Remove Mold From Clothes

Remove Mold From Clothes

Table of Contents

What Causes Mold Growth In Clothes?

Mold growth happens on clothing and fabric items when water or elevated humidity is present. If the mold growth is recent, you can usually successfully remove mold growth from clothes.

What Is Mold?

Mold grows on fabrics when moisture or elevated humidity provide ideal conditions. When you see mold growth or discoloration that you suspect could be mold growth, it’s very important to check the area where the clothing was found and look fro sources of water or elevated humidity. 

Identifying Mold in Fabrics

Look for visible mold, usually green, black, or white. Musty odors also indicate mold, even if none is visible. All colors of mold are hazardous.

By understanding the nature of mold and how it interacts with fabrics, you can effectively remove mold from clothes and prevent future occurrences. Always remember that mold, regardless of its color or type, is hazardous and should be dealt with immediately for the safety of your family, especially if there are children around the probable moldy clothing.

Color Is Not an Indicator

Many people are familiar with the term “black mold,” often used to refer to Stachybotrys chartatrum. This mold can present as black or as green. It’s crucial to understand that mold can come in all colors, and any mold growth should be treated as hazardous. If therre are young children involved, it is more important to quickly and completely deal with the removal of mold growth on clothing, but more important that the cleanup, is finding the water or elevated humidity source that allowed the mold growth to begin and grow. If you don’t fix the source, the mold will probably regrow.

Start By Washing With Hot Water

Ventilation and Safety

Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area while treating moldy clothes. Utilize protective gear such as masks and gloves to minimize your exposure to mold spores.Start by washing in hot water – use the hottest water available. 

Hot water washing provides an effective first strike against mold in clothes, bedding, and stuffed animal surfaces. Use the hottest water setting recommended for each item. Hot water helps kill mold spores and lift stains.

Wash clothes, linens, and machine-safe stuffed animals two to three times using your regular laundry detergent. Read this if your child’s favorite stuffed toy is growing mold and not washing machine safe. For best results, finish with an extra rinse cycle in plain hot water to remove any lingering soap residue. Heat drying also further kills mold spores and remaining moisture. Inspect items closely afterwards. Catching mold early and washing promptly gives you the best shot at complete removal.

Is this “overkill? Maybe, but if young children are involved, be safe not sorry. If anyone is imunocompromized and around mold in clothing, again, be safe not sorry.

Bleach Or Vinegar? - Don't Use Both Together

If hot machine washing alone doesn’t eliminate all mold and stains, bleach or vinegar provide extra mold-fighting power. However, don’t use these products together as they create very toxic fumes

Bleach – For severe mold staining, chlorine bleach can be an effective mold killer. Check that bleach is suitable and safe for each fabric type before use. Pre-treat mold stains by spraying diluted bleach directly on affected areas before washing. For delicate items, spot treat mold with a bleach-dampened soft cloth. Rinse all treated items thoroughly. Bleach works best on white fabrics.

Vinegar – White vinegar is a natural anti-fungal that destroys mold without harsh fumes. Fill a tub with undiluted vinegar and soak moldy items for up to a few hours. For spot treatment, sponge vinegar directly on mold stains. Vinegar helps remove mold smells and is gentler for delicate fabrics. Distilled white vinegar works best for cleaning.


If possible, hand damp clothing outside in the sunlight to dry. Sunlight is a natural mold-killer. After soaking clothes in vinegar, hang them outside to dry in the sun for added mold-removing power.

Baking Soda

Combine Baking Soda and Water into a Mold-Lifting Paste

For fabric items safe to get wet, baking soda makes an effective mold-removing paste. The paste lifts stains and deodorizes as it foams against mold spots. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste. Apply the paste to mold stains, wait 30 minutes, then rinse clean. Reapply if needed for tough stains. Letting the paste sit for longer enhances results. Just be sure to rinse before it dries completely.

Sometimes, an item is not able to be sufficiently cleaned (like an upholstered couch) and needs to be cleaned by a professional mold remedition company or discarded.

So, if you can still smell that moldy smell, discard the item and replace, or have a professional mold remediation company try to clean it. The cost to clean may exceed the value of the couch; and there’s no guarantee the mold remediation company can successfully remove the mold and mold smell without completely disassembling the counch/chair and restuffing it will clean materials.

Chemical Mold Removers

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a more robust solution for stubborn mold spots. Remember to spot-test as it may bleach certain fabrics.

Commercial Mold Removers

There are specialized mold-removing products available that are designed to remove mold from clothes effectively. Always read the instructions and safety guidelines before using.

A Word

Consider trying the more natural recommendations shown above. Most of the chemical mold removers on the market are primarily water and will add fuel for the mold to grow.

You will also be adding the the airborne VOC load in your laundry area and into the air that you are breathing.

When to Discard Irreparably Moldy Items

If an item remains musty or moldy after thorough cleaning attempts, consider disposal. Upholstered furniture and other porous materials often cannot be fully rescued once mold takes hold internally. Trying to salvage such items isn’t worth the health risk. Trust your nose – if smells persist, mold is likely still present. Play it safe and discard irreparably moldy belongings. For expensive upholstered items, professional mold remediation may be an option. But replacement is often the most prudent choice.

Mold spreads rapidly and can hide in fabric fibers, so act fast at the first hints of contamination. Follow these proven cleaning methods, and even beloved items like heirloom blankets or a child’s cherished stuffed friend can be refreshed and restored. With some diligence and the right products, you can remove every last bit of nasty mold from treasured clothing and toys.

Prevent Mold Growth

Mold growth occurs when water or elevated humidity is in a place where it doesn’t belong. Mold grows on cellulose – and that’s a whole lot of things inside your residence or office. By controling the humidity under 55%RH, this will discourage mold growth. Consider this when you decide to add a vaporizer to your child’s room. Vaporizers are breeding grounds for bacteria unless spotlessly mailtained betwen each water refill. All the hoses must be included in the cleanup. Very time consuming and difficult. Plus the elevated humidity a vaporizer will add. Consider if it’s really necessary.