Removing Mildew Smell from Your Washcloths

Share on FacebookGoogle+Pin on PinterestEmail to someone

Washcloths have their very own funk. No matter how vigilant you are about laying them flat to dry, instead of  in a ball at the bottom of the sink, it doesn’t seem to matter. They still develop an odor only a garbage man or pig’s mama could love.

Many years ago, I got all crafty and crocheted a set of washcloths for myself. I did this after receiving a wedding present from a neighbor and former youth leader of two crocheted washcloths. They were so nice, I wanted more. So I set to work and made several lovely, mostly trapezoidal shaped washcloths. (Apparently you really do have to keep track of the number of stitches.) Even though they are pretty hammered looking I still love them.

Mildew Dishtowel Solution we stink


That is why I didn’t just throw away my washcloths and get new ones. That is why I tried many solutions to rid my washcloths of the tell-tale mildew smell. I tried washing them in super hot water. I tried spraying them with Febreeze. I tried washing them in the sanitize cycle of the washing machine. I tried adding 7 times the amount of detergent. I tried lemon juice in the dish water. I tried bleaching one of them, which just made it uglier. I tried drying them through 3 dryer cycles to ensure they were super duper dry. I tried oxy-clean and many other brands of detergent.

When I removed them from the wash, they would smell pretty good. But the minute they got wet, that awesome smell would be right back.

That is until I learned the secret to removing the mildew from the washcloth.

This shocking discovery will change your life. Scroll down to see the secret steps to removing mildew smell from your washcloths.

Here is a hint. Ultraviolet light kills mildew and mold.

First, begin with clean washcloths. You don’t want to be using washcloths that have bits of food and other goo on them.

Place the washcloths in a bowl of hot water. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar for every 4 cups water.

Mildew Dishcloth solution

Let sit for 15 minutes. Vinegar and fungus don’t generally get along.


Next wring out your washcloths.

Mildew Dishcloth solution


Here is the super secret, mind-blowing part. The rest was just a bonus. Wait for it…

Mildew Dishcloth Solution

Dry the washcloths in the sun. Yup that’s the trick. Find a sunny spot and let the dishcloths dry thoroughly in the sun. Sun=UV light=kills mildew=not yucky smelling= continued life for ugly, but well loved washcloths= happy Anita.

Turn them over midway, so the UV light can get both sides of the washcloths. Let them sit until they have baked for a good long time. The longer, they sit in the sun, the more mildew spores will be eradicated.

Mildew Dishtowel Solution We don't Stink

It’s so simple, but eluded me for way too long! Hopefully this will be a idea that will help you and your olfactory system.

If you enjoyed this post, tell your friends and family. Maybe they have their own stinky washcloths and we can save them from doom.

Share on FacebookGoogle+Pin on PinterestEmail to someone


  1. Melanie Randall says

    Are those nail dryers they use when you get a pedicure a UV light thingy? I kinda think not because that would cause skin cancer. But if it was, you could use that too!

  2. Janel says

    My grandmother taught me that you can get rust stains out of fabric by applying lemon juice and then putting the stain in the sunshine. The sunshine is the trick. No idea what the science is behind that, but I know it works (from experience). I love that you have discovered another sunshine cleaning trick! I will definitely give this a try!

  3. Denise says

    When I first saw this, I knew it had to be vinegar. I too use vinegar for washrags, because like you say, it doesn’t matter if you wring them out, that funky smell still finds its way to them.. I’ll have to admit, I do use way more vinegar though. I use a large paint bucket (that I bought) from Home Depot, add my washrags and about a half a quart of vinegar. I then fill up the rest with hot water and let it work its magic. I feel better about using this over bleach. I even use vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. Works wonderfully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>