Mildew causes your laundry to smell sour and unpleasant. When you leave laundry in warm and damp locations, it provides a breeding ground for the mildew. After you smell the mildew odor on the clothes, they must be treated immediately. Instead of throwing the clothes away or masking the smell, you can launder the clothes with items in your home so they smell fresh again. Laundering the clothes properly prevents the mildew from returning.
Things You'll Need
- Chlorine bleach
- Color-safe bleach
- White distilled vinegar
- Baking soda
- Laundry detergent
Separate the white laundry from the colors into small piles. Avoid packing the laundry machine with too many clothes, as they will not become clean.
Place the white clothes into the washing machine with 1 cup chlorine bleach. In the other wash loads, add color-safe bleach to the rest of the laundry.
Add 1 cup baking soda to the wash cycle for all laundry loads. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to the washing machine's rinse cycle.
Launder the clothes with the hottest water possible. Always read the care labels on the laundry to ensure you wash them properly.
Dry the white clothes in small loads on the hottest heat setting. Hang the laundry to dry on a clothesline, if you desire. The clothesline allows air to circulate around the laundry to help remove any odors that remain. Launder the clothes again with your preferred laundry detergent, using the same process if a mildew smell remains.
Tips & Warnings
- Only add chlorine bleach to white laundry, as it will ruin and fade other colors.
- Iowa State University; Textiles and Laundry; Jan Stone; 2004
- New Mexico State University; Getting Clothes Clean; Susan Wright; April 2006
- University of Missouri Extension; How to Prevent and Remove Mildew; Wanda Eubank et el; April 1998
- "Reader's Digest": Mildew Cleaning Solutions
- "Good Housekeeping": Sour Smelling Laundry Solution
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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