The most common cause for mildew smell in the laundry is forgetting the load in the machine. However, it is not the only one. A dirty or old machine can also cause your clothes to smell musty. In this article we will share some quick fixes you can use to get rid of the musty smell, as well as some tips on how to prevent your laundry machine from smelling.
There are three easy ways in which you can get rid of musty smell
1. White vinegar – Leave the laundry in the machine and run the hottest cycle. Let the tub fill with water. Do not add detergent or fabric softener, instead, add 2 cups of white vinegar and pause the cycle to let the clothes soak. The acid in the vinegar will attack the mildew bacteria and destroy it. After an hour, let the machine finish the cycle.
2. Baking soda – Baking soda is a great odour-neutraliser. However, it attacks different types of mildew and mould bacteria than vinegar. If your clothes are still smelling musty after the vinegar soak, repeat the cycle but use 1 cup of baking soda instead.
3. A hot wash with bleach (chlorine or oxygenated) – Bleach and hot water eliminate all mildew bacteria. However, you should use chlorine bleach for whites only. Add 1 cup of oxygenated bleach to your usual detergent. Use the hottest temperature cycle that is suitable for the clothes you are washing.
After eliminating the mildew bacteria, let your clothes air-dry. Sun and fresh air will act as natural disinfectants and help completely remove the musty smell.
How to keep clothes from smelling musty?
Let clothes completely dry before putting them away
Folding and putting away clothes that are still damp can also cause musty smells. Whether you use a dryer or air-dry your garments, make sure they are 100% dry before putting them away.
Avoid excess use of detergents
Even though it seems that using a larger amount of detergent would help remove mildew from your clothes, it may actually make the problem worse. Too much detergent leaves soapy residue on clothing. It may trap mildew and mould bacteria and cause your clothes to smell musty. Always make sure to match the amount of detergent with the size of your load.
Soften hard water
Hard water causes mineral buildup in your washer and on your clothes. Install a water softening system and get rid of the mildew smells, as well as the hard water spots on your sink and taps. If such a system is out of your budget, add ½ cup of washing soda or borax to each load to get clothes cleaner and prevent mildew.
Skip the fabric softener
Fabric softener is designed to leave a faint residue on your clothes, in order to prevent static electricity. What is more it coats the clothing fibres with surfactants. Those may cause bacteria growth and trap mildew or sweat smell. You can replace your fabric softener with vinegar.
Clean your washer
Add cleaning your washer to your regular weekly/monthly cleaning schedule. Wipe the inside of your drum with a disinfecting wipe at least once a week to prevent mould and mildew bacteria from building up. When not in use, leave the door of your washer open in order to increase ventilation and airflow. Run a cleaning cycle or deep clean your machine at least once a month. That way you will kill any mildew bacteria that may be found inside.
Take care of your closet
Damp clothes can also cause mildew and mould in your closet. If this is an issue you struggle with, remove all clothing from your wardrobe and leave it open to improve ventilation and airflow.
There are other steps you can take in order to remove all mildew and damp smells from your closet.
• Make sure you don’t overcrowd it. If your closet is cramped, air will not be able to circulate properly and moisture will be trapped, causing mould and mildew growth.
• Do not keep stinky shoes in there. Keep sweaty shoes (or the ones you wear on a daily basis) out of the closet. Sweat may produce bacteria that will stay in your wardrobe and cause it to smell bad.
• Excess humidity. If your closet is in a damp area, make sure to air it out regularly and consider using a dehumidifier. His device will control the moisture levels in the air.
Make sure to regularly check both your washing machine and your closet. Clean them and take care of any moisture that might be trapped in there. Do not allow your clothes to stay smelly for too long – it will be harder to remove the bad odour after. We hope this article helps you enjoy fresher clothes.