Pillows stashed away in a non-breathable material such as plastic, or left in a humid, dark atmosphere for some time, can develop a musty smell. This odor indicates the existence of mildew and sometimes mold. A comprehensive airing out and a number of cleaning procedures tackle those less-than-pleasant odors, rendering the cushions usable once again. It could take several attempts or a combination of methods to completely remove the mildew odor.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Take the cushions outdoors on a non-humid day, ideally one with some sunshine. Air out them by clipping them onto a clothesline, or propping them up from a thing so that air can flow over both sides. A baker’s rack atop an outdoor table also allows air to make it to the bottom of each pillow. Keep the cushions outside daily or for as long as you can, flipping them every couple hours. Sunshine and dry atmosphere help remove moisture in the cushions, which leads to the musty odor. Tiny specks or spots on the cushions may be mildew; remove them with a a soft-bristled wash brush.
If the cushions are machine washable, wash them according to the care label’s directions using the hottest water recommended. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the water since the machine exerts. The vinegar helps remove odors and cleans the cushions. If the machine has an option for an extra spin cycle, then utilize it to squeeze as much water as possible following the rinse. Wash pillows again if they smell musty, or set them in the dryer at low heat along with a couple of dryer balls or tennis balls to up them.
When the cushions are not machine washable, such as memory foam, then sprinkle baking soda on them and enable them to sit for a half hour or so prior to flushing, repeating the procedure on the opposite side. Spritz a little vinegar over each side with a spray bottle. Spot-clean mildew with a soft cloth dipped to mildly soapy water; avoid saturating the pillow. Treat difficult spots with a cloth dipped in vinegar or rubbing alcohol. If cleaning memory foam, then test the alcohol on an inconspicuous area to make sure it does not damage the foam before applying it to multiple spots on the pillow. When the cushions are clean and odor-free, spritz them gently with a organic room-freshening spray, such as a lavender mix, for added pleasantness.
To reduce mildew or musty smells, keep cushions in a non-humid surroundings when they’re not needed. Avoid stuffing them into a non-breathable storage device such as a plastic bin where moisture becomes trapped, adding to the prospect of mildew or mould. Air the cushions outdoors every week or so if the room where they belong is generally damp or humid. Moisture naturally becomes trapped in cushions from usage, so airing out them helps dry them and keeps them smelling clean, regardless of the room’s humidity.