When clothes or other fabrics become damp and aren’t cleaned in time, they can very easily become infested with mold- commonly referred to as “mildew.” While mildew may seem like a harmless source of a bad smell, it’s still a form of mold, so you should always treat or dry damp fabrics as quickly as possible to prevent it from growing. There’s still hope, however! Even if your garments or fabric have a few visible mold spots, they can still be saved. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
Pre-soak the fabric
Because mold stains are notoriously difficult to remove, you should start by soaking the stained article before washing it. Saturate it for one hour, using either a commercial pre-soak product (these can be found online or in stores) or in a bucket of water with a cup of white vinegar mixed in. Don’t worry- the smell will come out along with the stain!
Scrub before washing
Apply a mold stain remover to the actual mold spots themselves- again, you can use white vinegar for this purpose, as well as simple household soap, or a stain remover- and gently scrub the area with a toothbrush. Don’t be too aggressive with the scrubbing, since you want to avoid damaging the actual fabric while you remove the stain.
Use hot water if you can!
We wash our hands in hot water because the heat is more effective at getting rid of bacteria and other allergens, but hot water is also better at killing off mold spores. You should always read the label on clothing or other fabrics before trying this, though, and never exceed the listed maximum temperature for washing. If they can’t be washed in hot water, you’ll have to enlist the help of a dry cleaner to get this step done.
Washes that pack a punch
Add a mold-killing solution to your wash load in addition to traditional detergent such as bleach, borax, or white vinegar.
- Vinegar will help kill moldy smells and also brighten white fabrics, but only add one or two cups
- Borax can also be used in a regular washing cycle, but only with fabrics like linen or cotton, which are organic. Use hot water to dissolve a half cup of Borax and add it to the washing machine once it has filled with water
- Bleach is a powerful killer of mold, but it can also seriously fade your fabrics, so use it with caution. Read the label or a do a spot-test before using bleach, and make sure you only proceed once you know the articles won’t be damaged. If it’s safe to do so, wash the fabric with one cup of detergent and one cup of bleach
Harness some solar power
After washing your clothes, hang them up to dry the old-fashioned way, with sunlight! The sun has a natural “bleaching” effect, and like hot water, it can also help to kill off any remaining mold spores. Don’t use the dryer until you’re sure the spots are completely gone, because the intense heat can “set” the stains and make them more difficult to remove in the long run.
If all else fails…
If you’ve tried all of the above steps without success, or you aren’t fully satisfied with the result, you can try repeating them for extra potency. Unfortunately though, some stains are too deep and stubborn to removed by home remedies alone, so you’ll need professional help. Call the Flood Medix for mold removal services, mold treatment, or even if you have a question about mold anywhere in your home. We’re happy to lend you our expertise, and we’re here to make sure the job is done right.