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How to Remove Mildew Odor From Delicate Fabrics

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By waneata

My Laundry Question

How can i remove a mildewy odor from my delicates? I hate to have to discard them. What can I do to save some of my favorite (most expensive) garments?

Share a Little Background Info

I normally hang or lay flat my delicates to air-dry them. One day, I got distracted by other things and I left them in the basket overnight. By the time I noticed them the following day, they already had a mildewy odor. I rewashed them right away, and laid them out to dry as usual. Now, they have a persistent, mildewy smell. It isn't all that noticeable when I first put them on, but after a few hours, I suppose because of my body heat, the odor becomes stronger. All the tips I've found on line involve both washing in hot water (which I'm afraid might shrink some things) and machine drying (which I'm worried might cause additional shrinkage of some things and possibly stretching and misshaping of other things).

Lessons Learned

  • I tried just re-washing the garments as usual the following day.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Delicates. Some of each: cotton, raw silk, spandex, rayon, knits. Don't want to cause them to shrink in hot water or to get stretched or twisted in the dryer.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

It is baking soda to the rescue! Your delicate fabrics will be safe and sound and the odor will be removed. Sort the clothes by color. Fill a large sink or plastic tub with lukewarm water and add one cup baking soda. Completely submerge your musty clothes (keep whites with whites and colors with like colors) and allow them to soak at least eight hours or overnight. Then, wash as usual.

Good luck!

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