor that is hard to remove, try all 3 methods.

    Wash in vinegar, wash again in baking soda and line dry in the sunlight. The combination of all 3 should do the trick.
  • Laundry Detergent. You can wash the clothes in vinegar but we prefer to also add detergent. The combination works great for our clothing and leaves everything nice and fresh. You can use your preference.
  • Buy in bulk. We use a lot of vinegar because it works so well on clothes. Vinegar can be purchased in bulk at Sam’s and other wholesale stores. I buy 2 gallons at a time and it is much cheaper than buying lots of the smaller bottles.
Clothes in dryer.

Can you use on carpet?

Yes, vinegar also works to remove the mildew smell from carpet. Use a spray bottle to put directly on the area of the carpet to help the odor in your home.

Allow to air dry. If there is a musty odor, it will help to have fresh air. Baking soda also helps absorb odors on carpet.

White vinegar works perfect to remove the mildew smell. The affected area will be totally free of mildew odor.

You might want to test a small patch of carpet prior to spraying a large area.

This works great.

Vinegar is an inexpensive but great way to remove mildew and musty smells from clothes. Store bought cleaners often mask the odor but vinegar actually works to remove it.

I think you will be really amazed how well this works with only 1 ingredient. The use of vinegar is so effective. Give it a try and enjoy fresh and clean smelling clothes.

Toss all of those other products and buy some vinegar! It is so handy around the house.

More easy laundry tips:

We have a quick and easy solution for how to remove mildew smell from clothes. Only 1 ingredient is needed and it works every time. You will be amazed at how fresh everything smells. This trick works for towels too. #onecrazymom #cleaninghacks #cleaningtips

Try these other recipes

Share this recipe!


About Carrie Barnard

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. MistyMommie says:

    Replace fabric softener with vinegar when washing towels. It will eliminate odor, soften towels and keep them absorbent.

  2. Tracey Surber traceysurber4@gmail.com says:

    Vinegar also does terrific to clean and fresen washing machine..Just add a cup or so and and turn washer on and let it run thru a wash cycle..

    1. carrie says:

      Great tip Tracey! Thanks for sharing.