How to get rid of musty smell?

WatchmanJimG

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have a sport coat that smells a bit musty from long-term storage. This afternoon I took it to a reputable local cleaner and was advised that dry cleaning wouldn't necessarily resolve the odor issue, but as we all know it could beat up the fabric. Any suggestions on how to make it smell fresher?
 

drpeter

Super Member
If you have a clothes steamer, you could try steaming the garment after you hang it out in the air. Steam is usually effective for straightening out wrinkles and for freshening a garment. And it contains no chemicals that are harmful to clothes, unlike the solutions used for dry cleaning. If all this fails, you could then try dry cleaning as a last resort.

Lightly spraying the jacket with a mild air freshener (like Febreze perhaps?) might help alleviate the musty odor. It may be worth a try.
 
G

Guest-33364

Guest
If done with proper care you can wash most anything. In the Navy, we hand washed wool uniforms using the famous Armstrong washers and air drying them.

If all else failed, I'd try washing in cold water with something good smelling like Mrs. Meyer's, flat drying with great care, and a little touchup with the steam iron.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Charles Dana

Honors Member
Try hanging it out in the fresh air for a few days. It almost always works for me. Good luck in the effort. ;)
This is excellent advice. First, though, do this:

Gently fold the jacket and place it into a large plastic garbage bag. Sprinkle a moderate amount of baking soda onto the jacket—enough to give the entire thing a light coating. Seal the bag and leave it alone for a few days.

Then take the bag outdoors, remove the jacket, and shake out all of the baking soda. Then hang it up outside.

Be patient. The musty odor might dissipate in a matter of days, but you might have to wait a couple of weeks. It will indeed go away, however.
 

Ole Hickory

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Repeat after me-
NEVER EVER WASH OR LAUNDER A SPORTCOAT OR SUIT.
I've seen the above garments after being hand & delicately laundered.
It's guaranteed ruin the interlinings & destroy the finish on the fabric.
You may simply need to send the garment to the landfill & avoid storing garments similarly in the future.
 

WatchmanJimG

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Repeat after me-
NEVER EVER WASH OR LAUNDER A SPORTCOAT OR SUIT.
I've seen the above garments after being hand & delicately laundered.
It's guaranteed ruin the interlinings & destroy the finish on the fabric.
You may simply need to send the garment to the landfill & avoid storing garments similarly in the future.
I'll spare myself from repeating your admonition as I agree with it completely. I suppose my "long-term storage" comment was a bit misleading as the coat actually spent its entire life (perhaps several decades) on a rack prior to my acquiring it unworn, but for practical purposes it could as easily have been in a closet. After speaking with the local dry cleaner I'm not going to take any action for now as the issue isn't significant enough to risk damage to the coat.
 

paxonus

Senior Member
I have had very good success with activated charcoal. Comes in different formats and is made just for this purpose. Put it in a bag with the garment and seal it for a few days.
 

WatchmanJimG

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have had very good success with activated charcoal. Comes in different formats and is made just for this purpose. Put it in a bag with the garment and seal it for a few days.
Is it necessary for the activated charcoal to make contact with the garment? If not, can it simply be placed in the bottom of a garment bag while the coat hangs inside?
 

poppies

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I had a thrifted jacket that defied all attempts at mustiness removal. Several dry-cleanings didn't do the trick. What did, however, with perfect results, was to fill a spray bottle with cheap vodka, spray down the jacket to just before dripping saturation, then hang it to dry in the sun.
 

WatchmanJimG

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I had a thrifted jacket that defied all attempts at mustiness removal. Several dry-cleanings didn't do the trick. What did, however, with perfect results, was to fill a spray bottle with cheap vodka, spray down the jacket to just before dripping saturation, then hang it to dry in the sun.
The garment in question is an old-stock Oakloom cashmere from O'Connell's. I'm a bit leery of applying anything to the coat directly as it's irreplaceable, assuming you're serious of course.
 

drpeter

Super Member
The garment in question is an old-stock Oakloom cashmere from O'Connell's. I'm a bit leery of applying anything to the coat directly as it's irreplaceable, assuming you're serious of course.
Have you called O'Connell's and talked about this jacket with Ethan or John? I am sure they could give you some good advice on how to remove the musty smell, or, at the very least, on what sorts of procedures might be safe to try out.
 

Corcovado

Senior Member
In addition to just hanging it up to air it out, I would consider setting up a house fan to blow air over it, gently, and let it run continuously.
 
My example is not quite the same as the OP's problem, but it may be helpful:
I bought a used cell phone case that reeked of cigarette. I tried vinegar, I tried baking soda Nothing worked.

What worked, however, was leaving the case in direct sunlight. The smell was gone within a couple of days.

By all means, leave the garment in full sunshine for a few hours and see what happens.

Best of luck!
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.

Deals/Steals

Trad Store Exchange