How do I Get The Musty Smell Out of Clothes?

It’s winter here in New Zealand and if you know anything about New Zealand, besides that it’s beautiful, you might know that it gets very wet in the winter! Not to mention that most homes aren’t properly fitted for wet weather (leaky roofs, single glazed windows, and improper insulation).

One issue that we’ve been having lately is that our wash ends up smelling musty or moldy. This can even be due to leaving laundry in the washer for too long and forgetting about it or even forgetting about it in your dryer when it’s not completely dried (I can’t be the only one, right?).

I tried a few different ways of getting out the smell but nothing seemed to be working until….

I made a magic musty smell removing potion! Aka white vinegar, baking soda, laundry detergent and fabric softener (optional). Find a list of my favorite cleaning products and tools here.

To read more about my recipes and why I create them the way I do (without specific measurements, times, and temperatures) check out this blog post

Here’s the “recipe” for removing the musty smell out of your clothes:

How to get rid of the musty smell in clothes

Keyword: cleaning, cleansing, clothes, eco-friendly, laundry


  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Detergent
  • Fabric softener (optional)
  • Essential oils (lavender or lemon are good options) (optional)


  • Add your musty clothes to the washer.
  • Sprinkle baking on top of laundry in the wash. Add a few drops of oils to your baking soda if you choose.
  • Turn your washer to warm or hot water and fill accordingly.
  • Add in your laundry detergent and softener as you normally would.
  • Once your wash is done, put in the dryer immediately.

EXTRA TIP: Use the highest heat setting possible as it helps to kill the mold spores. We used medium water heat but then dried our clothes as well.

Other things you can try (especially if you don’t have a dryer):

🧺 Leave your laundry hanging up outside even if it’s cold as long as there’s some sun and it’s not wet outside. 

🧺 Place laundry in front of your heater/heat pump

🧺 Stop forgetting it in your washer (talking to myself here) – on a serious note, if you have this same “issue” try setting a reminder on your phone that you can easily switch on when you start your wash. 

🧺 Place a jar with baking soda and your favorite essential oils in your closet. The baking soda will remove nasty odors and the essential oils make the room/closet smell good!

What do you do when your clothes get musty? If you try any of these tips or tricks or come up with your own, please tag me on Facebook and/or Instagram (@its.mary.taylor) so I can see too! I would love to stay connected.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest and save your favorite tips, tricks, and recipes.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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