Mildew Question

CassandraSeptember 20, 2010

Does the smell of mildew indicate the presence of mildew? I made the mistake of storing some clothing items in the basement this summer and they got mildewed. They are items for bicycling (poly pro pants, etc) that say "wash in cold" on them. So I did that and sprayed with Lysol (supposed to kill 99% mildew). They still smell of mildew, although the smell is fainter. I also have been hanging them in the sun a bit. I don't know what else to do to get rid of the smell. Are they ok to hang in a regular closet with other clothes at this point? Thanks.

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Did you try vinegar and water, that might help. Soak them a bit and then wash them with soap. If you hang them in an enclosed space like a closet will intensify the smell and may transfer to other things.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Yes, the smell of mildew means there's mildew. This is what I would do, keeping in mind I HATE mildew and wouldn't wear bike shorts with mildew, so would otherwise throw them out.

I would soak them in HOT water with OxiClean and a little dab of laundry detergent, for 6 hours or overnight. Rinse and sniff. Everything I soak in this mixture emerges smelling incredibly fresh and clean. Mildew and bacteria cannot survive the alkalinity of the washing soda, the oxidizing of the oxygen bleach, or the enzymes of the detergent. Hot water makes all those cleaners much more active, and is itself inhospitable to the mildew. Hanging them in the sun to dry would also be good, as sunlight kills mildew and bacteria as well.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 7:43PM
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andersons, I did pretty much what you stated. I soaked the clothes for at least 6 hours in Oxiclean, then washed them in the washing machines with detergent. The mildew smell did disappear!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Awesome! It's so gratifying to fix something that's all but ruined.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Hang them in the sun. It is a completely natural anti-mold agent. My grandmother used three things for fighting mold-sunlight, fresh air and lemon juice.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 11:17AM
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For mildew, add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of ammonia to wash cycle (depending on size of load), along with your detergent, and wash as usual. The ammonia kills the mildew and the odor as well. Never fails!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 7:04PM
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