6 Tips for Getting Rid of Storage Odors in Clothing

6 Tips for Getting Rid of Storage Odors in Clothing

Temperatures are cooling and leaves are beginning to change color, which means that autumn is nearly here! Now is the time to pull out your long sleeve shirts, light jackets and boots from storage. But wait – what’s that smell? Your clothes gained a musty odor from being stored all year. Have no fear: below are six tips for getting rid of those pesky clothing storage odors.

Laundry Detergent and Fabric Conditioner. Oftentimes all it takes is a good wash! Bring your clothes to the laundromat and give them a thorough cleaning with detergent and fabric conditioner. If the smell isn’t too strong, this combo can easily remove that musty storage odor. Scented detergent in particular will help combat the undesirable scents.

Baking Soda. This multi-use ingredient is an excellent odor absorbent that can soak up musty smells. It’s also a great disinfectant if there are any mold spores on your clothing. When only a few items need attention, you might consider pre-soaking garments in water mixed with a cup of baking

soda for 30 minutes before washing normally; or, for a full load you can simply sprinkle a 1/2 – 1 cup directly into the washer without the pre-soak. Either way works wonders on your clothes!

White Vinegar. For stronger musky scents, white vinegar will be your best friend. Perfect for odor removal of your fall clothes, white vinegar can also help remove stains and hard water buildup. Like with baking soda, when only a few items need treatment, you can pre-soak garments in a gallon of water mixed with a cup of white vinegar for 4 to 5 hours, then launder as usual. Or, you can fill the fabric softener spot of the washer with 1/4 – 1/2 cup white vinegar per load (no detergent!) and run the rinse cycle.

Lemon Juice (for mold spots). Lemon – a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent – can be combined with salt – a natural dehydrating antiseptic – to be used as a spot treatment for mold patches. Mix 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a paste, then apply accordingly. Let the paste dry, scrub it with an old toothbrush, then launder the garment normally.

Sunlight. Weather permitting, sunlight is highly effective in freshening clothes and a gentle breeze helps improve air flow. After washing your stored garments (using any of the methods above), line dry them to kill odor-causing microbes and mold spores. Keep in mind, however, that the downside of sunlight is the bleaching effect, so use this tip sparingly.

Dryer Sheets. Another way to freshen your stored fall clothing is to hang them with dryer sheets attached to the hangers. A fan or outdoor breeze can help quicken the process by increasing air flow. When folding garments afterwards, you can also tuck dryer sheets in between to keep them fresh longer.

With these tips and tricks in your arsenal, you will be ready to enter the fall season in your favorite styles!