How To Remove The Smell From Vintage Clothing

Do you love vintage clothing, but you just can’t stand that musty smell that goes with them?  No problem!  Removing the smell from vintage clothes is simple.

If the vintage item is washable, pour a cup of white vinegar into the washing machine, or into the tub if the item should be hand washed.

If the item is dry clean only, put the vintage garment into a confined sealed space, such as the bathroom.  Add 20% white vinegar and 80% water to a humidifier or other steamer.  Turn on the steamer and put the garment near the steam to get the full effect.

After washing or steaming, allow the vintage item to dry in sunlight or in a well-ventilated room. The vinegar smell should evaporate within 24 hours.

Here at AMERICANA Classic Vintage, we are vigilant about the care of our vintage pieces.  All of our items are professionally steamed using natural elements such as vinegar, to clean the garment, remove the smell and bacteria and brighten the colors.

AMERICANA‘s vintage clothing is clean, has no unwanted smells and looks fresh!


Filed under About Americana, FAQ

11 responses to “How To Remove The Smell From Vintage Clothing

  1. Ina

    Are you using rinsing agent after washing with vinegar? I almost never otherwise use, but now I’ve been thinking that it actually might remove the vinegar smell more effectivly…?

  2. No, I do not use a rinsing agent. I find that the best way to remove the vinegar smell is by letting the item hang in fresh air, preferably outside & in the sunlight. I know this may be difficult in the wintertime, as you run the risk of a wet item freezing outdoors. Therefore, you can just hang it for a longer period of time in a well-ventilated room. Good luck!

  3. I love the the tips. But I’m wondering whether the same procedure can be done to different clothing materials.

  4. megan


    Can you use the method of steaming in a bathroom for a sheep skin coat?

  5. Wayne

    I just tried this with a garment steamer that had a solution of white vinegar and water to remove a musty smell from several sport jackets. It sort of worked but not great. Is there something I missed?

    • Gina

      We usually use 10% vinegar and 90% water. Steam it again. The garment may smell like vinegar for a few days, but eventually that smell will go away. If this fails, just put it out in the sun for a week to 10 days and let it just air out. Be warned however, that there are some garments where the musty smell never comes out, no matter what you do. Good luck!

  6. Vanessa

    I found an old trunk today with several vintage lingerie items. The smell is awful.. it took my breath away and even started making me cough!! Is it possible to get really STRONG musty smells out of a clothing in such bad condition?

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