Mold or mildew is a fungus that grows on surfaces exposed to moisture. You are familiar with mold developing on bread or cheese, and other areas like walls, kitchen, and bathroom. Many people do not know that mold also appears on clothes and fabric. Have you noticed a grey or white patch on your clothes? Even if there are no spots but, an odor is present, you need to take it seriously.
Leaving clothes in the washer, folding laundry without drying properly, or throwing the wet towel in your travel bag, provides a source for mildew to flourish. The mold should be removed to save the fabric and prevent harmful effects on your health.
In this article, we have discussed how to remove mold from fabric and clothes.
Read More: Steps to Remove Wrinkles from Nylon Fabric
What Does Mold on Clothes Look Like
Mildew or mold on clothes appears to have a certain texture, color, and smell. Here’s how you can recognize it.
Odor: A strong, musty, and damp odor indicates the presence of spores.
Discoloration: Mold is also spotted by the discoloration it causes. Mostly, you will see green or black stains but some spores are different in color depending on the source of food. It is fuzzy or slimy to touch.
Allergies: The Aspergillus mold causes respiratory issues like coughing, sneezing, breathlessness, and fever. Other molds can cause skin allergies and rashes.
How to Remove Mold from Fabric and Clothes
1. Machine-Washable Clothes
Here are the steps to follow to remove mold from fabric and clothes.
Brush off the Spores
For machine-washable clothes, first, you need to remove the fungus spores. Take the clothes outside in the sunlight and use a toothbrush to brush off the spores. You need to make sure you are cleaning both sides of the clothing.
Brushing off the spores outdoors will prevent the spread of spores indoors that can cause breathing problems and skin allergies. You should wear a mask during this process if you are sensitive.
The next step is the pre-treatment of the clothing item. The mold spots should be treated with heavy-duty chemicals having enzymes to break down the mold components. You can get the mold cleaning agents of your choice from the market.
Soak the clothing item for about 15 minutes in the product and then wash in warm water. The recommended temperature would be mentioned on the fabric label.
After washing in warm water, you will need to kill the spores. The type of fabric will determine which disinfectant to use. Some fabric labels read “Do Not Bleach” so that you do not ruin the clothing.
If the fabric is pure cotton, you can add bleach in the washing cycle. However, synthetic or colored clothes will require phenolic disinfectant. Using chlorine bleach on colored fabric will fade away those pretty hues.
Are the stains too stubborn? If the disinfectants cannot remove mold stains, then you need to move to the next step. Oxygen bleaching is not harmful to colored clothes, so you can use it for all types of fabric.
Now, how to make your clothes look brand new? Oxygen bleach will help you to remove the mold stains without damaging the fabric.
Mix the oxygen bleach in water before soaking your stained clothing item. You will get the instructions on the package. Leave it there for eight hours or overnight. If it comes off, you can simply wash it. Repeat the process if not removed completely.
Note: Clean your washer to remove any remaining mold spores or odor.
2. Hand-Wash Only Clothes
Wool sweaters, silk garments, and other delicate fabrics need to be hand washed. The instructions are simple.
- Fill hot water in a large bucket
- Add laundry detergent
- Mix a natural or commercial mildew remover
- Soak the fabric in the solution for at least 20 minutes
- Rinse and Dry
3. Dry Clean Only Clothes
Mold spores on clothes labeled as dry clean only should be brushed gently. Use a soft brush and perform the process outdoors.
After dusting off the spores, pack your clothes in a plastic bag. This will prevent the lingering spores from spreading around.
Now, take it to a professional dry cleaner and inform him about the mold on clothes.
How to Remove Mold from Fabric Furniture
Clothing fabric and fabric furniture are not the same, so the mold removing procedure is different for both of them. Here are the steps on how to remove mold from fabric furniture.
Exposing your fabric furniture to sunlight is important to save it from mold. So, you need to take it out in the sunlight. Then, remove the spores from it using a vacuum cleaner.
Use Vinegar and Alcohol
After removing the spores, you need to use vinegar solution on the mold-infested spots. Then rub diluted alcohol to prevent future attacks.
If the mildew is widespread, then you can change the fabric and padding to save the metal frame.
Cleaning Mold from Shower Curtains
Areas with limited ventilation like bathrooms are hot spots for mold growth. If you see a black spot on tiles, or walls that means it is something to be treated as soon as possible. Delaying the process will promote growth and lead to respiratory issues and allergies.
Your bathroom looks unpleasant with mold on the shower curtain. You can use commercial mold-removal products but it is recommended to use household ingredients. Let’s guide you on cleaning mold from shower curtains.
- Take off the shower curtain and fold the moldy areas inwards to avoid spreading spores.
- Prepare a hydrogen peroxide solution and fill it in a spray bottle.
- Take your shower curtain outside and spread it flat. Spray the prepared solution. Rinse it after a few minutes.
- Now, scrub the mold using baking soda/water paste. Rinse and repeat if required.
- Repeat the process on the other side of the shower curtain.
- Let it dry.
Clean Mold off Fabric without Bleach
Bleach helps with mold removal. If you have organic and white fabrics, then using bleach will get rid of the moldy patches. 1:3 bleach solution gets the job done. But, for colored clothes, using bleach will damage the color. We have other options to clean mold off the fabric without bleach.
- Prepare a lemon and salt paste.
- Then, apply the paste to the moldy area for 30 minutes. The acidic nature of lemon will remove the mold on clothes.
- Rinse and dry.
- You can also use other ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, borax, and hydrogen peroxide.
Get Mold out of Clothes with Vinegar
Vinegar is known to be very effective in killing mold on clothes and the moldy odor. It is also available in your home so, just following the simple steps will help you with the problem. Here is how to get mold out of clothes with vinegar.
- Put your clothes in the washing machine.
- Add laundry detergent and fill your machine with water.
- Now, add a cup of vinegar or according to your requirement.
- Let the machine complete the cycle.
- Prepare a solution of vinegar in a bucket.
- Soak your clothes in the solution for about an hour.
- Then wash the clothes in the washing machine using a detergent to remove mold and vinegar.
- Repeat the process if required.
Remove Mold from Clothes with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great ingredient to treat mold. You can use a baking soda-water mixture or a baking soda-vinegar mixture. If the mold is stubborn, you should go for the baking soda and vinegar mixture. It is used to remove mold from clothes, cushions, fabric furniture, and curtains.
Here are the steps on how to remove mold from clothes with baking soda.
- First, dust off the mold with a brush.
- Then prepare a baking soda solution using water or vinegar. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the solvent.
- Pour the mold removal mixture into the spray bottle.
- Now, spray the mixture on the mold-affected area and leave for 30 minutes.
- Wash the garment with warm water and sun-dry it.
Remove Mold from Clothes with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent disinfectant. But, you need to be careful to not use it for fabrics that are not flame-resistant.
Steps on how to remove mold from clothes with hydrogen peroxide:
- Brush away the spores.
- Prepare a 2:1 hydrogen peroxide and water solution.
- Apply the solution to the mold-affected area for 20 minutes.
- Wash the clothing item and allow it to dry.
How to Prevent Mold on Clothes
To avoid unpleasant consequences, you need to prevent the occurrence and spread of mold. It is important to inspect your homes from time to time.
Below are some of the tips on how to prevent mold on clothes.
1. Dry Your Clothes Quickly
Do you forget your clothes in the washer? The longer they stay moist, the higher the chances of mold formation. Empty the washing machine as soon as the cycle completes.
If you are coming from a swimming or gym session, empty your bag. Sweaty and moist clothes should not be left there. Wash them and dry them properly.
2. Mold Preventer
You can prepare a vinegar solution, baking soda solution, or hydrogen peroxide solution. Spraying your clothes will keep the mold away and if it manages to attack, it will be killed.
Silica gel pouches when kept in the cupboards or the clothes help to prevent mold. They absorb moisture which is the gateway to the fungi.
Neem oil or neem leaves are also used to keep the fungi away.
Installing a low-voltage bulb in the cupboard helps generate heat to prevent mold.
3. Maintain Moisture Levels
Increased humidity and dampness help mold grow on clothes. You need to ensure that humidity is below 50% in your homes.
The kitchen and bathroom should have proper ventilation. Open your windows and switch on the ceiling fans to allow airflow. Keep your furniture and carpets clean.
Sunlight is a natural disinfectant. Therefore, exposing your home to sunlight on sunny days will remove moisture and a moldy smell from your home.
Using a dehumidifier is also an efficient way to lower moisture levels in your home.
Have a mold-free home!
Can you completely remove mold from clothes?
You can clean mold off the clothes by using natural or commercial ingredients. Just following the simple steps will help you get rid of the mold.
Using bleach is one of the most effective ways to treat mold exposure. You will need to prepare a 1:3 bleach and water solution. Apply on the mold-affected spot and let it sit for some time. Then wash the clothing and dry. But, you can use bleach only for organic fabric and white clothes.
For synthetic fabric and colored clothes, there are other options like vinegar, baking soda, borax, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
Can dry cleaners get mold out of clothes?
If spores attack your dry clean only clothes, then you cannot wash them with mold-removing products. Dry cleaning involves heat usage so, it can help with the process. Simply brush off the spores using a toothbrush and pack them in a bag to send to a dry cleaner.
When it comes to dry cleaning, not all dry cleaners are specialized in mold removal. Some companies offer liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaning. It is an environmentally friendly and effective method for mold removal.
Does Oxiclean remove mildew from the clothes?
Oxiclean is oxygen bleach which is a popular mold-eliminating product. This stain remover is milder than chlorine bleach. It works well for cotton, linen, and synthetic clothing. It should not be used to treat delicate fabrics. Adding Oxiclean along with the laundry detergent in the washing cycle will get the job done.
Can moldy clothes make you sick?
Mildew has harmful health effects. Your body reacts depending on your health and the growth of mold. Mold on clothes is easily inhaled and causes coughing, sneezing, and breathlessness. The consequences can be serious for children and the elderly.
Some types of mold also cause skin issues like allergies and rashes. If the mold is not treated early, it could weaken your immune system and cause serious infections.
Does putting clothes outside in cold air kill mold?
Cold air does not kill mold. Extreme temperatures only deactivate the spores. Therefore, only temperature control will not help you. You also need to reduce the humidity to prevent the growth of mold.
What can I use to get rid of mold from a wooden clothes hamper?
Hampers having a removable liner are easy to clean. You can wash it once a week when you do the laundry. Vinegar, baking soda, borax, and hydrogen peroxide are some of the mold-removing agents that you can use. This way your laundry hamper will be fresh and clean.
What can you do to remove mold from the car interior?
Take a spray bottle and fill it with distilled vinegar. If not vinegar, you can use a bleach solution.
Spray the prepared mold-killing solution on the car seats, carpets, and other mold-affected areas. Let it set in completely.
Leave the car windows down to let fresh air in.
To prevent mold on clothes, you need to maintain low humidity levels and proper ventilation. Your home requires an inspection from time to time. If ignored, the mold will damage the surfaces and your clothes.
Mold on clothes has serious health effects on the people surrounding it, causing coughing, sneezing, fever, and skin allergies. When exposed to it for a long time can impact your immune system.
In this post, we have explained how to remove mold from fabric and clothes. There are various household ingredients available that act as excellent disinfectants.