Getting mildew out of hand-wash-only items
February 5, 2018 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Basically what it says on the tin. I have a few hand-wash-only items that came out of a hand-wash, line-dry process smelling kind of mildewy. A re-wash and re-dry have lessened the smell but not totally removed it. How best to de-stink them?

All of the instructions I've found online are for washing machines and require hot water; these are delicate clothes -- bras, a sweater -- with strict cold-water, hand-wash-only instructions. (I washed an identical sweater on gentle/cold in a machine once and it was utterly destroyed.)

I can take the sweater to the dry cleaner's, but how about the bras?

Side note: It's kind of crazy that they even managed to get mildewy, since it's midwinter here and the house is so dry we keep shocking the cat. Is it possible that its something else? Can detergent go rank or something?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could try hand washing them in water to which you have added some vinegar.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

I agree with Jane the Brown; I've used vinegar washes to take out serious mothball stink, so I bet it'll deal with minor mildew funk.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:34 AM on February 5, 2018

For the clothes currently mildewy: sunlight. Sounds like you're in a climate where hanging clothes outside isn't an option now, but some days in a sunny window may help. For where the mildew came from (?): Check your washer for mold, & whether you find any or not, maybe run the washer with some vinegar but no clothes to get rid of the smell.

Relevant anecdatum: I use small mesh wash bags (the kind that zips shut) and a washing machine on cold/gentle to wash a lot of clothes (including bras & sweaters) that say hand-wash only, with good short- & long-term results.
posted by miles per flower at 8:47 AM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Vinegar, baking soda (not at the same time) and sunlight.
posted by jeather at 9:27 AM on February 5, 2018

I'd leave them to soak with vinegar overnight. I've also heard good things about vodka for removing odors, but have never tried.
posted by trig at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2018

Borax does the trick for me. Pour some into your soaking water (it'll tell you the amount needed on the side of the box) and let it sit for a while - a few hours should do the trick.
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:19 PM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can also soak them in BacOut.
posted by Duffington at 1:47 PM on February 5, 2018

posted by turbid dahlia at 4:10 PM on February 7, 2018

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