‘Excellent’ method to rid ‘damp’ clothing smells with one ingredient

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Top tips for drying your laundry indoors

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The smell of damp on your clothing means that mould or mildew is growing on the material. This can happen if your clothes are left in a dark and humid environment for too long, or if your washing machine has mould or mildew growing in it. If you notice your laundry smelling damp, try these expert tips from Laundryheap tips to remove the smell. 

When washing damp smelling clothes the pros advise “always” using hot water. They said: “The hot water will not kill the mould or mildew, however the heat will help to evaporate it, thus removing it from your clothing.”

However, before using hot water to wash clothes, always check the care label to see if certain pieces of clothing can withstand washing at high temperatures.

To remove damp smells from clothing, the laundry experts advised using white vinegar as the acetic acid in it neutralises alkaline odours, which means it can help get rid of smells cheaply and easily.

They said: “The acid found in white vinegar makes it an excellent way to kill mould and mildew and remove damp smells from clothing. 

“To use white vinegar as a pre-treatment for damp clothes, mix one cup with a bucket of warm water and leave your clothing to soak for at least an hour.”

Alternatively, households can add one or two cups of white vinegar directly to their washing machine for the same effect.

If households are all out of white vinegar the experts suggested using baking soda to banish damp smells for clothes. 

They explained: “Baking soda is incredibly useful at absorbing smells and moisture from clothing, making it perfect for lifting damp smells. 

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“Simply add a quarter to half a cup of baking soda directly to your washing machine, and use the hottest temperature your clothing will allow. 

“The baking soda will absorb the dampness in your clothing along with the horrendous smell, and leave your clothes smelling and feeling fresh.”

If the two above methods are not effectively removing the damp smells from your clothes, the laundry gurus recommended using bleach as a last resort.

They explained: “Bleach is incredibly effective at removing damp from clothing, however should only be used on white clothing. 

“Soak your damp smelling items in one part bleach and three parts hot water for a minimum of 30 minutes. The bleach will penetrate your clothing, killing any mould or mildew and lifting the smell of damp.”

Before using bleach, households may want to test it on an unseen bit of their garment, such as the hem, to make sure that it won’t permanently stain. 

Once households have removed the smell of damp from their clothing, there are a few ways to help “prevent mould and mildew from building up on clothing again”. 

The first way is to “never” hang or fold clothing whilst it is still damp, instead, wait until it has completely dried, says the laundry expert. They warned: “Storing clothing whilst it’s still damp creates the perfect damp and humid environment for mould and mildew to grow, leading to clothing smelling damp.”

If Britons know that they won’t be wearing certain garments for a while, for example summer items during the winter, vacuum seal clothing. This will help keep any mould or mildew out, and leave clothing smelling fresh until they’re ready to be worn again. 

Having a clear out can also help prevent damp clothes as an overflowing wardrobe is “the perfect environment” for mould and mildew to grow. If you notice that your wardrobe is becoming slightly too full, it may be time for a clear out. Your clothing will thank you for it. 

Clothing may be smelling damp because the washing machine is in need of cleaning. The pros said: “It is vital to clean your washing machine at least once a month to avoid your clothing smelling damp, and to keep your washing machine working properly.”

Households should also scale back on using too much detergent in their washing machines as this creates a thin layer on clothing that prevents future washes from properly penetrating items and removing bacteria. As such, make sure to always use the recommended amount of detergent in the washing machine. More detergent does not mean cleaner clothes. 

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