How to remove the mildew smell from dry-cleaned clothes

Written by amanda flanigan | 13/05/2017
How to remove the mildew smell from dry-cleaned clothes
Hang dry-cleaned clothes on an outside washing line to remove musty odours. (Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Mildew creates an unpleasant odour that can last even after the fungus has been removed. Typically, vinegar is added to the washing machine to remove mildew and its odours. However, if the musty, mildew smell is present on dry-clean only clothing you cannot launder the items at home in your washing machine. However, you can use an all-natural common household item to remove the mildew smell from dry-cleaned clothes without taking them to an expensive dry cleaner.

Fill a clean spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar.

Hang dry-clean only clothing from a hanger. Place the hanger over a shower curtain rod. Alternatively, hang the clothing outside on a washing line. Keep the clothing out of direct sunlight and away from direct heat.

Spray the front and back of the dry-clean clothing liberally with the white vinegar. Allow the vinegar to air-dry on the clothing. Vinegar has a pungent odour. However, as the vinegar dries, its odour will dissipate and remove the musty smell with it.

Repeat the process if necessary. It may take several applications to completely remove the mildew smell from the clothing.


Test the white vinegar on an inconspicuous area of the clothing. If damage or discolouration occurs, do not use.

Things you need

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Hanger
  • Washing line

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