What Neutralizes Mildew Odor?

Even after you follow the correct guidelines to effectively remove mildew from surfaces, the odor of the mildew may still linger in the air. This odor is especially noticeable in smaller rooms and spaces. Don't allow it to continue once you notice it — instead, use the right materials to get rid of it.

Fresh Air

Better ventilation helps neutralize the mildewy odor. Opening windows and doors to allow fresh air from outside to circulate through the home or room helps get rid of the smell. When you do this, make sure that the humidity outside is lower than the humidity indoors. Mildew thrives in levels of high humidity. Keep the windows and doors open until all the surfaces — including the walls, counters and floors — that you cleaned of mildew are completely dry.


Vinegar can be used in a number of ways to remove the odor of mildew. One method that's especially effective for smaller areas such as a bathroom or closet is to pour full-strength vinegar into a bowl. Set the bowl in a spot within the room or closet where it will be out of the way, such as in a corner. Over time, the vinegar will absorb the odor from the air. Another use for vinegar is on fabrics, such as bedding or clothes. Fill the clothes washer with water set on the highest setting, and, once it fills, turn the washer off. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the water if you only have a few items, or add a full cup of vinegar if you have more items. Place the items in the vinegar water inside the washer and allow them to soak overnight. Add detergent and wash the items with hot water the next day, and dry them with the dryer set on "High."

Chlorinated Lime

Chlorinated lime is a white powder that is useful for disinfecting and also bleaching. Because the dry powder can burn your skin, be sure to protect yourself properly when working with it and with mildew by wearing rubber gloves, and also goggles. Sprinkle the chlorinated lime, spreading it across a basement floor, and leave it down until the odor of mildew is removed. Sweep up the chlorinated lime and promptly dispose of it.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach can be used to simultaneously remove the mildew and its smell from hard surfaces. Use a 10-percent solution of bleach, which calls for between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups of chlorine bleach to be mixed with 1 gallon of warm water. Scrub the hard surface down with a stiff brush. You can allow the bleach water to remain on the surface for up to 10 minutes before rinsing it off with clear water and wiping it completely dry with a rag.

Christopher John

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.