Getting Mold Out of Clothes and Fabric Update 06/2022

The unpleasant surprise of seeing black spots on your clothing after storing a box of clothes in a basement is something that many people have experienced. Despite the fact that mold-infested clothing should be disposed of, you may be able to salvage them. Instead, you can learn how to remove mold from clothing and fabric by mastering a few basic procedures.

A bleach solution is the best approach to eliminate mold and mildew from clothing and fabric. Baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, or borax can be used to safely remove mold from non-washable or colored clothing. Mold can be treated with either dry cleaning or a washing machine.

Mold and mildew can be removed from your clothes using any of these nine methods. You’ll learn how to deal with black mold and the musty odor that goes along with it. Here are some pointers for avoiding the problem in the first place.

How to Remove Mold From Clothes

Can Mold Grow On Clothes?

In moist or humid environments, mold can quickly grow on clothing or any other form of fabric. Because mold produces tiny spores that float through the air, seeking a damp location to land, this occurs. When a spore comes across a moist surface, it quickly multiplies and consumes any organic stuff it comes across.

Molds play an important role in the decomposition process in nature, where they can be found in abundance. In nature, mold can be found in the air, on the ground, and just about anywhere else you look.

Mold typically grows on textiles in two main types inside. Toxic mycotoxins are produced even in the earliest stages of black mold growth. More common in houses and on soft furniture, white mold is less harmful.

In contrast to white mold, black mold looks like scaly moss.

What Causes Mold on Clothes?

Mold can grow on clothing for a variety of reasons, but moist or damp clothing is the most typical culprit. Leaving a wet towel or soccer uniform in a pile for an extended period of time might lead to mold growth. Mold can grow on clothing that haven’t been dried on a line or in a dryer.

Mold can be more difficult to remove if you live in a humid area. If you want to avoid mildew forming on your clothes and furniture, you may have to find a means to ventilate or cool your home on a regular basis.

Mold is a fungus that reproduces by releasing microscopic spores into the air. Clothes, shoes, and other household items are all good places for these spores to settle down.

It just takes a few days after spores drop in your damp clothes to notice an off-putting odor. Additionally, you’ll notice that the growth has begun to develop on top of the material.

Are Mold Stains on Clothes Dangerous?

Mold spores can create an allergic reaction in people, so mold stains on clothing should be avoided at all costs. Untreated black mold can be very hazardous to one’s well-being.

Mold spores and toxins, especially in the case of asthma, can trigger symptoms such as coughing, choking, sneezing, and fever in those with respiratory problems. Depending on the level of sensitivity of the person exposed to the spores, certain species of mold have also been known to cause rashes, headaches, and other illnesses.

Mold should never be allowed to grow on your skin, hair, or clothing. As a result, get the stain cleansed or even remove the moldy item as quickly as you can.

Many forms of clothing, such as cotton and wool, are vulnerable to mold because it eats away at organic substance, such as fibers.

If you don’t dry your wet garments soon enough, mold can grow on a moist surface in as little as 24 to 48 hours!

Fortunately, you’ll be able to quickly identify mold stains on your garments. A magnifying glass or microscope isn’t necessary to observe the rapidly expanding white or black patches. Additionally, these clothing are likely to emit a damp and musky odor.

A mold-removal approach is a terrific way to save your clothing if you catch it early! You may have to get rid of the discolored clothing if the mold has eaten away at its fibers to the point where it’s beyond repair.

Can You Wash Mold Out of Clothes?

If you use a particular treatment like bleach or another cleaning agent first, you can usually wash mold out of clothes. That stated, you should check the garment to see if the mold has ruined the fabric. The mildewy odor may also be difficult to get rid of.

It is unlikely that simply washing your garments with detergent will solve the issue. Unless you treat the cloth with a mold-killing chemical, the visible stain may be removed, but it will return.

Fortunately, there are a number of household and commercial mold-killing treatments on the market. Mold can be killed with a variety of household products, including bleach, vinegar, borax, baking soda, and even tea tree oil.

How to Get Mold Stains Out of Clothes and Fabric: 9 Methods

How to Get Mold Stains Out of Clothes

Most mold stains can be removed from clothing using household and commercial chemicals like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. If you use any of these methods, you’ll be able to tell nearly immediately if the mold has been killed!

After utilizing any of these treatments, you will need to wash and dry the clothing very carefully. Check on it two days later to determine whether any spores have remained to grow back in your clothing.

The moldy clothing may need to be discarded rather than treated if you have any breathing difficulties.

Finally, to avoid inhaling mold spores, it is recommended that anyone handling moldy goods use gloves and a face mask.

1. Bleach

On the other hand, most color-fast clothing can be safely cleaned using oxygen bleach. Microbial growth can be suffocated by using an oxygen bleach solution.

To remove mold from clothing:

  1. Half a cup of water and half a cup of bleach should be combined in a single-use cup.
  2. Apply it to the soiled area with a spray bottle or a spreader while wearing gloves.
  3. Let the bleach sit for ten minutes before cleaning with it.
  4. Wash the item in hot water in your washing machine. If the stain persists, use detergent and extra bleach to remove it.
  5. Make sure there are no stains left behind after you wash the outfit.

2. Without Bleach

Gentle cleaning methods are necessary if you want to remove mold or mildew from non-bleachable clothes such as wool or leather.

If your garment has a care label, check it out first. It’s best not to try to remove a stain yourself if the label states “dry clean only.”

However, there are specific situations in which delicate garments can be safely washed at home.

  • Vinegar can be used to disinfect old linens. This should eliminate the mold from the delicate, natural fabric without causing any harm to the material.
  • Use a fabric restorer like this one on ancient blankets, lace clothes, and silks.
  • Lemon juice and salt can be used to eliminate mold and mildew from wool in some situations. Afterwards, be sure to thoroughly rinse the garment!
  • If you want to remove mold from leather, wet a piece of cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the discoloration.

3. Vinegar

Mold removal can be boosted even further by using a vinegar wash in conjunction with a baking soda treatment.

4. Baking Soda/Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mold is killed by vinegar, and odors are eliminated with baking soda. Home remedy cleaning items may remove almost all mold stains from garments when used together! Note that while vinegar and baking soda are acceptable to mix, you should never mix vinegar with bleach or any other cleaning chemical. You may remember this from your school baking soda volcano project from a long time ago. Toxic vapors can be released when cleaning solutions are used together, which can cause severe illness or even death. One cup of vinegar can usually be added to your washing machine’s first rinse cycle. Second, add a half-cup of baking soda to the mixture.

Try this if you’re dealing with a very bad stain:

  1. Mix one-half cup baking soda with one-fourth cup white vinegar and one-fourth cup water in a single-serving container. Sticky and bubbling paste should form.
  2. This should be applied liberally to the stained area.
  3. Allow the paste to dry completely. This could take up to an hour.
  4. Scrape away the dried paste with an old toothbrush.
  5. Use a moist paper towel to remove the discoloration.
  6. Wash the clothing in hot water and detergent in a washing machine.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

In addition to viruses and mold, hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant. In many circumstances, it can efficiently remove mold stains from clothing because to its unique cleansing characteristics. It is possible that hydrogen peroxide will bleach colored clothes, which is why it should never be used. Color-fast clothing should not be affected by this procedure, but you should test the fabric beforehand by dabbing a small amount on an inside seam.
  1. Apply 3% peroxide to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Wait ten to twenty minutes before attempting to remove the stain.
  3. Rinse the garments thoroughly after use. Your skin won’t be damaged by the peroxide, but you shouldn’t contact the mold or allow it to get on your clothes or other home items.
  4. As a last step, run the clothing through your washing machine in hot water.

6. Borax

Mold stains and odors are easily removed using borax. Because it produces hydrogen peroxide when combined with water, it has antifungal properties. Mold is destroyed and odors are removed by this reaction! Stores like Walmart and grocers like Kroger carry borax in their cleaning aisles. Besides being an insecticide, you can also use this product in a variety of cleaning applications. However, you must use caution when handling it, as inhalation or contact with the skin may result in an allergic reaction.

Borax can be used to remove mold stains from carpets and upholstery.

  1. Place your stained garments in a large bucket or basin. Using a funnel, pour in half of the hot water.
  2. Add half a cup of powdered borax to the mixture.
  3. Gently mix the solution with a disposable spoon until the borax powder is completely dissolved. As a result of the difficulty of dissolving borax, it may take some time.
  4. Immerse your item in the solution to be cleaned. Fabric should be totally submerged. For the next 20 minutes, allow it to soak.
  5. Soak the item, then transfer it to your washing machine and use hot water and your preferred detergent to clean it.
  6. Inspect the garment for any lingering stains or odors after it has been washed. The procedure can be repeated, if necessary.

7. Tea Tree Oil

This oil is excellent for getting rid of fungus. The antibacterial and antifungal capabilities of tea tree oil even extend to killing mold spores in the air! Mold and mildew can be eliminated from your bathroom with the help of this product.

A basic bleach or vinegar soak will cost you less, but this DIY treatment works! It’s also a lot safer than borax or bleach, and it has a pleasant smell.

When purchasing tea-tree oil, make sure you buy the real thing, rather than the synthetic form that is found in many incense stores. Tea tree oil may have a pleasant scent, but imitations might leave oily stains on your clothes because they don’t contain the real thing.

  1. Fill a spray bottle halfway with hot water and add one teaspoon of pure tea tree oil. This solution can be made by shaking the bottle vigorously.
  2. The stained region should be sprayed from the fabric’s front and back, respectively.
  3. Ten minutes later, check on this.
  4. Using hot water in your washing machine, wash the item. Dishwashing liquid and the rest of the tea tree oil and water mixture can be added together, as well.
  5. Make sure the item is mold-free after washing it.

8. Dry Cleaning

This article’s DIY solutions won’t work if you realize that your mold-infested clothing is dry-clean only after checking the care label. The fabric will be stained and damaged by water and numerous cleaning agents. You’ll end yourself in a worse situation than you were before because of the mold stains alone!

Instead, use a fine-toothed brush to gently remove any loose, flaky or powdery mold. Take care of that. Make an appointment with your local dry cleaner and inquire about the stains. If the cleaners are unable to remove the mold spots, they may advise you to throw away the garment.

9. Washing Machine

If you have an extra-hot setting on your washing machine, you may be able to remove mold from your clothing. As long as the temperature is over 140°F, most molds can be killed by using very hot water!

The majority of the time, pre-treating your garments with bleach or vinegar before washing them in the machine is preferable. Double doses of this treatment should eradicate any mold.

If you’re going to wash your clothes, here’s how to do it:

  1. Brush the discoloration with an old toothbrush to remove any loose mold. Do this on a piece of paper that can be readily rolled up and thrown away, such as a piece of newspaper.
  2. A few drops of washing detergent should be applied immediately to the stain and left on the fabric for five minutes.
  3. Use the hottest water setting on your washing machine.
  4. As is customary, add the liquid laundry detergent. You can simply follow the washing machine’s directions and apply bleach to whites.
  5. Put the item in the washer and dryer.
  6. Look for any remaining odor or discoloration in the freshly washed items. If you detect foul scents, which may indicate that spores are still present in the fibers of the garment, do not put it in the dryer. Attempt a different treatment approach if necessary.

How to Remove Mold and Mildew From White Clothing

Bleach is the greatest approach to get rid of mold and mildew from white garments. Some white fabrics, such as lace, linen, and silk, cannot be bleached. Oxygen bleach is best for bleaching cotton and other synthetic textiles.

The home cures suggested in this article, such as soaking in hydrogen peroxide or a combination of borax and water, can also be used if you don’t want to use bleach.

It’s also possible to remove stains and odours from delicate white garments using the vinegar and baking soda procedure discussed previously.

How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Clothes

Vinegar and baking soda can be used to get rid of a mildew smell from clothing by killing the mold and neutralizing its stench. Add vinegar and baking soda to your washing machine and voila!

Towels with a musty odor can also be cleaned using this technique.

Hanging clothes in the sunshine is another good method. Take a few minutes to put them to sleep. The sun may be able to eliminate the mildew, and the fresh air will likely restore the fresh scent of your clothes.

Chlorine or oxygen bleach will kill the spores and eliminate the source of the foul smell if you can do it safely.

Finally, commercial solutions like laundry enhancers can be used to eliminate odors.

How to Remove Mold From Colored Clothes

The vinegar procedure detailed previously in this article is one of the safest ways to remove mold from colored clothing without hurting the fabric. There are more than 80 percent of all molds in the world that vinegar can kill! If you’ve had mildew in your bathroom or kitchen, it’s a terrific solution.

When you wash your clothes with vinegar, you remove the residue left behind by other soaps and detergents, resulting in brighter colors and softer fibers. As a result, vinegar is a win-win situation for everyone!

What’s most essential is that unlike chlorine bleach, vinegar won’t remove dye from your vividly colored clothes. All but the most delicate of fabrics can be washed with vinegar in the water. In this case, the only exception is dry-clean-only clothes, which should be treated by a specialist.

How to Prevent Mold on Clothes in Closet

Make sure your clothing are totally dry before putting them in your closet to avoid mold from forming. When you hang or fold your garments, make sure there is adequate breathing room between each item. As a final precaution, you should ensure that the air in your home isn’t too stiflingly humid.

Allowing garments to air dry in direct sunlight is an excellent technique to keep mold from forming on them. Ultraviolet light is extremely powerful at killing mold and its spores. On hot and dry days, of course, you can utilize this strategy.

The garments you wash should always be let to air dry, even if you don’t have the luxury of doing so every time you do the laundry. If you use a drying rack indoors, you may want to use a fan to speed up the drying process so that no spores settle on the garments and begin to transmit the infection.

Keep your dryer clean by not tossing in sock balls or tightly wrung sheets and bath towels. Items that are too heavy or thick to dry in a standard dryer may end up serving as a breeding ground for mold spores.

Applying a preventative spray on your clothing before putting it in the closet is another great tip, especially if you live in a damp environment. Your garments will have an antibacterial environment for about three months after this prophylactic treatment.


Bleach, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and borax are home and commercial items that can kill mold and remove stains from garments. Mold can be removed from clothing and fabric by dry cleaning in some cases. A moldy garment can be restored to its original state if it is treated quickly, but huge growths can cause irreparable harm.

Because mold thrives in moist circumstances, it is better not to leave piles of wet, filthy laundry to accumulate. Keep in mind that you should only put away freshly washed garments once they are totally dry.

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