Home » How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing

How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing

by Jonathan
mildew cleaning

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. Here is what you need to know about mold and how to remove it (and the smell) from your clothing.


Do Items in Your Home Have a Musty Odor or Mildew Stains?

Mold thrives in places of high humidity and warmth. The more damp and warm an area is, the better. This includes walls, floors, personal items, and yes – clothes. So what can be done about it?

The first thing to note is timing. The faster you can find a mold contaminated item, the better. Mold becomes increasingly hard to remove and deal with as it grows and thrives.

Mold can be found in some of the oddest places because it has the ability to thrive almost anywhere as long as it has the following three things:

  1. food
  2. moisture
  3. humidity

In the proper conditions, mold can spread quite rapidly.

Mold Grows on Clothing

As mentioned above, clothing is the perfect place for mold growth. If you happen to find mold on an article of clothing – hopefully its been caught quickly – there are a few ways to go about removing it.

Remember timing is of the essence when dealing with mold growth because the longer mold stays on the fabric, the worse it will smell and the more time it has to weaken and eventually rot your clothes.

Here are a couple of ways you can easily, safely, and quickly remove mold that is growing on clothing and get rid of the musty, moldy smell at the same time.


A very unusual approach would be to use vinegar in removing mold stains and its smell. Vinegar is very useful and effective in removing the ‘moldy’ smell from clothes. Add 3/4 cup white vinegar to a load of wash.

The vinegar will remove any moldy smell from clothing. Repeat this process until all traces of mold and its smell are gone. Use detergent afterwards to thoroughly clean your clothes.

What’s so interesting about this process is that vinegar itself is made through fermentation with the help of a certain type of mold.

Old Fashion Cleaning

  • Brush off loose mold growth

Take all clothing that have mold or have been exposed to mold, outside and one by one, brush off any loose mold growth. By doing this outside you prevent mold spores from spreading inside the house.

Always remember to wear a protective mask and gloves when dealing with mold contamination.

  • Set out in the sun to dry

After brushing, leave the clothing out in the sun to dry. The heat and sun will kill whatever is left of the mold in your clothes.

  • Presoak in cold water

Presoak remaining clothes that have stains in cold water, then wash in hot water with detergent. Allow the clothing to dry completely in the sun.

  • Sponge with bleach

If the stains persist, sponge the contaminated area with diluted chlorine bleach, you can use 2 tbsp. bleach to 1 qt. water. Make sure that the bleach that you use won’t change the color of the fabric.

You can use lemon juice and salt solution as an alternative to bleach if treating colored fabrics. After about 10 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

  • Launder, rinse and dry

Launder as usual, rinse and allow to dry in the sun. Remember to fully dry the clothes that you have disinfected to make sure that mold doesn’t grow back.

Spray a bit of fungicide spray to completely remove mold odor from your clothes, and ensure that it won’t grow back the next day.

Use of “Mildicides”

Mildicide” is a new term or name given to products that are used in dealing with mold or mildew contamination.


Remember that if you choose to use a mildicide to remove mold and its odor from your clothes, always read the label for proper techniques. Mildicides are still chemicals and can be harmful to your health if not used properly.

If every item of clothing or fabric in your closet appears to be affected with mold, fog the entire closet with your chosen mildicide.

Do the same for clothing that has been in storage for a long period of time. This will prevent mold or other odors from transferring to your present garments.

Do not remove any clothing in performing this application, especially if the odor eminates strongly. Spray the baseboards corners of the closet when removing garments and clothing.

If a vent is present in the room where you’ll be performing the clean-up, spray into the vent as well.

After fogging, close the door, and allow the mildicide to penetrate the entire room for at least 10 minutes.

Dry the area quickly with a fan or wipe walls and flooring of all remaining moisture.

Here is another post with useful information about mildicides:

What to do 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 on Other Items

Try these posts for specific items with mold contamination:

Mold is no fun when it gets in your home or on your clothing. If you have found mold on your clothes, follow these tips to remove it quickly and completely. The quicker you act, the more successful your attempts will be. If you cannot remove the mold, get rid of it just to be safe.

Further Recommended Reading

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ephraim moss January 5, 2006 - 9:33 pm

Hi there,
I recently has some very minor water damage in my house and called in some mold “experts” to tell me what had to be done. Before hiring anyone, which I have yet to do, I decided to do some research and came across your amazing blog. I just wanted to say thanks, and ask you your opinion on my mold situation.

I bought my house in August and when NY had the terrible rain storms in October I started to get some dampness and moistrure in one corner of the basement. Happens to be that my basement has cinder block walls with paneling about 10′ in front of the blocks (no sheet rock or insulation). The water was coming through the joints of the blocks in a crawl space in one corner of the basement. The rest of the basement stayed dry. It has been several months, and the leak keeps getting worse. I had about 10 different companies, ranging from mold “experts” to regular waterproofing contractors come by and give me estimates.

You would get dizzy just from hearing the contradictroy analysis and solutions these guys each came up with. On one extreme, you have the mold “expert” who came in to my basement and before he even looked at the crawl space where the water damage was – he declared my house as a “mold infested house.” He wipped out a binder with pictures and after noticing that my basement is a big playroom for my two toddler boys, he went straight to the picture of an infant with a severe rash “cause” by mold. He went on to tell me that I must rip out all of the paneling in my basement and wirebrush every corner. Next, he would apply 3 coats of different chemicals, bring in the fans, and install a humidex. The toal job would cost me 15k. After 5 minutes, he came down to 11k (because he is not on commission blah blah blah…) and I still said to him he is crazy if he thinks I am paying him 11k to do this. Finally he settled at 8k.

On the other extreme, I had one guy come in a tell me that he would fix the leak by treating the joints in the cinder blocks and than painting the blocks with some kind of material to keep the water out. In addition, he was going to repait my gutters and leaders outside so that no water accumulates near the corners of the house. Regarding the mold, however, he said “I can clean that up for you, but you could save the money by getting yourseld a mask, gloves and some bleach.”

My problem is that I don’t know if I have a serious mold problem. Currently, in the crawl space I actually can see some mold growing on the back of the paneling and on the cinder blocks (is that possible?). We are talking about a very minimal amount – smaller than the size of my hand. After all of my research I think I will be wterproofing the basement and I will take care of the mold myself with some bleech. However, my biggest concern is – what if there is mold behind the paneling where I cannot see? My gut feeling is that there is none – because the basement doesnt smell moldy, nobody has been sick and there was no leakage in any other spot. But I am not sure. I guess my ultimate fear is that I will never know what is behind there and when I find out it may be too late.

What do you think?


Bob November 10, 2006 - 12:19 am

My son left a soaking wet sweatshirt in a plastic bag after a boy scout
campout. It has been sitting for almost three weeks. It was really nasty
smelling. I washed it once with no change. Then I found this suggestion
to add vinegar. I ran it once and was glad to find that most of the smell
was gone. I am running it through a second time with a load of wash
and more vinegar. Thanks.

Ryan February 17, 2007 - 9:02 pm

Lest Oil a cap full or two usually seems to work to get out a lot of bad smells. Mold mildew sour smells. Hope that helps

evah August 9, 2007 - 4:39 pm

when weather is always damp will the mold smell just come back after i take care of it?

ParrotGal August 18, 2007 - 11:58 pm

I have a towel that got wet and ended up w/a number of bad black mold stains on it. I threw it in the washing machine, w/a cup of Clorox and the hotest water. Then I threw it in the dryer on the hottest setting for an hour (didn’t know about drying in sun at that time). It came out with the black mold stains still all over it but theoretically it should be clean right?

And that’s what I’m trying to figure out… Did I kill the mold by washing it that way or is it still alive? Can I just sun bleach it now or does it have to be wet again?


Cheryl October 8, 2007 - 9:10 am

I have had a chase lounger in storage only now to find mold on the bottom skirt. How do I remove it? Thanks

Joslyn October 24, 2007 - 5:36 am

Cheryl – Thanks for your question! I’ve posted a reply here : 5 Easy Steps to Remove Mold from Furniture

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Sima October 24, 2007 - 4:46 pm

I have a 3 month old who spits up alot and as often as i change her clothes or put bibs on her etc, she is constantly wet by her neck and chest. i let her clothes air dry after removing them from her but before putting therm in the hamper. Recently, however, her clothing started to get moldy up by the neck. I now have one cotton, one terry and one velour stretchy of hers that is nolonger wearable. I tried soaking these outfits in vinegar befor washing but saw no difference. I also tried rubbing some oxixlean solution on befor washing but that did not do it either. Any suggestions? I am looking forward to a response on how to best romove this mold. (and how to prevent mold from growing on other outfits.) Thanks.

Joslyn October 28, 2007 - 8:49 am

Sima – Thank you for your question! I’ve posted a reply here : Remove Mold on Baby Clothes and Bibs

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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John March 15, 2008 - 1:14 pm

hi i have a leather jacket that had mold on one of the sleeves i sent it to the cleaners but it still has that mold smell on it. how do i remove this smell i love this jacket and i dont want to get rid of it. the cleaners tell me there is nothing i can do for the smell. can anyone help. thanks.

Joslyn March 17, 2008 - 11:35 am


Well, I did some research and I found a good forum that seemed to offer sound answers to your question,

Visit Get the Smell of Mold out of Leather

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Rashel May 4, 2008 - 1:34 pm


I had put a white bathing suit of mine into a bag and had forgotten about it for some time. When I found it, there were yellow/orange mold stains in the pattern of the suit.

I tried soaking it in a bleach/water solution, I tried soaking it in an oxiclean /water solution, and I just don’t know what to do!

It is a delicate lace (with a liner) bathing suit.

Please help!

Chuny May 5, 2008 - 2:14 am

hi i lend a hat to a friend two weeks ago. he gave it back to me last week in a bag, today when i looked inside my bag the hat had green, purple, black spots. what can i do?

Joslyn May 29, 2008 - 9:58 am


Unfortunately, mold does leave stains. By using the bleach solution and washing your bathing suit in the manner that you have, you have rid the bathing suit of mold and probably the nasty smell as well, however removing mold stains is an entirely different matter.

As an option, I have heard that X-14 Mildew Stain Remover with Bleach will sometimes remove the stains. Its worth a shot.

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Joslyn May 29, 2008 - 10:08 am


First take the hat outside (so as not to spread mold spores indoors) and brush as much of the mold off as you can.Allow your hat to dry in the sun for awhile, as direct sunlight can often kill many different types of mold spores. After plenty of sunlight has been distributed evenly over your hat, presoak it in cold water possibly with a bleach solution (color safe if your hat has colors in it) and then machine wash it with warm water and detergent. Lemon juice and salt in cold water has also been used with colored fabrics. Hang your hat in the sun again to dry.

The hat may or may not still have stains but the mold and dangerous spores will be gone. If stains persist, try washing the garment again.

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Kristin June 2, 2008 - 9:24 pm

I am trying to figure out what to do with a plastic tote full of shoes, most of them leather, that got left out in the rain for quite some time with a busted lid. Any suggestions? Clothing was also left out so I am going to try the vinegar ASAP. Thanks!

Mellina June 4, 2008 - 10:55 am

Speaking of BAD MOLD… My then 8 month old son had, lets call it “an accident” a few months back while we were out shopping one day. He pooped so bad that it was half way up his back. I bagged the clothes, cleaned him up and continued my shopping. Upon arriving home I promptly forgot about the dirty bag of clothes that got tossed in some dark corner of my porch. (seems to be a catch-all) When I finally found the outfit about 3 weeks later, it was dried and moldy and DISGUSTING! I could either throw it away or try and clean it. I figured if it was a goner either way lets try and clean it.

I first soaked it in hot, hot water to try and loosen up the dried feces. (I WORE GLOVES FOR THIS) Then I sprayed it with Dreft Laundry stain remover, tons of it. and left it to soak. Then in a clean bucket of 2 gallons of super hot water I added about 1-2 cups of regular bleach and let the garment soak some more. About an hour or so. I washed it in the laundry and much to my surprise IT WAS CLEAN! Save for a tiny mold stain on the inside near a snap and a tiny one on the “butt”. This was a light blue and gray footed sleeper, 100% cotton. There was minimal fading and not much color change from the bleach soak. I cannot guarantee that your item won’t bleach out. But this one didn’t.

Save to say, it’s clean, but he’s since grown out of it. :)

As for mold, I had some swimsuits that sat for a few weeks and got moldy, Washed them in about a cup of bleach by filling the washer with water first then added the bleach, letting it agitate then add the clothes. Then ran it through a second wash with detergent, added about a cup of the Dreft Laundry stain remover and a cup or 2 of APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. I had no white vinegar. Voila, promlem solved.


jay June 19, 2008 - 2:56 pm

have a bunch of paintings that were stored at a beach house rolled up. they are acrylics on canvas. they all developed mold and mildew stains. i see some spores as well. brushed them off in the sun, but i still see and smell mold residue. anyone have any suggestions?
fyi: acrylic is pretty resistent to water, so the paint layer should not be damaged during the cleaning unless say full strength bleach is used.
thanks for any help.

Joslyn June 24, 2008 - 10:00 am


Definitely try the vinegar and other steps listed on the clothes, as far as shoes go, the leather ones especially, I’m not sure there is anything that can be done. Leather is a very difficult material to get mold out of and is mostly listed as “impossible” or “not worth the try.”

Anyone else have suggestions for getting mold out of leather?

Sorry! I hope you have better luck with the clothing.

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Joslyn June 24, 2008 - 10:06 am


I don’t know a whole lot about paint, but if acrylics are resistant to water I would suggest trying warm water get the mildew off, then try drying in the sun again.

Not sure what vinegar would do, but you might give it a try on a small part of the painting first.

Good luck!

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Suzanne June 28, 2008 - 12:03 pm

My mother who is deceased collected some beautiful and now vintage hats. They were stored in plastic bags which apparently were exposed to some moisture. Some of them are fine, some have minimal mold and some of the really former beautiful one have a lot of mold. They are all on a table out in the sun right now. Is there any way to remove the mold? They are not washable. Thanks so much for your help.

Joslyn July 6, 2008 - 11:53 am


First, if you haven’t done so already, brush all of the visible mold growth from the hats, and again, as you’ve done, let them set out in the sun.

Because they’re not machine washable, I would suggest taking a detergent and color safe bleach in a sponge and carefully scrubbing the places mold has grown. Finally, let it dry in the sun.

You’ll be able to get rid of the mold this way, though as far as stains go, I’m not sure they can be removed.

You might also want to try a vinegar/water mixture to help with the smell.

Unfortunately, hats are difficult to deal with – especially vintage items.

Good luck!

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Anne July 17, 2008 - 2:19 am

Hello, how can I remove mold from a tie? We had mold growing out of a damp drawer and now *all* of my husband’s ties smell of mold. Please help!

Tracie July 22, 2008 - 5:59 pm


I just have a quick question, I work at a renaissance fair and after a particularly rainy day my clothes were bagged up and left in the closet (I had jumped straight into planning my wedding and forgot)…I’m not entirely sure if one of my skirts has mold. it’s made out of apolstry fabric and I normally have to hand wash it.

Although I’m not sure if there is mold, it does have a musty smell. Should I try using the same techniques for normal clothes even though the fabric is different?

Joslyn July 27, 2008 - 1:31 pm


I would suggest you use described methods (ie sun drying, bleach/detergent soaking and scrubbing, vinegar option, etc) though instead of machine washing I would suggest you stick with your normal hand washing procedures.

Hope this helps!

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Joslyn July 27, 2008 - 2:01 pm


First, it depends on the type of cloth the ties are made of, ie silk, cotton, etc.

If they are machine washable go ahead and follow the suggestions in the post above.

If not, switch out machine washable and hand wash the ties with the detergent mixture.

Hope this helps!

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

gina August 17, 2008 - 12:44 pm

I was wondering how to get the mildew smell out of clothing. I have noticed that I can only smell the mildew after I have been outdoors and have started to break a light sweat. I can’t ever smell the mildew before the clothing is worn.

renee August 25, 2008 - 11:27 am


i have a closet full of moldy shoes- how do i clean them without having to throw them all away? It’s a combination of leather and cloth shoes… thank you!

Kristin September 3, 2008 - 8:32 pm

I recently fell alseep with some delicates in my sink soaking in water, and now they smell like mildew, is there anything I can do for hand washables that cannot go into the washing machine?
Thanks for your help! :)

Annette Glass September 22, 2008 - 6:13 pm

My son is a builder and did recovery work in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan. He recovered a doll collection and the owner had no desire to see if she could clean them up and claimed them on her insurance. He put them in a plastic container, couldn’t bring himself to look in their faces and throw them away. Anyway, he was cleaning out one of his storage rooms the other day and came across them. His wife wanted to throw them away, but they are so beautiful. Of course they were covered in mud and had scraps of all kinds of things in their hair. I too, looked in their faces and couldn’t throw them away. So, I took on the job of seeing what I could do to recover them to life again. The problem I have is that when I took off their clothes there bodies have mildew. I tried vineger and that helps with the smell. The clothes cleaned up nicely except for some marks of iron. I washed their hair with regular shampoo and conditioner and I have almost totally recovered two (one has to have her leg put back on – my son is doing that). So, any suggestions on “old mildew”? Thanks, and the dolls thank you too. I swear they look happier…smile.

Willie Lancaster September 29, 2008 - 3:38 pm

I have a friend who recently had water damage to clothes stored in the basement when Chicago experienced two days of heavy rain. The clothes have a strong odor. I am unsure if it is mold or sewer water that came up. What can she put in the wash to remove the odor and make the clothes clean and safe, clothes that don’t need to go the cleaners.

How to remove mold stains? - The Mold Blog September 30, 2008 - 2:27 pm

[…] How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing […]

Stephanie Mabus October 23, 2008 - 3:17 pm

We had left our daughters pink and white plaid stroller on the porch after a walk and forgot to put it back in the car after we were finished. We then had several days of bad rain. I had forgot that we left it on the porch and went to use it and realized that it had mold growing on the sun shade and on the seat. Is there any way I can salvage this material?? Thanks!

Hafiza October 28, 2008 - 8:13 am


Winter is coming and I dug out our winter jackets from a box in the basement. I found lots of mold on our jackets coz the moisture from the walls of our basement seeped through the box.

I took a couple of badly moldy jackets out to “dry”, and left teh box open. After reading this post, I think I shouldnt hv done that.

My problem is, we’re expecting snow and there dont seem to be much sunlight in the near future to kill it. What could I do to save my jackets?

Also, what should I do to my walls?


Allen December 11, 2008 - 1:08 pm

I have a problem where some of my cotton t-shirts have developed a ‘mouldy/musty’ smell, and they transfer the smell to nearby cotton t-shirts in my closet. I first had this problem back in high school when I bought t-shirts from a second had store. They had a charasteristic mouldy smell – the first thing you smell when you go into a second had store. What I found was that those t-shirts transferred that smell to my new clothes.

I never quite understood what it was, and I ended up throwing out many of my clothes a few years ago, but now I’m noticing that I’m starting to have the same problem with some of my newer clothes. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one with this problem – millions of people must have this problem. What makes it different from what I read above is that there was no moisture involved and no stain, just a smell. I’m curious to know what this is and how to deal with it. I’m surprised there aren’t companies advertising solutions to this or more discussions about it – I had heard nothing until reading this blog. Thanks.

Vanessa December 12, 2008 - 11:00 pm


I have some clothes with major mold damage.

We recently had a flea infestation, and I was instructed to wash or remove all clothing that could be infested with fleas. I put some clothing into a bag, and put it where (i thought) it wouldn’t get wet. However, it did get wet, and there is extensive mold!

I have washed the clothes in vinegar twice, and they still smell very strongly of mold. Should I go ahead and try hanging them in the sun, or is that asking too much of the sun if they smell so bad? What else can I do?

The main items I am concerned with are a cotton screen print shirt, and some cotton/spandex pants coated with a fake velour.

Please help, I love these clothes!!

Thank you

craig January 5, 2009 - 11:52 am

i threw a wet towel into my laundry bag, and mold has grown and spread to a number of items of clothing. dark green and black spots have grown on the clothing. is there any way i can remove these stains?

Enviromental Protection Technologies January 7, 2009 - 11:14 pm

Folks, I do have a solution for your problem with that Moldy/Musty smell on clothes. It is similar to a problem that some of our clients have had after a fire with smoke getting into their furniture, bedding and even the wood in their homes.

We provide air purifiers that kill Mold/Mildew, Bacteria of all types and Oxidize Odors. The solution, take the purifier and put it in your closet and let it run overnight or for 24-48 hours depending on the intensity of the odor. You will soon have a closet full of fresh clothes.

Our machines simply plug into a three pronged plug and they produce high allotropes of Oxygen, O4 to O15 that Oxidize bacteria and eliminate Odors. This in NOT Ozone and is perfectly safe as our machines do not product the harmful Oxides of Nitrogen that many Ozone machines do. By the way, there is nothing wrong with Ozone, however it is only O3 and does not Oxidize as well as the high allotropes. The problem with Ozone machines is not the Ozone they produce; it is the Oxides of Nitrogen and the maintenance that must be given to the Ozone machines.

Our machines require NO MAINTENANCE and a warranted for 4 years with an option for 25 years. The warranty is for all parts and labor, nothing is excluded. You can visit our site at http://www.EPT-LLC.com; Please call us if you have any questions.

jagdish sehgal January 25, 2009 - 11:24 pm

Hi, i have some cooton rugs about 10000 in my store and have developed mouldy smell.could you pls suggest some neutaliser spray which can take out this mouldy smell. Thanks

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Angelia Shananaquet April 20, 2009 - 10:00 am

I just got done reading the vinegar solution to the moldy/musty smell in clothing and I am trying it as we speak. I have musty smell on my towel that my kids used and threw in out hamper. I hope this works cause the smell is stinky. I will let you know once my load had finished its cycle. Thanks for the advice, i would hate to throw out everything.

Angalina July 7, 2009 - 1:32 am

I’m just recently moved into new house and it took a while to remodel and etc.. but i just got m washer and dryer hooked up. So i had laundry setting for a month or so, & also some of my sons baby outfits that i put in a keepsake box and they all got molded. But the baby outfits are the only ones that got black moldy spots. i soaked them a washed them. Are they ok to keep? Also my other laundry is that ok for my family to wear i use tide, and softener and washed them with hot water a dried them also. They do not smell or see no mold on them. I really didn’t see no mold on the before expect a few items…had little bit of white fuzz. So is it ok for my family and I to re-wear clothes that had mold on them but been washed?

Ed Janik July 15, 2009 - 5:58 am

Basically my home is in trouble with mold that has destroyed the back part of my house. For years the roof has been bad and water has come in, creating a bad situation….

I’ve been wanting to fix this for a long time, but even with me working five jobs I haven’t had the money
to even pay all our bills….and every time it rains, I’m upstairs bailing buckets just to keep from getting
totally flooded out. There is a low-interest loan I am working on getting to pay for a new roof, plus take care of rebuilding some of the damage. I’ve explored many avenues for assistance on this, but so far keep hitting a dead end.

Where does a low-income family go to get help when their house is being destroyed by water and mold? What about the health issues? I’m very worried about this. I fear for my wife and two children. I don’t want us getting sick from this. Do you have any experience with people in this situation and where we can turn for help?

Anything you can do for us will be greatly appreciated. We welcome your advice on this. Thank you.

Ed Janik

Nick July 21, 2009 - 10:49 am

We have a life-size toucan costume that we use as a character for videos on our site. It’s made of a very fuzzy fabric and has unfortunately fallen prey to lots of mold. It’s irreplaceable and we really want to salvage it. Will using the vinegar method work? Should I post pictures to show the extent of the mold and what the fabric looks like? Thanks much.


Rose August 18, 2009 - 8:53 pm

My daughters Cabbage Patch dolls were in a box in the basement that got wet for many years,and I just found them. They smell like mildew, but have not black spots or any visable mold. I am not sure I can wash them in the washing machine with vinegar without ruining the dolls. I would love to give them to my daughter, but she is allergic to mold! Help!

Marina August 22, 2009 - 8:21 pm

How to remove mold from colored clothing (probably works with white, too). Worthy of the Good Housekeeping Nobel Prize!

First, let me tell you, I tried EVERYTHING. I tried a bleach alternative stick, Wisk with bleach alternative, soaking in bleach alternative. It would lighten the black spots, but do nothing for the mold smears and discolorations, and it would always come back, worse than ever.

When it got so bad that I was going to throw my beloved Calvin Klein down coat away, I decided to try one last thing. The Mold Armor Instant Mold and Mildew Remover said not to use it on nylon, but I tried it on a moldy nylon bra that I was going to throw out, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the result!

This is for black mold. It has black spots, and stains like you smeared something on it. It doesn’t smell.

I can not attest to mildew, which does smell, but I have some suggestions below.
1. As SOON as you see the start of mold, take care of it. It will get worse, the spores will spread other places,. your other clothes will become moldy, then your house, and then you will die (just kidding). But take it seriously.

2. Go outside, and brush the spores off. Do not spread the spores throughout your house.

3. Put on clothes you don’t mind accidentally getting bleach spots on. Or better yet, go naked!

4. Put on rubber gloves.

5. Completely soak fabric in WARM water (cold water will set stain), and wring out. Make sure everything is wet, or you will have bleach stains.

6. Spray on Mold Armor Instant Mold and Mildew Remover. I got it at the hardware store.

6. Spray on Mold Armor Instant Mold and Mildew Remover. I got it at the hardware store.

NOTE: My coat and the bra were off white, sort of tannish. If your fabric is darker, you might want to try a test patch in an area that’s not noticeable. Just spray it on that area, scrub brush it, let it stay on 5 minutes, and rinse it out. You’ll see if there’s any discoloration. If there isn‘t any, continue with the rest.

7. Scrub with a soft toothbrush. Scrub in all directions- back and forth, up and down, and in circles until stain is gone.

8. Let it stay in about 5-10 minutes, no longer, or it will stain.

9. Soak in warm water, and rub it around until fully rinsed.

10. Remove water and rinse again in cold water.

11. Wring out.

12. Dry in the hot sun if at all possible. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If not possible, dry in dryer, then put in sun if possible.

If you missed any spots, repeat.

I couldn’t believe the results on my down coat! The ugly smears that no other product would even touch were gone. I had missed a few small places, so alas, I went through the whole obsessive compulsive procedure again, but it was well worth it. I was SO proud of myself. I have not tried this for mildew, so I can’t guarantee it for mildew. But I would try steps 1-8 (5 minutes only) and then soak the fabric in a mixture of warm water and Armor Mold and Mildew Remover for 5 minutes. Then steps 9-12. If you don’t have any spots, just the mildew smell, skip steps 5-8 and just soak in the mixture of water and mold remover for 10 minutes, and then steps 9-12.

I have heard that a cup of white vinegar in your wash works for the mildew smell, too. You might want to try that first if you have no mildew spots.

Arlene August 25, 2009 - 10:50 am

My wedding dress is in a plastic bag hung up in a closet. We recently moved and I noticed it had small dark spots on it and I am assuming it is mold. Is it even possible to salvage this item??? I have read the suggestions and I suppose I could get rid of the mold, but will it always be stained???

brian August 26, 2009 - 9:48 pm

why don’t you try Zinc nano for clothes coating, Zonop, it is clothes coating liquid from nano technology. Help eliminate musty smell on clothes and also anti bacteria and fungal. Check at http://www.nanomaterials.co.th
It is not expensive and really help.

Christelle September 7, 2009 - 3:32 pm

I have a gray bathing suit that i left in a bag and forgot about it and it got moldy. If i use a bleach solution will the color get all messed up or is there a different way to get the mold stain off?

Anne September 10, 2009 - 1:56 pm

Ok, I washed my clothes with bleach and oxyclean in hot water. Almost all of the smell is gone, but a few still has it. Does this mean the mold is dead? It’s just the smell I have left to fix? I just want to make sure that it’s safe for me to wear them again.

mom’s quilt 4 « Making Art with Fabric October 30, 2009 - 5:37 pm

[…] i contented myself with washing a bag of clothes in vinegar half a dozen times to get the mold out (didn’t work).  then i spent a couple of months idly picking apart the seams of the clothes, […]

buckwheat November 6, 2009 - 12:48 am

How do I get the mold off & out of the rubber gasket from my front-load washing machine?

Gerielle November 10, 2009 - 10:37 am

Ok, my boyfriend and I are renting a place and after a few months with no problem we started noticing mold all over. It is in closets and corners all over the house. We are obviously moving now, but we are concerned that we do not want to bring any mold spores to our new place. I am wondering if just washing all our clothes and linens will be sufficient or if I need to spray them all with some kind of mold killer? Most of the clothes do not have visible mold on them. Also is there something I should do to our furniture and bed to make sure we are not taking the mold with us? Thanks for your help I really need it!!

mold remediation November 28, 2009 - 4:42 pm

In our business we have clients wash their clothes in the laundry with Oxy Clean.

Khary December 13, 2009 - 6:09 pm

Hello, I had my winter down coats stored in my basement during a humid summer and they all have mold and mildew. I took them to the dry cleaners and they told me it would be a waste of my money to have them cleaned because the stains (in very noticeable areas) could only be removed with a bleach solution that would discolor the jackets. Any suggestions? Otherwise I need to pick up a new winter coat, ASAP.

paula December 15, 2009 - 2:00 pm

Hi i have just got a prom dress for my daughter from china and it has arrived with a few mould spot and feel damp what can i do to get them removed please help!

thank you xxxx

Melanie December 20, 2009 - 10:12 pm

Hi, My 5 year old brother recently threw up on a beautiful pair of trousers that i own and given the fact that we were at my grandparents they were taken off and placed in a plastic bag. I’ve just found them and now there seems to be white mold on them. I shoved them in the bath with lots of hot water and washing powder but i dont think it will do much good, should i just throw the trousers away?

Pam Bryant December 27, 2009 - 12:46 am

I stored my daughter’s baby clothes in a cedar closet. However, some of the clothes now have brown spots on them. Is this black mold? Are the clothes saveable or does the mold danger override trying to save the clothes?
Thanks for your help!

Carolyn LaMack January 23, 2010 - 8:31 am

How can I remove the musty smell from old photos. These pictures are from the thirties to the fifties. They have been in a foot locker in my fathers basement for about 50 years. We have had many floods in the basement, but the locker never got wet. Thank you for any help.

Richard James January 31, 2010 - 12:34 am

That was grossest story Ive heard!! Pooh covered clothes sitting for three weeks! Throw it away lady!

Tanya February 7, 2010 - 12:40 pm

We have just moved into a new house and have put all our baby clothes,beding, car seats,baby toys high chair (well everything a baby needs as we have due to have another baby this year),summer clothes, luggage, curtains u name itin the loft! After having some mould form around our windows and in built in cupboards we have just found that everything that is in the loft is covered in mould! Car seats and clothes have green black furry mould! Our loft isn’t airing right and our landlord doesn’t really care but since new baby is on the way after cleaning will the clothes etc be safe to use and really were do i start in cleaning it all and with what safe best way? We also live in the UK where there is not alot of sun either!!

Nina February 18, 2010 - 9:35 pm


I have a stroller (Quinny Buzz) that I left on my screened in porch. It must have gotten some snow on it some time ago and then that must have melted and low and behold…mold. The mold is on the shoulder straps and on the backside of the fabric (the underside that is strapped to the metal frame). It says it must be hand washed. I have sprayed distilled with vinager all over it and left it to dry on my radiator. I can tell that the black staining will not come off which I don’t really care about as long as I can trust that the mold is dead. How do I know if I’ve really eliminated the mold if I still see the black spots? Is there some other solution I can spray/handwash it in to ensure that it is safe?


Raquel February 21, 2010 - 5:32 pm

Airing clothing out in the sunlight isn’t an option, as the winter here is damp, cold and overcast. What is the next best way to get get the mold off of clothes and prevent it from happening again? I’ve read about putting certain materials in the closet….any suggestions?

Carolyn LaMack February 27, 2010 - 9:19 am

I was oing through an old footlocker that has been closed for 50 years in my basement. I found two great old smoking jackets. They are in perfect condition. The only problem is the musty smell. They are both velor and I am not sure if they can go through the washing machine. Any suggestions?

Kim March 1, 2010 - 5:28 pm

I just bought a beautiful jacket on ebay and it smells like mold/mildew. It’s dog tooth pattern in green and black, so I can’t actually see any mold. I can’t put in in the washing machine. It’s hanging by the open window to get direct sunlight. Is there anything else I can do? Will dry cleaning help? Thanks!

jaime March 10, 2010 - 3:46 pm

we recenty found black mold in our front load washer, although we did decide to get rid of the washer all together I have been washing my kids clothes in a moldy washer for who know how long now! So…do I need to take EVERYTHING washable and rewash them in the vinegar solution? My poor children! They’ve had asthma issues for several months and NOW I know why! So is rewashing EVERYTHING in my home a must?

Nix April 19, 2010 - 2:18 am


I was taking in the washing yesterday and noticed that a bird had done a large green poo on my clean towel. I washed it off put it back in the washing machine. When it came out, I inspected it closely. There were still about 10 small bright yellow dots on there

I then soaked it and rewashed it. I went to get new towels out of the cupboard and noticed that they had small bright yellow dots too. I went to check the ones hanging in the bathroom and they had a few bright yellow dots as well. By this stage, I could not blame the bird as only 1 towel was outside.
None of our clothing has this problem.

Does Mold ever present itself as small bright yellow dots on towels? I am unsure why this would happen as we have decent ventilation and airflow in our bathroom. I even put on a fan to blow dry our tiled floor faster after a bath so my toddler doesn’t slip when going to use the toilet.

I am worried as I even found it on my little babies towel which I have been wiping him with. Does it sound like mold, could it be toxic, how do I get rid of it? Should I throw away all our towels?

Please help

Justine April 29, 2010 - 5:07 pm

Hello! I had recently discovered black mold in my basement apartment. I am in the process of moving and I am concerned about my belongings. What would be the appropriate care for things like my clothing, which have no mold stains but just smell, and furniture?

Jenny May 11, 2010 - 4:27 pm

I have found the product Natures Miracle, which is a pet stain/odor remover to be very effective in removing stains and odor caused by mold. The product contains enzymes, which actually consumes organic material that causes the stains. Also really effective at removing even old stains from grass, blood etc.

Dara May 23, 2010 - 10:54 pm

Hello. I have a question about a very unfortunate mold situation. During my last move, a friend told me I could store some of my bags at their place. I thought they were storing them in a dry area, but I recently found out they were under a porch and drenched with rain for the entire winter!
I had my vintage coats in these bags. I rescued them, but my coats were drenched and smelled of mold. These are faux leopard print coats. I am so upset. Is there any way I can try to salvage these? Should I soak them in vinegar water and take them to a specialty cleaner? Thank you.

jim smith June 29, 2010 - 9:29 am

has anybody had any success treating an entire house with heat to get rid of bed bugs? because rather than chemicals i would like to treat the whole house rathar than a room or two, just to be safe.

gouki August 9, 2010 - 4:30 pm

I recently had a White T-shirt
washed and there are these weird
Brown/Gray spots on it now

How do i remove them ?

Anne August 16, 2010 - 2:32 am


Found mold growing in our closet. The found mold on my vintage dresses. One, that has lace, has the most visible patch of while mold. My landlord will pay for dry cleaning but after reading this blog I worry that dry cleaning is not the best option. The dresses are not able to be washed as they are delicate and older AND I don’t have much time. Is dry cleaning OK? I washed many of the other clothes that were near the molding dresses but not all my clothes in the closet. What do you think about this? Also found mold growing on several of my shoes! Cleaned one pair (vintage) but had to throw the others away. Thanks!

robin August 24, 2010 - 9:52 pm

I have a stroller that was left in the back of a truck during a couple days of rain. I have spray the bleach dilute and scrubed it. What else can I do? alot of the mold disappeared or lightened. No odor just black gross color-The material is not removable.

Lynn October 2, 2010 - 4:18 pm

Crazy as this sounds but my sister gave me some tapes to watch, they had mold inside them. They have been stored in a plasic bag. Now the closet they were stored in( The jacket closet) now some coats have gotten mold. I have cleaned up but is there anything, such as cider chips or anything that will prevent? Thank you!

Ann October 4, 2010 - 2:02 pm

I have feather comforter in a plastic bag you can smell & see the black mold spots. It was stored in the shed, which leaked when it rained, this happened last year I’ve been trying to find out if I should just toss it or can it be cleaned? I can deal with the spots I just wasn’t sure about the mold on the feathers? Any help will be appreciated. Thank you

Tina Shaffer October 14, 2010 - 2:15 pm

The house we rent has had a strong mildew smell since we moved in 4 years ago. At first I thought it was due to the fact that the house had been closed for awhile before we moved in and that it has central air. I figured the house had not been aired out because of this and maybe that’s why the mildew smell. It has been so that it is now penetrating through our clothes. I don’t smell it so much one me but when I go outside the smell is so strong. I bought a mold kit to see if there was mold but so far no. It is sickening and embarrassing to wear these clothes and when people come to visit they can smell it too. What can I do? The landlord seems to think nothing can be done. We do have carpeting throughout the house, so I don’t think that helps any. The smell is even in our garage. Please help us. What can we do to end this problem.Thank you,

Christy October 28, 2010 - 3:48 pm

hi i had recently stuck a bag full of winter coats in storage in a crawl space. had gone to pulll the bag out and realized that the entire bag of coats is wet and has moldy smell to them. pls help me:(

Mold removal company December 26, 2010 - 1:14 am

Cleaning textiles exposed to mold is highly specialized, so here in Sacramento we refer that work out to 1 of 3 textile cleaning companies. The problem is the small individual fibres in clothing and how mold spores get trapped in the fibres.

Samantha January 3, 2011 - 11:40 pm

i have just moved house and had a pile of washing in the laundry for 3 months and they had mould on them. how can i get rid of it so that i can still wear the clothes and put the sheets on my bed. will they be ok to wear without me getting sick from mould.

JT January 14, 2011 - 4:24 pm

Hello there. This article was very helpful to me. Thank you. However, my brother who has moved into our home is not aware of the smell of mold on his clothing and his bedding and mattress that he brought with him from another house. The house he lived in had a leaky roof and it was never fixed until 2 years later when the landlord did it. He tells me that the mold I smell is his “natural scent.” I completely disagree. He was evicted along with my mother and other brother from this moldy house and when we helped move them out I noticed mold on the walls where their beds were and also the smell of their house was horrible every time I came to visit. I want to tell my brother he needs to wash his clothes and wipe down his surfaces as per the above, but he denies the smell and the mold. He is never going to believe me so should I just let it be? I know I’m allergic because as soon as he moved in my throat started to itch and my eyes got red. But if our home is fairly a dry home, the mold shouldn’t grow right? It’s just a matter of keeping it that way? Or should I tell him to clean his things even though our home is pretty dry?

Richard Lailer January 28, 2011 - 4:36 am

Does this direction “Add 3/4 cup white vinegar to a load of wash…Use detergent afterwards to thoroughly clean your clothes” mean that the initial wash is done without detergent(only vinegar and clothes)?

Matt January 30, 2011 - 11:22 pm

Hey there, quick question to see what your thoughts are. I had a backpack that I was taking to work and putting my lunch in it. Anyways, switched bags, forgot a sandwich and an orange in it. Sandwich was in a ziploc so it was all good… but the orange got a little funky and actually started to leak juices.

I’ve since washed my bag 2-3x in a pillowcase (to save the straps) and then air dried it. Didn’t really help so I ended up febreezing the heck out of it in order to be able to use it.

Since then, the smell has still been bothering me, so I found a link saying go with vinegar. I gave it 2x with a cup of white vinegar today, one pouring it into the bag and letting it sit above the washer for a while, then letting it soak, and finally washing it. I’m airdrying it now and it still seems to have a hint of a bad smell to it, though I feel like part of that is the febreeze.

I heard something about using baking soda instead of a detergent and it would help too. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help!

Emmoe Rabbani April 8, 2011 - 1:01 pm

Hi I’m a spotter dry cleaner with20plus years of experience.I have had numorous insurance companies during the years come to me with big loads of clothing asking me to help them with the smelly & moldy clothing. tough job tough job I repead, untill,new california law that every dry cleaning must convert their perclore ethylene acid (perc) to DF2000 hydro carbon liquid which is the old fashion petrolium, given a fancy eshmancy name, . I noticed that just by dry cleaning the Items in this hydro carbon solvent ,all the smell caused by molding or smoke poof disapears ,that simple, but just to take the safe side , items that could be launderd is better to wash first just with cold water & any safe bleach soap, & then dry cleaned. Honestly , truly speaking ,I havn’t had any complains ever since.

Linda Johnston April 16, 2011 - 2:59 am

I have some old quilts that were stored in a cedar chest in a house that was full of mold for several years. They have been stored recently in space bags the kind that you vacuum all the air out. I am trying to soak in vinegar and air them outside. If I do happen to get the smell out is it ok to store them in the space bags?

cem June 8, 2011 - 5:40 am

Generally bad odors and smells are caused by human body. There are lots of ways to eliminate these odor.

Especially under arm odors and foot odors cause disgusting odor on clothes.

You can find details in http://www.destroyodors.net/

sammi D June 10, 2011 - 2:15 pm

Hello my daughters purple baby stroller was left on the porchh in the rain and grew mold befor i noticed it had been left under an open window. I have taken the fabric off the stroller to be washed with lemon juice and salt but whats the lemon juice/ salt ratio i should use and do i dilute it with water? How long do i let it soak?

dzinkhan June 15, 2011 - 9:26 am

use a detergent with enzymes like liquid tide and a safe non chlorine bleach.wash in warm water . after soaking for about 1hour.

Stacey June 15, 2011 - 11:20 am

My 6 year old plays soccer and so far this year it has been very rainy out on the field. He went to put his cleats on yesterday and they have a horrible mold/mildew smell. There is no sign on mold on or in the shoes however the smell of them is terrible. He had to wear them to last nights game the way they were and I tried to wash them today and they still smell the same as the did when I put them in the washer. Can someone please tell me how I may be able to fix this problem.


Rebecca June 15, 2011 - 3:15 pm

My air conditioner had a clogged pipe and backed up condensation causing a leak. It seeped out of the air conditioners closet into my cloths closet and into my living room on the opposite wall. I found some mold growing on the wall and cleaned that off. They wet vacced my apartment in that area but the mold smell is still in my house. I am afraid that perhaps mold is growing under the carpet. How can I clean this without ripping up the whole thing? Would the vinegar solution work here?

Robert June 20, 2011 - 7:37 am

Dear Rebecca, Vinegar will work in this situation. Your carpet may have to be taken up and pulled back enough for it to dry but we have a solution for making sure the mold spores do not continue floating and breeding around your house. Our technology will kill those mold spores and make sure they do not come back. Our system will also kill any unwanted bacteria and mold that could be growing in your ducts as well. Please contact us asap!

Robert June 20, 2011 - 7:47 am

Rebecca..I meant to say vinegar will NOT work in this situation.

katie m August 4, 2011 - 2:50 am

So we had a toliet leakege in our basement about 4-6 years ago my mom got married and we left the house there untouched for 2 or 3 yrs we did clean up the water but no one ever came to inspect for mold. We recently started moving things out and I wanted to keep some things for a yard sale will vinegar work for clothes that have been fermenting in a mildewy/ moldy environment for so long?

Jonathan August 9, 2011 - 10:41 am

A vinegar solution, plus prolonged exposure to the sun (the enemy of mold) can help on clothes with small amounts of mold damage but for long-term damage your hope of a complete cleaning is very slim.

Adam August 23, 2011 - 12:17 pm

Katie, It is unlikely that you will be able to totally clean mold and mildew out of clothes that have been sitting in it for years. There are some products out there that have an antimicrobial ingredient in the cleaner, that should continue to kill and fight off mold and mildew until it is completely eradicated, but it is hard to know if they will work in your specific situation.

Yvonne October 1, 2011 - 7:17 pm

Hi, I am wondering if anyone can help with my mold situation. I have a lovely Irish wool sweater which was stored in a friend’s basement for a couple months. When I picked my things up, many items had a bright green mold on them. I mostly just threw them away, as they weren’t very important to me. This sweater does not have any visible mold, but it smells terrible and I am allergic to mold, so I don’t want to wear it until all the mold is completely gone. It has been sitting in a plastic garbage bag for almost a year now, waiting for me to do something. Any suggestions? Is there any hope? Also, I know you’re not supposed to dry wool, but the weather is starting to cool down and if I wash it to get the mold out I am afraid the mold will just reoccur if I’m not able to thoroughly dry it. I also have a high-quality wool coat in the same situation. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Craig October 11, 2011 - 7:49 am


I have a question.

My girlfriend has damp / mould in her appartment, which her landlord will not treat.

Am I at risk of her spreading this damp and mould to my place?

She often stays over here and brings clothes here to wear, which do smell a bit.

I’m worried her clothes will spread the damp / mould to my own place, which has no damp problem?

any advice? Many thanks.


Brenda October 11, 2011 - 1:38 pm

Help Please!

My husband found his winter clothes this weekend wet and molded. He brought the tote inside and shook the clothes out in the bedroom, before putting them in the washing mech. After reading these post I am concerned the mold/mildew spores are airborne in the house. What do I do now?

Shanika October 16, 2011 - 7:47 pm

Hi, I left cashmere sweaters in a bathroom and found them covered in mold. Any suggestions for saving them?

Mould Removal Men October 26, 2011 - 10:01 pm

I don’t suggest using bleach on moldy clothes. A more specific product for mould is better. If you let your clothes become mouldy they can’t be that important, throw them out..

Crystal November 5, 2011 - 6:06 am

The suggestions using vinegar, baking soda, and so on, may work for top-loading washers but the bleach dispenser is too small for 1/2 cup in a front-loading one. (The smell is not coming from the washer – a common problem with front-loading machings.) The mildew smell resulted after leaving a load of wet towels in the washer for several days. After several washes, I still smell the odor.

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JJ Henry December 22, 2011 - 5:23 pm

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joanne February 19, 2012 - 6:28 am

Hi i recently got a bed from my friends mother who died a year ago. The bed was left in the house, when i got it theyr is mildew on the mattress. How do i clean it without really soaking it and remove the damp smell. Thanx joanne

elisabeth March 16, 2012 - 8:58 pm

I just got home my vacation & the airline somehow got 1 of my suitcases completely soaked. It happened to be my kid’s and they destroyed several of my daughter’s clothes with mold. I washed 1 dress & it still has the mold spots and another dress is a handmade custom dress that can only be handwashed and it’s now ruined. I am so upset. Is there anything I can do? I will try the vinegar for the one that can be washed, but what about the handwash only one? Please help me, we just got home and my kids will be so upset about their clothes. Thanks!

Diane Stanley May 22, 2012 - 10:03 am

WE have a brite red bemni top for our pontoon boat. We just unccovered it to find black mildew all over it. I know i can not use bleach. I put it in real hot water salt vineger and carpet cleaner laundry soap am leating it soak. Do you have anymore suggestions I can try. thank you Diane

Dorothy June 21, 2012 - 6:50 pm

hi we had a hot water leak that we caught I think in time inside the back bedroom closet this is a mobile home. I went to reach for a box a couple of days before Fathers day to wrap a gift notice the edgwe of box was wet, I pulled everything out from closet & from under the bed it was soaked under bed, & the carpet inside closet soaked we found the leak, fixed it, but now I notice black mold around the section where hot water heater sits, & also the clothes not wet at all are getting a musty smell, I sleep in that bedroom & I have a heart condition.I want to pull the carpet up, & replace it with tile it is my brothers home he believes it is fine I do not agree I wanted to use bleach & water to cllean he stated bleach was not any good, I keep window crack & run a fan I do not know if I am making it worse or better, I am really scared to sleep in that bedroom but have no choice how can I convince my brother we need to pull carpet out of closet & spray where the mold is, also what are the warning signs with your body I mean I am worried any help would be great thanks

Onetimeusename June 24, 2012 - 12:39 pm

I found that vinegar alone only covers up the smell for one round but the next time the clothes/towel get even a little damp, the mildew smell comes back even stronger.

I have started doing the following and have had no returning odors since:

1. Put clothes in tub/sink.
2. Pour baking soda onto clothes
3. Pour pure white vinegar onto clothes.
4. Let sit 5 minutes. Will foam/sizzle.
5. Rinse in very hot water.

Lori Tondini August 21, 2012 - 10:30 pm

Clothing can be washed in a solution of Moldy smell on clothing can be treated with washing in ammonia and baking soda. Add 4 cups ammonia and 1 cup baking soda to wash cycle. Soak first, preferably overnight before washing. This will kill spores and can also neutralize mycotoxins, which could cause illness/sickness. Sometimes, mold smell will be gone, but mycotoxins can remain. In some cases, clothing cannot be remediated safely and mycotoxins may still be present. In this case, the clothing would need to be discarded.

Sherrie August 28, 2012 - 12:42 pm

I got a black beaded satin evening bag at a tag sale(never used but stored in basement) It appears clean but smells musty. Any suggestions?


Luisfe October 11, 2012 - 2:39 pm

Is anyone familiar with Vital Oxide? This product is amazing for mold and mildew problems including odors. I’ve used it on my mountain bike equipment with sweat and moisture from rainfall and I can put my equipment back on with no problem. I just take the equipment off and spray Vital Oxide on it, let it air dry for about 10 minutes and voila, no moldy smell and my helmet and gloves as well as knee and elbow pads are bacteria free without damaging the fabric. This stuff is really amazing. I started using it on my washing machine, when it gets that moldy smell from the rubber seal, i just spray Vital Oxide there and no more smell.

BobbieO November 19, 2012 - 9:13 am

A hairdryer used on its hottest setting is a perfect substitute if there is no sun.I Used my professional hairdryer after washing the buggy seat two times,once in Vanish Hygiene,kills 99.9% of bacteria.Let the fabric get really hot.The smell almost seems to get blown out.I followed this up by using a scented ironing water applied with a cloth in small areas at a time,blow dry these small patches as you go,allowing the smell to pentrate the fabric.All nice and natural!

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PrettyBee May 29, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Hi there, my daughterhad gotten sick about a month ago and I cleaned it with a towel. The towle got throw into a basket that unfortunately wasn’t washed right way. I went to do the wash and noticed the vomit on the towle, it seemed try and no really noticeable mold … I wasjust wondering if this would be a good source for mold to grow on. Would there be any harm from the died vomit a month later or would all the mold spores and toxins be dead?

Eve brown August 29, 2014 - 7:59 am

Hi mold expert. I’ve found myself in a mildew nightmare. I live in a small, non air conditioned house that is good at letting the humidity in. I left for five weeks, returning to a room FULL of mildew. It’s growing on everything…,all my clothes especially. I’ve been doing loads of laundry trying to get it out, it’s also grown on a lot of nicer clothes that I think I’ll have to take to the dry cleaners. It’s hard because there is so much!! I’ve already had to throw pillows away. Any suggestions? I really need your help! Thank you.

CARL BLANCHARD November 10, 2014 - 12:59 am

I have a car with leather seats with mold all over them how can I remove or have it professionally 4images so the car can be driven, really need help on this matter , thanking you in advance for your time on this matter,


Shareen November 18, 2014 - 4:10 pm

I’m due to have a baby in a couple of months and just pulled out our baby car seat from storage and it is covered in mold! I’ve removed the covering and will be following the steps you’ve mentioned but i can’t remove the belts and a couple of other parts to clean them so was wondering if you have any tips on cleaning those? Also was wondering if it would be still safe -after the cleaning- for me to use with a newborn baby?

Joe C Alber December 19, 2014 - 2:12 am

Hey guys, I want to help you out here…if you have nasty mold on your clothes…throw them away!! Its not worth contaminating your washer or dryer.

erin March 20, 2015 - 11:57 am

hi my 18 year old just moved from wy. to my little island In washington state. since then his car boke down. so for over six months it has been sitting there. i noticed one day it looked like his car was raining on the inside, so i put the drying crystals in there and dried his car out with them. then went into the car the other day he still had a bunch of clothes in his car all covered in thick mold, which i bcan handle….problem being his car. there is mold all over the seats floors everywhere and it is thick green and black. HELP THIS IS A NICE CAR OVER 16,000 & WE NOW WANT TO SELL IT.WHAT DO I DO??

Milan NIkolic August 30, 2015 - 2:47 am

I’ve made it! First tried with baking soda, with no successes. And then I’ve rinsed a shirt into water with citric acid! After that, I’ve washed a shirt and the isn’t a smell at all! Citric acid doesnt have smell or other components like vinegar and it could be a stronger. So, citric acid and voila!

this worked for me! January 13, 2016 - 12:35 pm

bathroom got a little too mouldy in between good cleanings, wasn’t looking forward to all that yucky scrubbing , brainwave!! used a dishwasher tablet hot water bit of scrubbing picnic compared to just detergents, bleach or vinegar, left the funky shower curtain soak was gonna chuck it cos the ends were dotted, soaked in dishwasher tab and it was new! fairy brand I’ll be using them for every nasty job from now

Cindy February 27, 2016 - 7:37 pm

Thanks for the informative article. I noticed yellow stuff developing in our closet on the walls, clothes, shoes, boxes, hats, etc…pretty much everything! From reading on the internet, I have decided it must be mold. It looks stained on clothing and dusty/fuzzy on boxes. On the walls it looks like small drops of water, but they are hard. I have taken everything out of the closet and have scrubbed the walls and shelves with 409 and vacuumed the carpet. I took everything that wasn’t clothing outside and cleaned it all with a bucket of warm, soapy water. It all dried in the sun. I am also washing all the clothes. So far I have been able to get most of the stains out of the clothes with Oxy-clean, but I am wondering how to prevent future mold from growing in there. It doesn’t seem moist in there although we do live in East Texas and it has been flooding. The closet is situated in a corner of the house and there is an outside faucet on the other side. I don’t know if either of these factors has had an effect. I don’t see this mold anywhere else in the house. So if you could please let me know how to prevent the mold from growing in the future, I would appreciate it very much! Thanks!

Weekend Warrior April 13, 2016 - 5:54 am

In addition to my Jeans and Fashion appeal that I want to minimize washing, I have all sorts of athletic gear and synthetic wear that smell (mold and bacteria) even after washing. I also have my running shoes, cycling helmets, and a wet-suit that have similar issues. I use a BlueWave cleaner which works really fast (One Cycle is 5 minutes) and with very little set up. Just put the items in, and the odor and funk is destroyed. Problem solved. Loving my BlueWave. Check them out on http://www.ivycreativelabs.com

Christy May 29, 2016 - 7:45 pm

Mould can really be a problem especially for your health. Great tips on how you can prevent mould to your clothes.

jamie June 14, 2016 - 3:26 am

i read your blog and your specious explaination about How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing is good and it’s good to know about this blog…i will visit your blog again with new post…

Thank you…

How To Get Rid Of Mouldy Smell In Leather Bag | WorldsBank July 15, 2016 - 4:57 am

[…] How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing – Do Items in Your Home Have a Musty Odor or Mildew Stains? Mold thrives in places of high humidity and warmth. The more damp and warm an area is, the better. […]

What Causes Mold To Grow In Toilet | Tiriya3 July 18, 2016 - 5:19 pm

[…] How to Remove Mold and the Smell from Clothing – Mold … – Mold Grows on Clothing. As mentioned above, clothing is the perfect place for mold growth. If you happen to find mold on an article of clothing – hopefully its been … […]

Dana August 28, 2016 - 7:24 am

We recently had what they are calling ‘The Great Flood” down here in Louisiana. Thousands of homes got from 1′ to 7′ of water. My sister got 4’ in her home and had to rip everything out up to the ceiling. Mold has started to grow and she is wanting to salvage some of the items. I told her she could store them at my house but now I’m starting to worry that it may contaminate my home. Any suggestions?


David M. October 20, 2016 - 7:40 am

Those are really affordable ideas that we will pass on to our customers. We find that houses that have been closed up for a long time without climate control will have a lot of problems with mold and that stinky mold smell. The clothes, furniture and window treatments usually have that unique smell. At http://www.tallahasseemoldpros.com we try to provide a complete solution so we help remove the mold from the walls, floors and ceilings and we also give them tips beyond just bleaching everything. Jeans and dark clothes do not mix well with bleach!

Frank October 22, 2016 - 1:27 am

Hi Jonathan, this is nice article, I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing !

Catherine November 7, 2016 - 8:07 pm

I’ve read through this article and all of the comments and feel that much of the information and advice is very outdated. There have been so many discoveries about mold and how it grows and thrives. DO NOT USE Bleach on porous material. Bleach only kills surface mold. It does not penetrate to kill the Hyphae or roots of the mold. Why do you think that you use Tilex and then have to use it again a week later? You are only killing the surface mold and essentially watering the roots of the mold with the high percentage of water contained in household bleach. Vinegar also only kill about 82% of molds. The most effective product I have found for treating laundry–which is also natural and does not contain harmful chemicals–is EC3 Laundry Additive. Also, for treating your tile, and furniture, there is EC3 Mold Spray. I have a blog called Howtocleanformold.com. I have done extensive research, interviews and was personally affected by toxic mold. Do your research. There is so much bad info and misinformation out there. Do not bring harmful chemicals into your home to kill something as toxic as mold. Please write to me with any questions or concerns. I would love to help anyone suffering from this problem,

krystle November 13, 2016 - 7:10 pm

Thank you for commenting. This is an outdated article and needs to be updated, something my husband and I are working on doing one article at a time since taking over this website. We would never recommend bleach for cleaning mold. We’ve written this article (3 Reasons Why You Should Never Use Bleach to Clean Mold). Sorry for the misinformation. I’ve added this one to the list we need to work on.

Minnie Scott December 6, 2016 - 4:38 pm

It’s a great post. Anyway, Do you accept guest post?

krystle December 29, 2016 - 12:43 pm

Yes, we do. Please send us an email with an article related to mold to review.

Glorious Cleveland February 14, 2017 - 10:47 pm

We bought a triple wide mobile home 19 years ago from a mobile home lot. The home was not put together on the lot. The plastic had come up in different area where a little rain had gotten into it. The sun had faded the carpet also. It had been sitting on the lot for about a year before we bought it. Not attach . Now I am having a problem with white mold and black mold in the bathroom closet and on the carpet in some area. Is it possible that it could be coming from water getting in it whiles being not put together the time it was sitting there unattached . I live in Alabama and it rained a lots here during the time it was on the lot. Would it take 19 years for me to start having the problem?
Last year I cleaned the area with Clorox & vinegar. Got rid of the clothes. Cleaned the carpet. Painted one of the room after cleaning it with a paint that suppose to keep mold from coming back. Have not seem it in that room so far. Do I need to paint all room and remove the carpet. That area has a bad odor. Right now I am spraying Lysol.
What do you think about Microbicidal Paint that Sherwin Williams sell? It suppose to kill 99.9% of bacteria.
It cost about $80.00 a gallon. Please help me.

Simon S. March 29, 2017 - 10:12 am

There’s nothing worse than that feint odour of damp when you pull out a piece of clothing from the back of the cupboard that you haven’t worn in a while.

I swear by bag moisture absorbers to do the job. They’re meant for car dashboards, but do the job of preventing mould and keeping clothes fresh in the wardrobe. I have found they’re more efficient than the ones that you can hang on clothes hangers, which also get full in no time, and won’t spill like the dehumidifier tubs that you can buy. More info here – http://www.mouldremoving.com/products/bag-moisture-absorbers-1kg-x-2.

Joules April 20, 2017 - 2:58 am

I have a full container of towels that I store at my sister’and basement for the two years. Upon retrieving and opening my container, I found that my towels were all wet, smelly and full of mold and mildew. How can I restore my towels? Or should I just throw them away? Please help.

Kevin A. Jones December 18, 2017 - 2:46 am

Helpful information, thanks for posting. Been reading a lot about getting mold out of my clothes and vinegar is very effective removing mold stains and its smell.

Mark February 22, 2018 - 11:31 pm


I am Mark, from ByPurify.com

I know you are busy, so I will not waste your time. I am reaching out because I have some ideas I think the moldblogger.com audience would positively love, and was wondering if you would be open to me contributing a high quality (completely unique) article for your site?

If you are interested, please let me know and I can put together a draft for your approval.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,


Margaret October 28, 2018 - 7:25 pm

I keepp reading that you should put treated clothing out inthe sun tomdry for mold related problems. What should I do if it is Late Fall or Winter and the sun is seldom shinning.

Sally Mortimer March 19, 2019 - 3:57 am

Hi Moldblogger Team

I am a big fan of your blog. You always gives unique tips and tricks for cleaning services and same in this post also.
Last week my friend also suggest me Neatspiration – Keep Mould and Smells away from your Washing! post. This includes the other unique ideas regarding clothing odor.

Keep up the good work :)

Regional Mold August 5, 2021 - 12:41 am

One of the biggest issues I’ve always had is explaining to clients what Mold Removal and Remediation are. They’re always so confused when they call us to check out our services.
We’re happy that blogs like yours exist, which allows for potential home or business owners to relax.
Cheers guys

Kate Granville September 20, 2021 - 2:12 pm

My husband came home from work with, what my sinuses are telling me is, a moldy smell on his clothing. I’m dealing with that problem, but I sorted the clothes on the floor, like a dummy. I likely got spores in the carpet. Would Lysol spray kill any potential hangers-on?


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