We are all familiar with the musty smell our clothes can get. Picture: diegods72/Pixabay
We are all familiar with the musty smell our clothes can get. Picture: diegods72/Pixabay

3 steps to help you remove that mouldy smell from clothing

By Nneka Jonas Time of article published Sep 30, 2020

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We are all familiar with the musty smell our clothes can get. The unpleasant smell is usually caused by mould, and not every detergent will be able to remove it. Fortunately, there are other cleaning products that can get this job done.

What would we do without vinegar and baking soda?

These two remedies have proven to be indispensable in the household. They are also the solution to removing the odour of mould from clothing.

The cause of mould in clothes

Jerseys that have been in your closet's bottom drawer for too long or towels that have not been instantly removed from the washing machine can smell bad.

The smell is normally caused by fungi. However, with the help of baking soda and vinegar, you can give your clothes a fresh scent and a second life.

What not to do

First of all, there are a few things you shouldn’t do to get rid of the musty smell in your clothes. For example, do not use a detergent that has a strong perfume, as this will mask the musty smell but may not remove the fungi, in which case, the musty smell will quickly return.

Also, don’t use fabric softener, as a residue can build up and grow new mould.

Finally, give your washing machine a good clean. This device can actually be the source of the fungi. This is not surprising when you consider that your dirty laundry and a lot of moisture come together in the machine.

Step 1: Wash with vinegar

Wash your clothes with vinegar. Set the washing machine to the highest temperature (unless your clothes cannot handle this heat). Spread your clothes as evenly as possible in the washing machine then pour a large glass of white vinegar over them and run the machine without detergent. The acids in the vinegar help to fight bacteria. The fungi will disappear after this wash.

Step 2: Wash with baking soda

After washing with vinegar, sprinkle the clothes with a large cup of baking soda. Run the machine once again at a high temperature and without detergent. Baking soda has a neutralising effect which will get rid of any remaining odours.

Step 3: Dry in the sun

Let your clothes dry outside as the sun has a disinfecting effect, which will kill more bacteria. If you are unable to hang your clothes outside then put them in the dryer on the appropriate programme. After doing this, your clothes may still have a hint of staleness.

If so, repeat the above steps. However, use just a small amount of vinegar and baking soda – half a cup instead of a full cup.

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