How to Remove Mold Stains from Clothes

Clothes Line

Have you ever been knocked over by the smell emanating from a pile of wet clothes? If damp clothes sit for too long, they can develop an unpleasant, musty smell due to the presence of mildew.

Mildew is a live growing organism that can attach to most surfaces including fabrics, causing stains and damage. The fungi can be easily identified as a patch of gray or white fungus on the surface of the fabric. Or you may see black or green spots. That’s mold which can look almost "fuzzy" or slimy. The odor of mold or mildew is pungent and often putrid. Even if you can't see any spots or growth, if an odor is present there are spores growing and treatment is needed. If it’s not removed, it can eat away at natural fibers, damaging and weakening the fabric, leaving stains.

To remove mold or mildew from machine-washable clothes, first, take them outside to shake them out and/or brush away the spores. Remove as much of the powdery substance as possible being sure to brush both sides of the fabric. Doing this outdoors prevents spreading the spores inside your home where they can continue to grow, causing allergic reactions and breathing problems like asthma.

Here are the next steps you’ll need to take:

  • Read the labels. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions concerning water temperature for washing and how the items should be dried.
  • Scrub off the mold stain. Apply a mold stain remover, such as household soap, white vinegar or bleach, then use a toothbrush to brush off the surface mold. Be gentle so as not to damage the fabric.
  • Pre-soak the fabric. Since mold stains are hard to remove, you should pre-soak the garment before washing it. Saturate it for one hour in a commercial pre-soak product or in a bucket of water with one cup of white vinegar.
  • Wash your clothes in hot water. Besides being effective at removing bacteria and allergens, hot water also kills mold spores better. (But not more than the highest recommended water temperature.) For materials that can’t be washed, take them to the dry cleaner.
  • Use a mold killing solution in the washer :
    • Vinegar – Add one or two cups of vinegar per cycle along with normal detergent to kill any moldy smells and brighten your white fabrics.
    • Borax – You can also use borax in a regular washing cycle, but only with organic fabrics like cotton and linen. Dissolve half a cup of borax in hot water and add it into the machine once it has filled with water.
    • Bleach – This substance can kill mold in fabrics but can also fade colors. So read the label. Some labels say, “no chlorine bleach”. Once you know your clothes won’t be damaged, wash them with normal detergent and one cup of bleach.
  • After washing your clothes, hang-dry them in the sun. Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect and also helps to kill mold spores in the fabric. Avoid using the clothes dryer as heat from this machine can make spots visible and difficult to remove.
  • If mold stains persist, repeat the whole process. You may need to dye your garment a darker color to cover the stain for good.

How to Prevent Mold on Clothes

If you don’t want to experience this, them simply don’t leave clothes in a damp pile for a few days or more. Every time you wash your clothes they should be immediately hung on a line or dried in a drier.

The same applies for clothes that have gotten sweaty. Hang sweaty clothes so they can air out. Do the same for wet swimming gear. Towels should also be hung up to dry after they've been used. If you have sweaty shoes you might want to let them air out outside on the doorstep or some other place before putting them away.

But mold can cause serious issues when it grows in your home or business. If you suspect you have a mold problem, contact Cyclone Kleen Up today to remove it. We have nearly 27 years in the water damage restoration and fire damage restoration business and have the experience to remove mold from your property. One call to Cyclone Kleen Up at 719-299-3887 and we will dispatch a mold remediation crew to your home or business to permanently remove mold. We get the job done fast and right the first time.