help! busting that must

Musty blanket
Musty Blanket 2

While I was out and about a few weeks ago, I came across the prettiest vintage wool blanket in a secondhand shop. It was love at first sight – I grabbed it and wouldn’t let go until I was at the register. Sadly, while it’s lovely to look at, I failed to follow the cardinal rule of vintage shopping: always, always do a sniff test. Now, I’m stuck with a beautiful, but musty blanket – and I simply can’t cure it!

I’ve dramatically improved things by washing it in a wool shampoo (an excellent thing to have on hand – wash on warm, delicate cycle, and air dry). I’ve tried hanging it out to air dry for a couple of days. I’ve Febreezed and I’ve Lysol’ed and it’s all been to no avail. The biggest degree of improvement, oddly, seems to have come from accidentally leaving it in the trunk of my car for a week in hot summer weather. Something about baking in the heat for so long seems to have helped quite a bit.

I’d really love to banish the rest of this funk and enjoy this beautiful find…have any of you encountered this problem? I’d love any tips or tricks you have to share! –Becki S.

From our partners

A quick soak in vinegar (like half a gallon) and water is how I get the stink out of vintage stuff, but I don’t know how that works on wool.


Sunshine! I find that setting anything stinky out in full sunlight for a day or two will eliminate most odors.

Sunlight even worked on a forgotten Rubbermaid container in which the contents got super moldy and were reeking!


Try sealing it up in a plastic bin with charcoal – the briquettes you get for a cookout are fine! Just put the charcoal in a paper bag or something like that (one website says put it in old pantyhose) to keep the blanket from getting filthy. Keep it there for a few days, the charcoal will really pull the smell out – similar to a charcoal filter for a litter box or etc.

After sealing it up, spread it out outside on a nice sunny day – UV rays do wonders to the smell as well.


I find that putting stinky stuff outside in the deepest of cold weather does wonders. I know that doesn’t necessarily help at this time of year, but…

Maybe putting it in the freezer would help?


I’ve heard spritzing with vodka and then laying out in the sun would do it – but again, not sure about wool.


What about tossing it into a plastic bag or bin with some baking soda for a bit?

Then launder and dry it again.

It works for my swimsuits when I forget to dry them out right away.


You could try Nature’s Miracle or something similar. I used it to get the musty smell out of some luggage that had been stored too long.


Wash it with ammonia, won’t hurt wool and will remove all traces of the musty smell

Wow, you guys are amazing! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend….I’ll let you know which of your tips seals the deal! Thanks so much, all :)

Judith Nigh

I’ve had luck removing EXTREME cat urine odor and others undesireable odors with DIRTEX. Finding it as a solution to the cat urine was a fluke but it worked wonders on my fabric car upholstery.

I would mix up a solution and allow it to soak…more than the ‘directions’ say…and give it a try. Best of luck.


We have had dog blankets and towels that get musty smelling after they have wet muddy paws on them- I use Shaklee Basic G (it’s a germicidal concentrate) to wash them with a mild detergent and they no longer have that musty smell once they are dry. Just in case nothing else worked :)