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How to Remove Mildew from Clothing

Use these tips to get rid of the basement smell without getting rid of your favorite clothes.


  • Step 1: Brush fabric Brush the mildew spot with a stiff-bristled brush to remove spores.
  • TIP: Brushing fabrics inside will spread spores around your house. Take your clothing outside when using a brush to remove visible mildew.
  • Step 2: Wash in washing machine Wash the clothing in a washing machine with hot water if possible. Be sure to follow manufacturer's guidelines on the garment tag.
  • TIP: If your garment is designated dry-clean only, take it to the cleaners and let them know about the mildew.
  • Step 3: Hang dry Air dry your clothing as the clothes dryer will only spread the mildew, if it is not completely gone yet.
  • Step 4: Check for mildew Check your garment for remaining mildew or mildew smell. If it is clean, then you can wear it without following any more steps.
  • Step 5: Soak in lemon and rub with salt If the mildew has not gone away, soak the garment or mildew spot in lemon juice. Pour salt over the moist area to form a paste and rub into the fabric with a soft rag.
  • Step 6: Wash clothing Wash the clothing in the washing machine again to remove salt and lemon.
  • TIP: If the lemon and salt paste did not remove the mildew, wash it with an oxygen or chlorine bleach.
  • Step 7: Dry clothing Dry the clothing and repeat any of the cleaning processes to thoroughly remove any remaining mildew before wearing your garment.
  • FACT: Some of the first forms of soap were made from fat, water, and caustic ashes used by the ancient Romans.

You Will Need

  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Washing machine
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Soft rag
  • Dry cleaner (optional)
  • Oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach (optional)

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