Why Does Hair Smell Like Mildew (And How to Remove it)

Why Does Hair Smell Like Mildew

Do you ever find yourself wondering why your hair has an unpleasant odour like mildew that just won’t seem to go away?

It’s a problem that many of us encounter but often hesitate to discuss openly. Smelly hair can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort, leaving us feeling self-conscious in social situations.

However, there’s no need to fret because we have the answers you’ve been searching for.

In this article, we’ll delve into the common causes for hair smelling like mildew and provide you with practical solutions to eliminate those unwelcome odours.

Whether it’s due to infrequent washing, environmental factors, or product build-up, we promise to equip you with the knowledge and tips you need to put an end to smelly hair once and for all.

So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep your hair smelling fresh and delightful.

Why Does Hair Smell Like Mildew?

Why Does Hair Smell Like Mildew

To understand why your hair might have musty or damp odour, let’s first look at the structure of your hair and scalp.

Your scalp is essentially an extension of your skin, and it produces natural oils to keep your hair moisturized.

But when these oils get mixed with sweat, dirt, and product buildup, it can create an environment that’s conducive for the growth of bacteria and fungi. And then, consequently, these microorganisms can produce a mildew-like smell.

Another key factor could be your hair’s exposure to moisture.

If you often go to bed with wet hair or wear hats when your hair is still damp, you’re creating an environment where mildew can thrive. This is because mildew, a type of fungus, loves damp, warm conditions.

How to Prevent Hair from Smelling Like Mildew

To prevent your hair from smelling like mildew, there are a few habits you might want to adopt.

Firstly, make sure you’re thoroughly drying your hair before you go to bed or put on a hat. This can significantly reduce the chances of mildew growth.

Next, look into your hair care routine.

Are you using products that might be causing buildup on your scalp? If so, try switching to clarifying shampoos and conditioners, which can effectively remove excess oils and product residues.

Furthermore, you might also want to consider washing your hair more often if you’re sweating excessively. Sweating can exacerbate the growth of bacteria and fungi, leading to that unpleasant mildew smell.

Addressing the Mildew Smell

For those already dealing with mildew-smelling hair, don’t worry. There are solutions for you. Start by washing your hair with a medicated shampoo that targets bacteria and fungi.

You can find these at your local pharmacy or ask your dermatologist for recommendations.

In addition to this, you can use home remedies like apple cider vinegar rinses. Apple cider vinegar is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water, and use it as a final rinse after you wash your hair. Remember, consistency is key, so keep doing this until you notice an improvement.


In conclusion, the mildew smell in your hair can be quite bothersome, but it’s usually not something to worry about. It’s often a result of excessive moisture or product buildup that fosters the growth of bacteria and fungi.

By adopting a few good hair care habits and utilizing the right products, you can banish that mildew smell and feel confident again about your hair. Remember, if the problem persists, it’s best to seek professional help from a dermatologist.

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