You left your favorite jacket in the basket for a long time, and now it’s moldy. Are you throwing away the jacket or trying to save it? Although mold can penetrate deeply into fabrics, your wardrobe can usually be saved if you know how to clean clothes that are prone to mold spores.
Mold and fungus breed and grow in a damp, dark environment, such as a damp closet, a sweaty clothes basket, or a damp basement. If the clothing is stored in any of these damp areas, microscopic mold spores that excel in finding ways to get home can begin to appear on those clothing. Mold can cause health risks in your home, including respiratory illnesses and skin irritation, which makes it essential to know how to remove mold from your clothes and other fabrics.
This guide only explains how to remove mold from clothes.
before you start
Dark, damp places are a breeding ground for mold. Try to stay on top of the laundry and add ventilation to any damp areas in your home to reduce the chance of more mold growth in the future.
Each type of fabric has its own washing instructions, so always check the label before using any chemicals or cleaning products, so as not to damage the clothes. The washing instructions on the label should replace the instructions listed below.
If possible, try to tackle this chore on a sunny day, as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can help eliminate mold.
Step 1: Treat your clothes and rub the fabric in a well-ventilated room.
Once you discover mold on your clothing, check the surrounding clothing to see if it has been affected and then collect all the moldy items. If the clothes are still damp, place the clothes in the sun (if it is bright) to start killing the mold. If this is not possible, bring moldy clothes out to a well-ventilated room and open any windows. Seal any openings that lead into the rest of the house to prevent mold spores from spreading inside.
Wear a mask and cleaning gloves to prevent breathing and skin irritation while cleaning. Soak moldy clothes in a bucket of water mixture and 1/2 cup borax or 1 cup white vinegar, and let it sit for at least 1 hour. After soaking, use a scrub brush to clean moldy spots from clothes. Rub hard enough to clean moldy areas, but not hard enough to damage the fabric.
Related: How to: Hand wash clothes
Step 2: Add moldy clothes to the washer with borax or vinegar.
The next step in how to get rid of mold on clothes involves using either borax or white vinegar in the washing machine with moldy clothes. For both methods, use laundry detergent (as directed) on the hot water cycle, as the heat helps kill the mold. Reduce mildew odor by adding 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda to your laundry, as it helps remove odors from clothes naturally.
If you are using files Borax, follow the directions on the package. Another method is to mix 1/2 cup of borax with 1 or 2 cups of hot water until it turns into a liquid solution, then add it to the washing machine. If you have a top load washer, add the borax solution after you have filled the washer with water.
vinegar It helps naturally remove the smell of mold from clothes, and it can kill most types of mold, including those that usually live on clothes. Add clothes, laundry detergent, and 1 to 2 cups of vinegar (for small and large loads respectively) to your washer to clean those moldy clothes.
Step 3: Dry the clothes completely, preferably in direct sunlight.
If possible, dry your just washed clothes in the sun. The extra UV rays and heat from the sun’s rays help kill residual mold and mildew.
On cloudy days, or if the season is cooler, use dryer settings that work best for fabrics, bearing in mind that warmer temperatures kill mold more effectively. Dry the clothes completely and completely, as any moisture on the clothes can return mildew.
Related: How to: Wash an electric blanket
Step 4: Check clothes for mold and smell to make sure they are clean.
Test your clothes again to make sure all visible signs of mold are gone. Sometimes mold persists through the first three steps, which can be repeated, if necessary. The second time (sometimes the third), soak it longer and rub the fabric well.
If you can’t see mold, sniff the garment. A moldy or earthy smell means that mold may still be present. Depending on how strong or weak the smell is, repeat steps 1 through 3 or skip the pre-treatment and instead just re-wash and dry the clothes.
Step 5: Put your clothes in a clean, dry and well-ventilated place.
After you’re done cleaning, don’t undo all your hard work by leaving your clothes in the dryer or laundry basket. Once you are completely satisfied that your clothes are clean and free of mold, fold them and put them away. A dry area, with some form of air flow ideally, is the best place for clean clothes.
Don’t leave freshly washed clothes in damp areas where mold can re-form. If you find moldy clothes in the laundry basket, use a disinfectant to kill any lingering mold spores before putting more soiled clothes inside.
Step 6: Handle any sources of mold to prevent further contamination of your clothes.
Hopefully the only work item in this step is to tackle the habit of leaving damp or sweaty clothes in the laundry basket for too long. Any moisture in dark areas stimulates mold spores to grow and spread. Wash your wet clothes right away, or at least let the wet, soiled clothes dry before putting them in the laundry basket.
If a leaky pipe, window, or ceiling causes moisture in the closet or storage area, it can cause a moldy clothing problem. While the cause of the leak is addressed and fixed, move your clothing to a different location. There may be no leaks, but some closets or storage areas do encounter moisture. This can be treated with silica gel packs for moisture absorption and additional ventilation with an open door, air conditioner, or fan.
These six steps of how to remove mold from fabric can help you safely remove mold from your clothes, so you can continue to wear those items. The best way to prevent mold from clothing is to prevent it from forming in the first place. Store dry clothes away from damp areas, and mold will be less likely to be a problem. If you find mold on your clothes, take care of it right away with this easy-to-follow guide.
Related: How to wash polyester