Get rid of mildew odors in clothing by adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle. Wash for a second time with 1 cup of baking soda if the mildew smell isn't gone.
Mildew smell in laundry often happens if you leave clothes in the washing machine for a long period of time after the cycle finishes. The moist environment helps create a mildew smell, and running the laundry through another normal cycle isn't always enough to remove the odor.
White vinegar naturally works as a disinfectant and deodorizer, which is why it helps remove the mildew smell. The same distilled white vinegar you use in the kitchen is what you need for the laundry.
Start the washing machine cycle so water begins to fill the machine tub, pour 1 cup of vinegar into the water, and add the clothing to the machine. If you have an extra large or strong-smelling load, add an extra cup or two of vinegar to help remove the smell. If you already washed the clothes once, you don't need to add more detergent during the process.
If the vinegar isn't enough to remove mildew odor, baking soda may help. Like with vinegar, start the washing machine so it fills, and pour the baking soda into the water before adding the clothes. When the clothes smell clean, put them in the dryer to complete the cycle.