There is nothing so stinky as mildew on clothes. Natural solutions such as vinegar and baking soda will do the trick. Add a quarter cup of vinegar to your washing machine and fill with water. Add the clothes with mildew and allow clothes to soak for at least 30 minutes, then drain. Wash in regular cycle. If you still have the mildew smell, get out the baking soda and add a cup to your regular wash cycle.
For removing mold and mildew vinegar is suitable, pour mixture of vinegar and water on cloth, left it alone for 2-3 hours after that, wash it with fresh water. Hang it outside for drying purpose, smell of vinegar also gone disappear after got dry.
The only thing I found that took care of the smell was a washer fan. The guy on the videos explains what causes the smell and also how to get rid of the mold already existing in your machine. I found the other solutions only helped temporarily. My son and I both had childhood asthma with attacks that were triggered by mold. I wish I would of had this years ago.
Lavender scented Fabuloso works great. No need to pre-wash in vinegar or baking soda. For heavy smells I let soak a while, 2 hours or more before washing & then I put in the dryer. I also use a cap full of my regular liquid washing powder (any brand). I noticed the Fabuloso makes the clothes smell much better, whites & colors are brighter. .
It might have something to do with hard water. We just moved from a place with soft water to a house where there's calcium deposits in the sinks; never had that mildew smell until we moved. I am going to try vinegar (which dissolves lime scale) to clean out the washing machine. I also read that "washing soda" (sodium carbonate as opposed to baking soda, sodium bicarbonate) will do the trick if added to every load of laundry. Vinegar might damage some manmade fabrics.