Best product for removing moldy smell from stored clothing?

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I have been washing clothes that were stored in big contractor bags and plastic bins in the humid basement for years attempting to remove the moldy smell. Some I had to just throw out, the smell was too strong from the moment I opened the bag. Others I have just washed with normal detergent in the washing machine. They had all been freshly washed before they had been stored upstairs, but once moved down to the basement for I am not sure how long (1-4 yrs), they became infused with the moldy smell I noticed when I moved back in to our house. I plugged in a dehumidifier about 1 year ago which has kept the basement dry & washing the clothes as I have has helped remove the smell for the most part, but not 100%. Can anyone recommend a better method or product(s)?

  5 answers
  • Michelle Jones Michelle Jones on Jan 21, 2018
    Yes. I used a combination of vinegar and baking soda. It took three washes...one in vinegar, then more vinegar with soap and still it smelled. I went on the internet and found a combination of baking soda and vinegar but added the vinegar to the powder and it foamed all over the place. The powder also stuck to the container Try the other way around. You add it to the softener section of your machine and let the cycle run. This is the link I used after 2 vinegar washes did not remove the odour. Also, unless you live in the tropics, sun is limited right now. I dried lightly in dryer and then moved to chairs. If it is not raining, try the line.
    • See 1 previous
    • Michelle Jones Michelle Jones on Jan 21, 2018
      Dissolve soda in vinegar then add to wash. There is no risk to your clothing. I have added vinegar directly onto clothes without trouble. Use hot water whenever you can to kill spores. You can use vinegar on running shoes and even leather, I think. We lived below sea level when I was a kid and we had to clean them for that musty smell every day. If you are going to store clothes in damp places, try those vacuum-sealed bags ... you put your stuff in, air seal them and then the vacuum sucks all the air out. We returned from living in Europe for months with so much stuff we couldn't get it in suitcases. I bought these bags and got tons more stuff in but the suitcases were REALLY heavy.
  • Wash as normal AND add a cup of white vinegar and a couple heaping tablespoons of baking soda to the wash. That should do it.

    I do not use fabric softener and put vinegar in the softener cup instead. Then do with felted wool dryer balls.



  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jan 21, 2018
    I use Tide sport all the time. It really works, even for really smelly clothes. Try putting vinegar in the softener area, that may help too. If you are going to store clothes, use the bags you vacuum down. If they are clean and dry they don't get the moldy smell as they are water proof. Don't put the clothes in after cleaning until they are not warm from the dryer, wait until they are room temperature. I have comforters, blankets and pillows stored in them and when I need to use them they are just as good smelling as when I put them in the bags and vacuumed them down.
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    • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jan 21, 2018
      Try it to get the smell out. Hubby can only use Tide, he also gets itchy if anything else is used. I use the tide in the white bottle with no fragrance for his just to be safe. If I have to use the Tide Sport, I rewash his in his Tide and always do an extra rinse with his clothes. I can't use softener in the washer, only can use one brand and fragrance of softener sheets that he can tolerate, so I know what you are talking about. We can only use one soap for hands, all three kids inherited his allergies to soaps for the dishes and hands. The only thing I can use that all four of them tolerate is dawn dishwashing liquid. I use the foam pump ones at all the sinks, otherwise they all have hands that get really dry scaly and crack.
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