Willy asked: My sister smells like mold and mildew. I do not, and I wash all our clothes. We live in the same house, and the laundry is never left sitting in the washer. It is completely dried before returning it to her closet. I don’t know where it is coming from. Please help me. Could this be a medical issue or medication? This house is only nine years old and extremely clean.
If you’ve noticed an odd odor resembling mold or mildew that seems to be with you no matter how much you wash, there are a handful of likely causes. The following list will help you narrow down potential causes and hopefully lead to a cure. With any luck, you’ll smell fresh and clean in no time!
Possible Odor Causes
- Laundry. Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine can cause a smell that is difficult to eradicate. Rewash clothing with a cup of white vinegar to help get rid of any lingering smells.
- The washing machine. Some machines, front loading styles in particular, can develop mold or mildew in the machine and the smell will transfer to clothing. Clean the washing machine with white vinegar, paying close attention to any seals, rubber fittings, or dark areas that can hide mold. You can run the machine with just water and white vinegar, but you’ll still need to peel back any seals to wipe away mold if it’s there.
- The dryer. Make sure the vent is clean and that there’s no lint stuck inside the machine. Dryers can pick up odors that transfer to clothing in the drying process.
- The closet. If you have mold in the closet or drawers where your clothing is stored, they will easily take on the odor. Check wooden areas, unfinished ones in particular, for discoloration which can indicate mold. Thoroughly check closet floors for damp spots, especially if they’re carpeted. Look for discoloration on painted walls or fuzzy growth of any color on the walls or fixtures. If you can’t find signs of mold or mildew but the smell is there, try steam cleaning the carpet. Alternatively, you can use a mold odor eradicator to help with the scent. A dehumidifier will also work wonders in a room with a mold or mildew odor, but the only true cure is to get rid of the source of the smell so it may be time to call in a pro.
- A medical condition. If the smell doesn’t seem to be in the clothing or the environment, it may be time to head to the doctor for a checkup. Even a mild infection can cause an odd body odor, and getting one can be as easy as walking around barefoot or using someone else’s shower.
- Habits. Where are you spending time? Perhaps the smell is getting picked up from an activity or place you frequent?