Don’t Throw Away Musty or Moldy Clothes. Do This Instead.

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Clothes left in a closet, storage unit, or a garage for a while can start smelling musty or moldy—and may even start growing a thin layer of mildew on them.

You don’t have to throw these clothes away, though you may want to toss clothes that are truly mold-covered, which is rare.

Mildew is much more common, and it (and the smell it leaves behind) can be gotten rid of.

Here’s how to do so easily and effectively:

Cleaning Musty or Moldy Clothes

  1. Wash with Vinegar: Add one cup of distilled white vinegar to a washing machine load without detergent and wash the musty or moldy clothes in hot water, if the fabric allows for that, or warm/cold if needed. Sorting them by wash type will get you the best results, as hot water is the best way to do this. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and it can help kill mold spores.
  2. Baking Soda: Baking soda is another natural choice for cleaning mold and mildew smells out of clothing. Make a paste with baking soda and hot water, saturate the clothing with the mixture in a bathtub or large bucket, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes. Then, wash the clothes as usual, without vinegar, but with detergent.
  3. Dry Thoroughly: After washing, dry your clothes in a dryer, then hang them up in the sun for a few to 20 minutes.. Sunlight (and fresh air) helps kill or remove any remaining mold spores and mildew smell.

Preventing Musty or Moldy Clothes

You can also prevent your clothes from smelling like mildew in the first place, if you prepare your closet or storage unit for longer-term storage. Unlike your washing options (above), in prevention, you can use as many of the following choices as you think are needed, for example, spacing out clothes and controlling humidity, and hanging deodorizers. The more the better, if it seems necessary, as temperatures and air flow will vary greatly, depending on how long your clothes will be in storage for.

  1. Control Closet Humidity: Use a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers to keep humidity levels low in your closet and home.
  2. Proper Ventilation: Ensure your closet has good air circulation. You can leave the closet door open periodically or install a vent or louvered doors to improve airflow.
  3. Use Closet Deodorizers: Products like silica gel packets or activated charcoal can absorb excess moisture and prevent odors.
  4. Keep It Clean: Regularly clean your closet, removing dust and ensuring that no damp items are stored inside.
  5. Avoid Overcrowding: Give your clothes room to breathe by not overcrowding your closet. This helps improve air circulation and reduces moisture retention.
  6. Store Only Fully Dry Clothes: Make sure all clothing is completely dry before putting it away. Use breathable garment bags for storage if necessary.

Mold Solutions Can Help More

If the clothes in your closet are constantly smelling like mold or mildew, there may be a bigger mold problem than expected.

Please see this “case study” on how mold grew in one Tampa Bay resident’s closet and how we were able to handle it for them:

Cowhide Footstool Cross-Contaminates Beach Home, Spawns Mold Bloom: “The closet was Ground Zero. It was like a full mold-bloom in that particular closet.”

If you suspect a bigger problem in your home, we offer Free Environmental Consultations and can help you determine the cause of and correct any mold problem.

Call Mold Solutions for a Free Environmental Consultation.

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Stephanie K.
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"Out of all of the options in the area, I’m so glad I went with Mold Solutions. They were the only ones that can thoroughly handle my entire problem, including the air conditioning ducts where other companies were telling me I needed 3 to 4 different service people with different bills all coming to my house at different times costing me tons of money. They got everything done in one day. I felt the difference in my health immediately after they finished." — 5-Star Google Review
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I'll start by saying Alisha from the word go was fantastic and brandon when he came out put me at ease. See I got taken by another company for thousands of dollars .The team hats off to you Devin, Heather,Monica thank you for doing such a caring job and giving us back are home in a condition we could be safe in and start the build back process. Devin and Alisha thank you for responding to every question we had . I will recommend you to whomever has to go through this type of horrible experience. You guys handled it with compassion and integrity and that in itself is a dieing trait So many thanks to you all....
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Mold solutions just remediated mold in my air handler and ductwork throughout my home. They were very thorough. I was impressed with their knowledge of mycotoxins from mold and the seriousness of mold. All of the staff that I interacted with was patient, friendly, helpful and efficient. They kept me informed and I was super happy that the entire home was dry fogged with pet friendly ingredients. My two cats and I had to go out on the patio for 3 hours as the dry fog did it's thing. They kept me informed and let me know when it was perfectly safe to go back inside. Trustworthy, efficient and nice.
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