Remove mildew odors from fabrics using commercial products such as the Bright MDG Mildew Odor Control System, the Odor Medic's Smelly Washer Formula or various home remedies. In either case, the source of the mildew must be located and the area cleaned.
The Bright MDG Mildew Odor Control System is a slow-release system used in boats and RVs. It works just as well in damp rooms. To use the system, clear away any visible sources of mildew, and then hang one of the system’s special odor-controlling bags in the room. Each bag works for about three months and removes mildew smells from furniture and any other fabric covered item in a room.
Front-load washers also attract mildew and transfer the smell to laundered fabrics. Odor Medic's Smelly Washer Formula is a liquid used to clean the inside of the washer when diluted with water, eliminating the mildew scent. To mix the product, pour a pint bottle of the formula into a gallon of water, and then pour it into the washer. After soaking for an hour, run the mixture through a washing cycle.
Homemade remedies to remove mildew smells from fabrics include adding 20 Mule Team Borax to the washing cycle or using vinegar in a pre-rinse cycle before washing the clothes as usual. Baking soda added to laundry loads also helps. Borax is also useful in getting mildew and other odors out of carpets.