Mildew is a type of fungus which leaves unpleasant smell when it is formed. Usually, this unpleasant smell comes from poor ventilation, excess moisture, humidity and excessive warm condition. Mildew smell can happen in your home areas and furniture, cars, and clothing. Though problematic, you can actually get rid of mildew smell with some simple steps. Check out below for 15 easy steps to get rid of mildew smell from three places: your clothing, your cars and your homes.

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell From Clothing

Mildew smell from clothing can happen when you use too much laundry detergent or fabric softener. When you do that, it makes soap accumulate on clothing. This leads to cloth items being less absorbent and develop mildew smell. To handle the problem, try these 3 simple steps.

1. Wash Cloth Items with Vinegar

One of the first things you can do is to wash cloth items with white vinegar in a washing machine. Put the cloth items like clothing, drapery, and linens in the washing machine, add 1 cup of white vinegar to a normal load, and soak it for 30 minutes. Then, start a regular wash cycle. You should also add a liquid and scented fabric softener when the rinse starts. Scented fabric softener sheet can also be put inside the dryer. Do this a few times as you see fit.

2. Wash Cloth Items with Baking Soda

Alternatively, you can do the above steps but with baking soda instead of white vinegar. This works as well. Like white vinegar, baking soda really helps to dispel mildew smell from your clothing. Wash cloth items with baking soda in a washing machine. Like the first step above, you just need to add a cup of baking soda to a normal load and soak it for 30 minutes. Then, start a regular wash cycle.

3. Hang Them Outside

After washing, you need to hang clothing items outside. This will expose them to light and fresh air, which helps to get rid of mildew smell naturally. Before bringing them inside your house again, you need to ensure that the fabrics are all completely dry. Otherwise, mildew can happen again as trapped moisture is one of its main causes.

If the weather is damp or rainy, bring all fabrics inside. Do not leave out fabrics overnight because long exposure in damp weather can cause mildew smell as well in your clothing.

However, please remember that to effectively implement the three steps above, you also need to check that your washing machine is in good condition. Often, it can also cause mildew smell. Make sure you have washed them thoroughly as well.

Some other remedies you can use to get rid of mildew smell in clothing items include ammonia, borax, heavy detergent and disinfectant concentrate. You can use a half cup of ammonia to get rid of mildew smell in towels while you rinse them. Heavy detergents are also good to use for your clothing if the fabrics are of delicate types.

Meanwhile, disinfectant concentrates can be used as an alternative to ammonia. It is good for not so delicate fabrics like towels. Last but not least, a half cup of borax mixed with hot water until dissolved is also a really effective way to get rid of mildew smell in your clothes. You should run the washing cycle as longest and as hottest possible for your clothing while using the borax mix.

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell From Car

Having a mildew smell on your car can be annoying, especially if you need to be in them for a large part of your days. Follow the steps outlined in this section to help you get rid of mildew smell from your car. But first, you need to prepare the tools and materials, which include hair dryer or vacuum cleaner with a wet vacuuming capability, odor absorber, enzyme cleaner or anti-mildew solution, rag or absorbent cloth, scrub pad, and baking soda.

4. Locate Source

As always, knowing where a problem originates helps a lot with the finding of its solution.

Identify where the smell comes from in your car. Usually, mildew smell will be caused by moisture or humidity built up in your car. So, you need to check several areas where that can happen. For example, the storage space where your spare tire is located. Or check the floor of your car, in which you also need to remove the mats and carpeting as well. You should also check the trunk, or your evaporator drain tube. It is possible also that the mildew smell stems from the filter of your vehicle’s air conditioner. See whether it has any leaks, condensation, clogged parts, and dampness.

5. Remove any Covering

After you have identified the source of smell, you need to thoroughly clean and dry it. To do that, remove any accessories or covering in that area. For example, if the source is from the floor or the trunk, you need to remove the mats, upholstery, and carpets of your vehicle. If the smell is coming from the air conditioner unit, then remove the filter of the air conditioner.

6. Wipe Dry Areas

Then, wipe off as much moisture as you can possibly do by using an absorbent cloth or rag. Make sure that you remove as much of the moisture or liquid as you can. It is important that you ensure as much moisture or liquid as possible have been removed.

7. Scrub Off the Mildew

The next step after removing the moisture is scrubbing the mildew that has grown on the area. To do this, get a nylon scrub pad. Clean the area sufficiently to remove any possible growth, but do not overdo it as well.

8. Dry the Affected Areas

Don’t forget to keep it dry after you have finished with cleaning. To dry the affected area, use a hair dryer for small areas and a vacuum cleaner capable of doing wet vacuuming for larger area. If the affected area is  your air conditioner unit, use a cotton swab to dry it. Then, turn on the heater until you have ensured that there is no moisture detected.  This step can help avoid the growth of the mold.

9. Apply Anti-Mildew Solution

Next, apply an anti-mildew solution, an odour absorber, or an enzyme cleaner after you have dried the affected area. Get and research available products on the market that fits your need. It will help you prevent any moisture that can leave a smell in your car.

10. Dry the Matting of the Area

Make sure you also dry the matting of the affected area, by hanging them outdoors under the sun for a few hours until the smell is completely gone. However, do not put them back right away in the car. It is best to put some baking soda on the upholstery and let it rest for 24 hours before you place them again in the inside of your car.

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell from Home

Last but definitely not least, mildew smell can also be detected inside your home, like around the furniture or the carpets. It is important to get rid of mildew smell because mildew smell can be a nuisance and the mildew spores in the air can also cause sickness. Though it takes some work, it is definitely necessary to do. Here are some simple pointers to help you get rid of mildew smell in your home.

11. Cleaning

The best method to get rid of mildew smell is by thorough cleaning. Like getting rid of mildew smell in the car, you need to locate the area where the smell originated. Then, once identified, throw out any old papers and cardboard there because they can hold mildew spores and keep the smell in the air. You should also throw out, or if that is not possible, carefully wash any fabric in the area. In addition, any old upholstered furniture there will also need to be taken out.

Afterward, wash the entire area with a mixed solution of bleach and water, and make sure you leave it to dry. If possible, open a window close by giving ventilation to the area. This will aid you to get rid of the mildew smell.

12. Use Odour Absorber

Another simple and cheap method to get rid of the mildew smell is by using odor absorbers. One example of odor absorbers is charcoal briquettes. You can put them in an old and empty coffee cans, distribute it around the affected area, and replace it at least once a month. Charcoal helps to take away the odor by sucking it in. It can also absorb moisture in the air that causes mildew.

Another good option for odor absorber is a baking soda. Known as one of the most effective item to use to get rid of mildew stew, you just need to simply open a box and leave it in the area to take away the mildew smell. It will also need to be replaced every couple of months. Next option to be used as odor absorber is cat litter. Lay out a tray of cat litter in the area to help you get rid of the mildew smell, and replace them every 2 weeks to remain effective.

13. Dehumidifier

Consider keeping a dehumidifier in the affected area to get rid of mildew smell while preventing it as well. It helps to remove the moisture that can cause mildew from the air. It is especially helpful in damper weather. A similar technology you can use is an ionizer, which is a very effective tool for keeping mildew away. It removes the damp ions from the air and keeps it smelling fresh.

14. Replace what you need to replace

If you have done all the above steps, and it is still not going away, then consider to replace what is possible to be replaced and what you need to be replaced. For example, if you have been trying to get rid of mildew smell in the bathroom, and you have identified the source as the old cabinet, examine how it works against your efforts to get rid of mildew smell. If it confirms your suspicion that it has been working against the very thing you are trying to do – such as how the old cabinet suck the odors instead – then get rid of the old things and replace it with a new one.

15. Keep the Smell Away

When you found success in getting rid of the mildew smell, try to also plan to do sufficient measures to keep it away as well. For example, you can do it by scheduling thorough cleaning of the areas. Remember that you should also give plenty of ventilation to the area. Mildew can be best prevented using fresh air. Have a window open in the area always if the weather would allow.

Though you need to exert some efforts to get rid of mildew smell, realize that these 15 ways suggested are quite simple. They just simply take some time and efforts to do. Whether it’s dealing you’re your clothing, your car, or large area of the homes, getting rid of mildew smell requires a few consistent principles, such as identification, removing any openings, cleaning thoroughly, and preventing it it in the future.

This is so that you will be able to implement easily and smoothly all the steps and ways mentioned above. This way, you can keep your clothing, car, and home free from mildew smell. Have fun and hopefully soon you can enjoy the feeling of coming home to a well-scented and fresh scented place, which is definitely important to help you aid your life.