How to Get Rid of the Musty Smell from Clothes

Do your clothes smell bad? Since this problem is quite common, we decided to share some recommendations to eliminate the musty smell from clothes. Read on!
How to Get Rid of the Musty Smell from Clothes

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Have you ever wondered how to get rid of the musty smell from clothes? As many people know, this is a very common problem, especially in confined or humid spaces. If clothes don’t dry well or are stored in a moist closet, they can start to smell musty.

Nowadays, there are many scented chemicals to neutralize unpleasant odors. Also, there are solutions to get rid of unwanted smells in closets. However, if you prefer natural alternatives, you can choose any of the following we’ll share here.

Tricks to get rid of the musty smell from clothes

To get rid of the musty smell from clothes, it’s important to first identify what the source of the problem is. Clean clothes don’t start smelling just because. Unpleasant odors are often the result of a poor drying process, moisture in closets, or the use of low-quality laundry detergent or fabric softener.

Thus, the first step is to assess why your clothes smell musty. Based on this, you can take some steps to begin to avoid it. If you’re facing this problem, apply the following tricks.

We encourage you to read: 5 Ways To Get Rid of Moisture In Your Home

Clean your washing machine to get rid of the musty smell from clothes

A person cleaning their washing machine.

It’s important to disinfect your washing machine to eliminate the microorganisms responsible for bad smells.

Washing machines facilitate the task of washing clothes. However, when you don’t clean your washing machine, it can harbor mold and other microorganisms that produce an undesirable odor in your clothes. Therefore, the first step for getting rid of the musty smell from clothes is to disinfect this appliance.


  • Hire a professional to service your washing machine.
  • Clean it regularly, making sure to disinfect all its compartments. You can use liquid soap or white vinegar and baking soda solutions.
  • Leave the washing machine open after using it.
  • Dry the rubber seals and make sure they don’t have mold.

Use white vinegar to get rid of the musty smell from clothes

Although the smell of white vinegar isn’t pleasant, this product is an excellent ally to take care of your clothes and keep them from smelling musty. In fact, it’s recommended as an alternative to conventional fabric softeners because it fulfills the same function without negatively impacting the environment.


  • Pour a cup of white vinegar into one of the washing machine compartments and start the cycle as usual.
  • If you wash by hand, immerse your garments in a water and white vinegar solution for 20 minutes.
  • The smell will go away when your garment dries.

Dry your clothes outdoors

A woman hanging her clothes to dry.

Another cause of unpleasant odors is the drying method because, if it isn’t adequate, clothes easily accumulate odors.

So your clothes don’t feel musty, it’s essential to dry them outdoors after washing them. Sometimes, when you don’t have a good drying process, your clothes can smell bad for a few days. Thus, you should make sure your clothes are completely dry before putting them away in your closet.


  • Hang your laundry to dry immediately after the washing process. Avoid leaving your clothes inside the washing machine for a prolonged period of time.
  • Try to dry your clothes in the sun (as long as it doesn’t affect the fabric).
  • Leave them outdoors as long as they need to dry well.

Thoroughly clean your closets to get rid of the musty smell from clothes

Often, the problem doesn’t lie in the washing or drying processes. In some cases, the problem is when you hang your clothes in your closet.


Moisture problems are common in enclosed spaces. Although it isn’t always noticeable, mold can grow in wood and affect your clothes.


  • Check all the compartments of your closet to check if you have a moisture problem.
  • If so, purchase a product to eliminate and prevent it.
  • Regularly clean your entire closet with a water and white vinegar solution. This product disinfects and neutralizes odors.
  • Be sure to ventilate your closet at least three times a week. For that, leave the closet doors open for several hours.
  • If you notice an unwanted odor, put some coffee beans in the corners of your closet. This way, it’ll smell good. If you don’t have coffee beans, try sea salt.

Ready to get rid of the musty smell from clothes in simple steps? Try all the tips we shared here to say goodbye to this annoying problem!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.