Wondering how to clean mold off clothing? Here are all of the answers you need.
Mold in the house is something every homeowner dreads and fears. Mold can be toxic and spread quickly and quietly without you even being aware of it. If you have mold in your home, you likely had water intrusion either from rain or flood water or a leaky pipe. Mold can ruin your belongings – from your flooring and walls to your furniture and even your clothing. Many times mold-damaged belongs must be discarded for your safety or because they have been permanently damaged.
If you have found mold on your clothing or there is a potential for mold growth because of a flood, you may be wondering if you can save your clothes or if you need to throw them away. The good news is that (depending on when you found the molded clothing), you may be able to save them. With a little bit of persistence and quick action, you can often rid your precious clothing of damaging mold and make them safe to wear again.
Act Quickly to Clean Mold Off Clothing
If you have found mold, you need to start the cleanup process as soon as possible in order to successfully clean mold off clothing. The longer mold stays on your clothing, the tougher it is to remove. Even if you accidentally put your winter sweaters away before they were completely dry and just now discovered the problem, the sooner you act the more chances of success you have. The first step to take is to remove the clothing and take it outside. Do this right away for a few reasons.
- Removing the molded clothing from your home will help avoid further spreading and contamination. Mold spores can become airborne, and you don’t want that in your house. Take the clothing outside before inspecting or spreading it out.
- The hot sun (if available) will help dry the clothes and kill the mold.
- By drying your clothes first, you will be able to clearly see where the mold has stained them. This will help with pre-treatment.
There are a variety of products you can use to pre-treat your clothing prior to washing it to help kill the mold and remove the stain. By pre-treating, you increase the chances of success in the mold’s removal. Here are a few examples of products you may choose to use for pre-treatment of stains and to help clean mold off clothing.
- Baking soda
- A commercial spray treatment specifically designed for mold killing
If you aren’t afraid of using bleach on your clothes, this can be an effective method of killing mold and cleaning mold off clothing. You can choose to mix and dilute the bleach with water and spray directly onto the clothing or you can create a bleach bath to soak your clothing. Sodium borate (borax) or another variety of commercial spray treatment can be sprayed onto the mold stains directly. If you aren’t into chemicals, you can also use a solution of vinegar and water or baking soda and water to put on the mold stains before washing.
Washing in HOT Water
Once you have pre-treated your clothing and allowed the treatment to sit for 5-20 minutes, you need to wash to clean mold off clothing. It is important to wash the clothing in hot water. Hot water kills mold spores so the hotter the water, the better. If your washing machine has a setting specifically for sanitizing, use it! The same solutions you used for pre-treatment can also be used in the main washing cycle. You can add bleach or white vinegar to your wash. Commercial detergents are also useful, and there are some specifically made for mold removal.
Go ahead and wash the clothes TWICE in hot water using detergent or the solution of your choice.
Dry the clothing in a commercial dryer or hang it out in the hot sun to dry. You can even do both! The heat from the dryer and sun will help kill any remaining mold spores. Once completely dry, give it the smell test. If it passes the smell test, your clothes should be safe to wear. If not, give it another wash to further clean mold off clothing. You can repeat this process a third time if necessary.
Parting Ways with Damaged Clothing
If you cannot remove the smell of mold completely or if your clothing has been visibly damaged by the mold, it is time to throw them away. More than the unpleasant smell, here are a few more reasons to part ways with mold damaged clothing if it cannot be successfully removed.
- The health risks associated with mold can be dire, and no matter how expensive the clothing was, your health is worth more. Even mild symptoms (itchiness and rash, sneezing) are not worth it.
- Mold can damage your clothes quickly. Mold starts to digests whatever material it grows on so if you didn’t catch the mold soon enough, your clothing may already be damaged beyond repair.
- Mold can be released into the air if not completely removed. If you aren’t able to remove the mold from your clothing, you could be potentially releasing mold spores into the air, and those mold spores can create health hazards for you and those around you.
Mold can wreak havoc in your home if left untreated, and your clothing is at risk as well. Whether you piled up a bunch of wet clothes and left them too long or if your home was recently flooded, wet clothing is a breeding ground for mold. If you have discovered mold on your clothing, follow these simple steps to remove and kill it as soon as possible. The quicker you act, the more likely it is that you will be successful in your attempts. But always remember to err on the side of caution. If you cannot remove the mold, it is best to part ways with your clothing rather than to risk your health.
Have you ever found mold on your clothes? If so, what did you do to remove it?