How to remove moldy smell - without washing?
March 13, 2019 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to get musty/moldy smell out of stuffed animals without washing them?

We have been asked to donate stuffed animals to a local organization (NOT a hospital). We have already bought a couple and donated them, but we also have some new/unused stuffed animals that were sitting in the basement and now have a bit of a musty/moldy smell. I would love to also donate these stuffed animals, but washing them will make them look 'used'. Is there a trick to getting the smell out - by Friday - that doesn't involve water?

A few notes: 1) there are no spots or anything like that, 2) the stuffed animals are unused, 3) the organization is not a hospital or otherwise associated with immuno-suppressed kids, 4) we have also donated some toys we bought specifically for this, so if this doesn't work out, it's fine. But we certainly don't need them anymore and I'd love to donate them to a good cause if possible.

Thank you!
posted by widdershins to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If you live in a sunny place you can try setting them outside in direct sunshine. However, most sites I have seen recommend washing them in warm water with white vinegar.
posted by terrapin at 11:56 AM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Febreeze. I brought a mattress up from my basement that smelled musty due to storage but was in otherwise great condition. I Febreezed it, let that dry, then Febreezed it again. I think i ended up doing three passes on it and it no longer smelled musty (even when my face was right next to the mattress). That was my first experience using febreeze and i have been a big proponent of it since.
posted by miss so and so at 12:00 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Stick them out in the sun, the UV should take care of it. Now if it's winter where you are sealing them in a bag & freezing them might also help. Febreeze also is great for getting rid of smells instead of just hiding them.
posted by wwax at 12:17 PM on March 13, 2019

Spray with vodka! The costumer's secret.

Febreze can be very irritating to sensitive folks.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:22 PM on March 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

One part vodka, two parts water in a spray bottle; spritz, and let dry (on a sunny windowsill, if you can).
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:27 PM on March 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Febreeze them, then run them through the dryer, set on Air only, no heat.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:47 PM on March 13, 2019

Response by poster: Great, thank you all. I'll try these and report back what worked...
posted by widdershins at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

FYI, I’m not normally sensitive to anything, but I’m allergic to Febreze. I get severe hives touching anything treated with it. I found out from renting cars. Please use something else.
posted by FencingGal at 7:09 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Roll them in baking soda, put them in big zip lock bags and put them in the freezer. I just did this with some moldy books and it worked a miracle. now whether it will do it by Thursday though, I don't know. I left them in the freezer for a month.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:41 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've used the vodka or vodka/water spritz with success as well.
posted by thejanna at 10:07 AM on March 14, 2019

Febreeze isn't something I'd spray on a kid's skin, so I feel it's inappropriate for a kid's toy.
Vodka, baking soda, or sunshine are all much better choices in my opinion.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:01 PM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

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