Removing Mildew Smell from Towels: Cleaning Tips for Odor Removal

Have a Fresh Smelling Bathroom with These Techniques for Mold and Mildew Removal

Hanging towels

The smell of mildew can be irritating and can make your bathroom seem unclean. If your bathroom doesn’t have a fan or if the towels were kept in the bottom of a hamper then the mildew smell can be overwhelming. Once you learn how to remove the unpleasant smell from towels, it is important to let them thoroughly dry on future days so the problem does not return.

Mold and mildew removal can be difficult and will take over your bathroom if not treated immediately. Follow these steps and cleaning tips and you can remove the mildew smell from towels.


  • Washing machine&dryer
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Laundry soap

Steps and Laundry Tips for Odor Removal:

  1. Separate mold and mildew items from other laundry. There are plenty of degrees of mildew that can be problematic for your laundry and towels. Separate the smelly towels from all other items.
  2. Check for mildew stains. The towels may have just a smell or they may have stains from mold or mildew. Check for stains so you can pre-treat them with laundry soap if necessary.
  3. Wash towels in hot water cycle. Mix laundry soap and ½ cup of vinegar into the hot water while the machine is filling. Once the mix is diluted, load the towels into the washing machine. Run the full cycle to remove the mildew smell.
  4. Check the towels at the end of the first cycle. The mildew smell and light staining should have been removed by the wash cycle. If a smell remains, move to the next step. If the towels are now clean, skip to step six.
  5. Wash the towels through a second cycle in the washing machine. To have complete mildew removal, when preparing for the second cycle, use 1 cup of vinegar diluted in the wash with the laundry soap.
  6. Dry the towels in the dryer on the highest heat setting. Mildew grows in warm, humid areas which is why it is so happy in your bathroom and summer basement. The wash cycles will remove the odor but you cannot keep it away unless you dry the towels completely in a high heat dryer. Do not overload the dryer or the towels may remain damp in some sections.
  7. Remember to dry the towels after each use. If you live in a humid climate you should take extra care to have a fan running on the towels while they dry or just toss them in the dryer on a fluff cycle. Preventing the sour odor of mildew is much easier than trying to get rid of it once it takes over your bathroom.

These simple steps should have removed any mildew smell from your towels. Keep them smelling fresher, longer by keeping them dry between uses and storing clean towels outside of the bathroom or any other humid area.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles:



Good tips especially in hot climate. I wonder if drying in the sun may help as well.

By Mary Norton