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Stop the Stink! Banish Musty Smells from Your Towels and Clothing

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Jessica
01.27.15

A lot of smell-related opinions are really about personal preference. Some people dig lavender, others not so much. That’s totally fair! But one thing you don’t hear a lot of people advocating for is that musty smell in their stored clothing. It’s an extremely unpopular smell. 

So let’s make sure you can get rid of it, shall we?

Here are four strategies to get rid of the musty smell from stored clothing:

For a Quick Fix: The Vinegar Trick

White vinegar is your kitchen’s jack-of-all-trades, so no surprise it’s our choice for a quick must killer. This method is great if you’re surprised by stink and need to wear something within 24 hours.

Soak your garment in enough warm water to cover it completely and then mix in two cups of white vinegar. Let it sit for at least eight hours (overnight is best). Then, hand wash the clothing and let it air dry completely before you put it back on.

For No-Wash Items: The Freezer Method

Sometimes, sweaters and other items are made from fabrics that you shouldn’t get wet. Freezer to the must-fighting rescue! Put your hats, scarves and sweaters in large plastic ziplock bags and then place the bags in the freezer. Let them stay frozen for at least two full days. After two days, pull out the bags. Once the clothes thaw, the smell will be gone.

For Towels: The Boiling Trick

If your must-problem is towel related, plain ol’ boiling water may do the trick. We recommend this trick for towels only, because it can be tough on fabrics and may ruin other garments.

To get rid of musty smells from your towels, boil a pot of water large enough to cover the towels. Then, with your towels in the sink or a tub, pour the boiling water over the towels. Let it sit for about ten minutes, and then wring out the hot, stinky water. Finish up by rinsing the towels a few times with cold water and, if the must was really potent, washing on a regular machine cycle.

For Tough Customers: Kookaburra Wash

While we’re all about trying at-home alternatives, sometimes store-bought products are the best way to deal with serious must situations. Kookaburra Wash straight-up works, and will remove even the foulest musty smells from your clothes. Its secret ingredient is tea tree oil, which is a lean, mean mildew-killing machine. Plus, this product can be used on delicate fabrics and tough knits like wool, so it will take care of all of your stink needs.

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