We’ve all experienced it, that musty smell that lingers in clothes long after they’ve been stored away. Whether it’s from dampness, lack of air circulation, or a mix of other factors. The result is the same: smelly clothes that make us cringe every time we grab something from the closet.
How about if I told you there was a way to remove mildew smell from your clothes………without washing them!
Yep, today I am going to show you how to get musty smell out of your clothes without washing them!
Are you tired of constantly washing your clothes just to remove that persistent musty smell?
I totally get it! Who has time for that. That’s why I have compiled a list of 15 simple solutions on how to get musty smell out of clothes without washing.
There are some easy tips you can try to help eliminate that musty odor without having to do a full load of laundry every time.
Say goodbye to unnecessary water consumption and hello to fresh-smelling garments. Read on to learn more!
Key Takeaways for Getting Rid of a Musty Smell!
- Harness the power of sun and fresh air or use baking soda, white vinegar, vodka, lemon juice and essential oils to naturally eliminate musty odors from clothes.
- Take precautionary measures such as performing patch tests when applying cleaning agents for best results.
- Use dryer sheets to absorb odors and add pleasant fragrances in clothing drawers or cars.
#1 Harness the Power of Sun and Fresh Air
Nature has its ways of keeping things fresh, and one of the best natural odor eliminators is the combination of sunlight and fresh air. If your clothes smell musty, the best thing you can do is this! Try airing your musty clothing outdoors or near an open window rather than resorting to your washing machine.
Not only will you save money, energy and water, but you’ll also prolong the life of your clothes since frequent washing and drying can reduce their lifespan. If the smell persists, you can always move to another step.
Hanging your musty smelling clothes on a clothesline in a well-lit outdoor area for a day or two can work wonders in removing a musty smell or a mildew smell from clothes. Sunlight has antibacterial properties and can act as a natural bleach, making your clothes smell fresh, as opposed to that awful mildew smell.
However, remember to avoid exposing colorful garments to direct sunlight for extended periods to prevent fading.
Indoor Drying Near an Open Window
If outdoor drying is not an option, you can try the following methods to dry your clothes indoors to get rid of that mildew smell:
- Hang your gym clothes or whichever clothes smell musty near an open window to benefit from the fresh air and sunlight.
- Ensure proper air circulation by spreading the clothes out.
- Consider using a fan or a dehumidifier to expedite the drying process and reduce humidity.
Duration and Precautions
Ensure your musty smelling clothing hangs for at least a day for get rid of those musty odors and to avoid a musty smell. Be cautious with delicate fabrics that may be damaged by sunlight or wind, and always test a small, hidden area first to ensure no discoloration occurs.
#2 Baking soda to the rescue
Baking soda, a versatile odor remover, offers two application methods: paste and bag-shaking technique. It works by neutralizing the pH level of the odor-causing bacteria, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean.
However, be cautious with delicate fabrics and test a small area first to ensure no damage occurs.
Baking Soda Paste
For a paste application, combine two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water and apply it to the smelliest parts of the garment. Allow the paste to air dry completely before brushing or removing it.
This method is effective for spot-treating unwanted odors on your clothes without having to wash the entire garment.
Baking Soda Bag Technique
The bag-shaking technique works well for a bad odor. It involves placing your dry clothing in a large plastic bag with baking soda, shaking it vigorously, and letting it sit for 15 minutes. Then, gently brush off the powder.
This method is perfect for freshening up garments between washes, especially when you’re short on time.
Precautions and Tips
Before applying baking soda to your dry clothes, always perform a patch test on a discreet area to prevent staining or damage. Be extra cautious with delicate fabrics like silk or leather, as applying baking soda on them may cause damage.
Baking soda works really well to get a bad smell out of clothes.
#3 White Vinegar Wonders
White distilled vinegar works really well to remove odor from your gym clothes or any other clothes that smell musty. White distilled vinegar can be utilized as a spray or soaking solution. It has a low pH level, which aids in removing strong odors from clothes, and using light vinegar instead of dark vinegar helps to prevent staining. They do make scented vinegar (like lavender) if you want something with a nicer smell.
Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to create a vinegar spray. Spray your clothes with the solution, making sure to test it in an inconspicuous location first to prevent any discoloration.
Hang your musty smelling clothes to completely dry and let the vinegar scent dissipate, this works well to get the smell out of clothes, leaving your garments smelling fresh and clean.
Immerse your clothes in a 50/50 white vinegar-water solution for 30 minutes for an intensive deodorizing treatment. This method is especially effective for eliminating tough odors from musty smelling clothes.
Rinse the dry clothes with cold water and allow your now wet clothes to air dry.
Mixing with Essential Oils
To add a pleasant scent to your sometimes harsh smelling vinegar solution, you can mix it with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. This combination not only helps to remove odor, but also leaves your clothes smelling fresh and fragrant.
The vinegar solution is a great way to remove musty smell, get rid of musty odors, and freshen up clothes plagued by a mildew smell.
#4 Vodka: Not Just for Drinking
Interestingly, vodka can serve as a deodorizing spray to neutralize odor from clothes. This unconventional method, originating from Broadway actors who spray their costumes with vodka to remove sweat smells, can be just as effective when clothes smell musty. Who knew!
Using vodka as a deodorizing spray is a great way to freshen up your clothes and get rid of the funky smell out of clothes.
Vodka Spray Preparation
Combine vodka and water in equal proportions in a spray bottle to prepare a vodka spray. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture for a more pleasant fragrance.
Remember to test the solution on a small, hidden area of the fabric first to ensure no staining occurs.
Application and Drying
Lightly mist your clothes with the vodka solution, concentrating on odor-prone areas such as underarms and necklines.
Then, let the garments air dry. The vodka will evaporate, taking the musty odors with it.
Potential Stain Risks
Although vodka is an effective odor remover, it may cause discoloration or fading on certain fabrics. Always test the solution on a small, hidden area first to ensure no damage occurs.
Avoid using it on delicate or dry-clean-only items.
#5 Lemon Juice Loveliness
Lemon juice, boasting natural deodorizing properties, can eliminate odors from clothes when used as a spray or applied directly to specific spots. Its citric acid content makes it an effective odor eliminator, while also adding a fresh, citrus scent to your garments.
Using lemon juice to remove odors is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your home clean.
Lemon Juice Spray
Combine lemon juice and water in equal measures in a spray bottle to make a lemon juice spray. Spritz your clothes with the mixture and let them air dry.
Be sure to test the solution on a small, hidden area of the fabric first to ensure no discoloration occurs.
For particularly musty areas, you can try the following spot treatment method:
- Dab diluted lemon juice on the fabric.
- Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Rinse the fabric.
- Air dry.
This method can be especially helpful for targeting specific areas of your clothes that tend to hold onto unpleasant odors.
Fabric Safety Considerations
Exercise caution when using lemon juice on clothes, as with all other methods. Test on a small, hidden area first to ensure no discoloration occurs.
Lemon juice can be an effective and natural way to remove mildew smells, but it’s essential to use it safely to avoid any damage to your garments.
#6 Essential Oils Efficacy
Essential oils can be used to mask odors and add a pleasant scent to your clothes, making them a great option for freshening up garments without washing. While they may not completely remove odors, essential oils can work well for clothes that are not heavily soiled.
Oil Selection and Dilution
To combat odors with essential oils, select your oil of choice — lavender, grapefruit, or lemon, for instance — and dilute it with water in a spray bottle.
Always test the mixture on a small, hidden area of the fabric first to ensure no staining or damage occurs.
Spray Bottle Application
Lightly mist your clothes with the essential oil mixture and allow them to air dry. The pleasant scent of the oils will help mask any remaining odors, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and fragrant.
For an extra boost, you can also combine essential oils with other odor-eliminating methods, such as vodka or vinegar.
Scent Layering Techniques
Create a customized fragrance experience by layering different essential oil scents. Start with a base scent, such as a light floral or citrus oil, and add a few drops of complementary scents, like woodsy or musky oils, for a unique and personalized aroma.
This technique allows you to experiment with various scent combinations and find the perfect fragrance to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
#7 Freezing Freshness
Though unconventional, freezing your clothes can effectively kill odor-causing bacteria and rejuvenate your garments. This method is particularly useful for delicate fabrics or items that cannot be washed, and while it may not be as effective as other methods, it’s worth a try if you’re looking for an alternative solution.
Freezing your clothes is a simple and cost-effective way to freshen up your garments.
Freezer Bag Method
In the freezer bag method, follow these steps:
- Enclose your clothes in a large freezer bag and seal it.
- Put the bag in the freezer for at least a few hours or overnight.
- Allow the cold temperature to get mildew smell out of your clothes and kill any remaining bacteria.
This method is a great way to freshen up clothes without having to wash them. It’s not. Extract your clothes from the freezer bag and allow them to thaw and warm up before using them.
Effectiveness and Limitations
While freezing may not be as effective as other methods, it can still help to freshen up your clothes without washing them. Keep in mind that this method is best suited for delicate fabrics or items that cannot withstand washing, and it may not completely remove all odors.
However, it can still be a useful tool for extending the life of your clothes and reducing the number of wrinkles.
#8 Dryer Sheet Deodorizing
By placing them between your garments, dryer sheets can rid your clothes or unpleasant smells without the need for washing. These thin fabric sheets can reduce static cling, soften clothes, and effectively mask musty odors when used correctly. They can also be used in your dresser to prevent mildew smell in the first place.
Using dryer sheets is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
To absorb odors and imbue a fresh scent, layer dryer sheets among clothes in your drawer or closet. The dryer sheets will release a pleasant fragrance over time, helping to keep your clothes smelling fresh and free of musty odors.
You can also use dryer sheets to freshen up your car. Place a sheet or two on the sheet.
Select a dryer sheet fragrance that harmonizes with your other aromatic products like laundry detergent, fabric softener, and air fresheners for a consistent scent experience.
This way, your clothes will not only smell fresh, but also harmonize with the other scents in your home.
How to Get Musty Smell Out of Clothes Summary
In conclusion, there are numerous simple solutions to get rid of musty smells from your clothes without having to use washing machines and heavily perfumed detergents. From harnessing the power of the sun and fresh air, to using baking soda, white vinegar, vodka, lemon juice, essential oils, freezing, or dryer sheets, there’s a method to suit every need and preference. Give these techniques a try and enjoy fresh-smelling, odor-free clothes without the hassle of washing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get the musty smell out of clothes fast?
To quickly get rid of musty smells in clothes, wash them with a quality heavy-duty detergent, not your regular detergent or try a hot water and vinegar solution.
You can also add baking soda to the washer, use pine-scented cleaner, or hang clothes outside to air dry.
How do you get the musty smell out of vintage clothes without washing?
Stuff pockets and sleeves with newspaper, seal the item in a plastic bag, and let it sit for a day or two.
The newspaper will absorb the musty odor and leave your vintage clothes smelling fresh.
Can sunlight really remove musty smells from clothes?
Sunlight is a natural and effective way to remove musty smells from clothes, as it has anti-bacterial properties and acts as a natural bleach.
Will baking soda damage delicate fabrics?
It is advised to test baking soda on a small area of delicate fabrics first, as it could damage them.
Can I use vodka on dry-clean-only items?
It is not recommended to use vodka on dry-clean-only items as it may cause damage.
Other Cleaning Articles You May Like:
- How to get the musty smell out of your closet
- If your fridge smells off, do this!
- Best way to get mold out of clothes
- How to clean bath toys
- How to deep clean your bathroom
- 5 minute cleaning tasks that pack a punch
- How to spot clean a comforter
- The many uses of pine sol
- How to keep your house smelling good all the time
- My favorite homemade eyeglass cleaner
- How to get mothball smell out of clothes
- How to get mud out of clothes
- Remove melted crayon
- Remove awful curry smell from house
- No more wrinkles on your clothes
- Get rid of that nasty smell coming from your washing machine
Grainne Foley is a wife and mother of 2 great kids. During her 5 years of full time RV travel, Grainne learned to become very efficient at household chores, in order to make time for family adventures. Now, back in a house, she has continued to create tools and techniques to help others lighten the load of household organization and cleaning.