How to get mold out of clothes? It’s been a while since the last time you cleaned your closet, and you found out some of your garments have little black dots on them. Those are the harmful molds that you need to get rid of immediately.
Removing the mold from your clothes is not that hard; the important part is that you need to get rid of them thoroughly and prevent them from growing on your clothes. Fortunately, I know the best way to do this without any effort. So, let me help you through this post.
Mold usually grows in a high moisture environment, so if there are any molds on your clothes, those garments are not dried properly before being placed in the closet. Other cases could be heavy rain, flood, or any incident that allows water to penetrate your wardrobe.
When mold appears on your clothes, they will start developing and growing. As a consequence, other garments in that closet are at threat too. So, you need to conduct some quick actions to prevent this from happening.
Recognizing your garments are affected by the mold is not really a difficult task because the signs are quite obvious.
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- Smell: When mold appears, the smell is really obvious; it has a heavily stinky smell that will alarm you to clean the clothes right away.
- Appearance: Normally, you will see some dark green or black color molds on your clothes. Red or orange molds often appear depending on the type of spore. The shade of mold varies from different areas, the aging duration, and their nutrients.
Molds will ruin the material that they are growing on. If they grow on your clothes for a long time, they can leave a permanent stain as they digest the fibers.
Mold can trigger different symptoms for different people. You could suffer from slight allergies like runny nose or sneezing, and your eyes start feeling itchy while wearing clothes with mold on (1).
Other severe health issues could include skin rash, acne, triggering asthma, or diseases related to respiration. The symptoms could be more severe if the victims are children because they are vulnerable and sensitive to fungi.
If you suddenly have the mentioned symptoms, start looking for the alarming signs of mold on your clothes. Clean your garments right away with the following methods to prevent them from expanding to other garments.
As soon as possible, treat the mold immediately to stop the spore from growing and multiplying. First, there are some vital preparations you need to do before dealing with the mold.
Let’s go straight to the point; you must separate the mold-contaminated clothes from other non-affected garments. If all of your clothes are in the same drawer or closet, you will need to wash all of them because the spores might land on other items.
Wear protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and goggles to limit direct exposure to mold or mold spores (2). Clean the affected garments outdoors or in a well-ventilated area to limit the expansion of the spore inside your house.
Brush off the mold on your garments by using an old toothbrush. Scrub the mold-contaminated zone carefully so as not to harm the garments. Withdraw the brush after this process because the spores on the bristles could spread to other objects.
Then, read the care tag of your garments carefully. Each item requires special care for laundry and cleaning, so make sure you choose the best method for your garments.
You also need to prepare hot water if you attempt to hand wash your garment. Most washers have a high-temperature laundry setting, so you don’t have to worry about this problem. Water from 140-160°F (60-71°C) can destroy molds and spores on your garments (3)
In case the care label doesn’t allow washing your garments with hot water, just wash them as you usually would.
The quickest way to deal with mold and its stain is using your regular cleaning agent. The procedure is quite straightforward; Here is how you can do it.
Well, let the laundry detergent do its work. Choose the detergent that fits your garment’s requirements. Why wait? Let’s wash the clothes.
- Liquid laundry detergent or stain remover
- Hot water
- Optional: white vinegar (bleach or borax will also work)
Before treating the molds: Ensure that you separate the mold-affected clothes with other non-affected garments.
Step 1: Drop a large amount of liquid laundry detergent on the affected area. You can also spray stain remover to saturate the stain.
Step 2: Allow the applied product to sit on the stain for half an hour.
Step 3: Start the washer with the hottest setting mode allowed on the care label.
Optional: You can choose between white vinegar, bleach, or borax to add when the washer is nearly filled with water. These ingredients will boost the efficiency of wiping the molds out. If you use a front-door washer, use the dispenser next to the one designed for detergent.
Step 4: Now, you can hand wash or put your clothes in the washer and wash with hot water for two complete cycles.
Note: If the smell is still present after the second wash, submerge your clothes in vinegar or baking soda for around 20 minutes. After that, wash your garments one more time.
Step 5: Dry your clothes in the dryer or hang them air dry under the sunlight. If you wash the garments on a nice sunny day, I suggest drying your clothes under the sun. Direct sunlight helps prevent mold from growing or invading your garments. (4)
Bleach is an effective solution to get rid of molds and allergens. Adding bleach while washing your clothes will boost the efficiency of removing molds out of your clothes.
Note: You have to read the care label carefully before applying bleach. If the care tag doesn’t say anything, make a spot test, observe if the garment starts to fade after a few minutes, stop using bleach.
- Liquid detergent
- A large bowl (hand wash)
Step 1: Run the washer with a hot water setting; the recommended temperature is around 140-160°F (60-71°C).
Step 2: Add laundry detergent after the washer has filled a significant amount of water.
Step 3: When you see the bubble from the detergent, add one cup of bleach into the water (you should use the suggested bleach quality on the bleach package). If your device has a bleach dispenser, pour bleach in that dispenser.
Step 4: Put the affected clothes on the laundering machine, and launder as usual. The mold will be removed after your device finishes washing.
Step 5: Dry your clothes
Note: If the molds are still on your clothes, don’t put them in the dryer. Try another method or bring your clothes to the professional cleaner.
If you want to hand wash your garments, try the soaking method: mix a solution of bleach and warm water according to the instructions on the bleach’s label. Submerge your clothes in the mixture for a few hours and rinse with detergent.
Such a simple method for eliminating black molds on your garments. Watch this video:
If you are looking for a natural cleaning agent option, the following options will help you wipe out the molds on your clothes.
Vinegar can prevent certain types of mold and help wash them off your clothes easily (5). If your clothes have a heavy odor smell, vinegar will eliminate that smell for you.
Note: Don’t use bleach and vinegar together; they will release a toxic gas that is not good for your health.
- A bottle of white vinegar
- A large bucket (for soaking method)
- Laundry detergent
Instructions For Using Washing Machine
Step 1: Run your washing machine with hot water and put your garments in the water. Add your favorite detergent.
Step 2: Pour roughly two cups of white vinegar into the washer.
Step 3: Wait for around an hour to let the vinegar penetrate deeper into the garments.
Step 4: Run the washing machine for the entire cycle.
Step 5: Dry your clothes properly.
Instructions For Soaking Method
Step 1: Dilute a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water.
Step 2: Allow your clothes to submerge in the bucket for roughly one hour.
Step 3: Launder your clothes with laundry detergent. Repeat the process if needed.
Step 4: Air dries the garments.
I guarantee that this combo of home remedies will save you from mold stains. Also, baking soda will erase the bad smell from your clothes.
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
Step 1: Start your washer with a hot temperature setting,
Step 2: Wait until the water is almost filled with hot water; add one cup of white vinegar. Then, let the device run for the first round.
Note: Don’t combine other detergents with this method
Step 3: After the first wash, fill the machine again with hot water; this time, apply half a cup of baking soda and run a complete cycle.
Step 4: Dry your garments.
Borax is a multi-purpose product that is really helpful in cleaning; it can turn into an all-purpose cleaner after mixing with vinegar. This ingredient is an excellent disinfectant and fungicide that you should try.
Borax generates hydrogen peroxide from water molecules when exposed to hot water. Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-mold chemical that is usually used in household cleaning.
- A large bowl
- A spoon
- Laundry detergent
Step 1: Turn on the washing machine with a hot temperature setting. Put your affected clothes and laundry detergent in the device.
Step 2: While waiting for the water to fill in the device, dissolve half a cup of borax (118 mL) in a large bowl of hot water. Stir the mixture with the prepared spoon until the borax is dissolved completely.
Step 3: Pour the borax solution into the washer.
Step 4: After a full cycle, the mold should vanish.
Step 5: Air dries your garments under the sunlight.
The acidity of lemon juice makes this ingredient become a natural bleach to your clothes. Lemon juice and salt can remove molds and stains from your clothes. Give this combo a try, and you will say wow after seeing the outcome.
- Lemon juice
- Laundry detergent
Step 1: Mix ¼ cup of lemon juice and two tablespoons of salt to form a thick paste. You can add more salt if the paste is not thick enough.
Step 2: Apply the mixture on the stained area and rub a toothbrush.
Step 3: Pour some lemon juice on the surface of the stain.
Step 4: Cover the stained area with some salt and let the garment under direct sunlight until the affected area dries out.
Step 5: Rinse the garments.
Step 6: Launder with hot water and laundry detergent. Then, allow your clothes to air dry.
A bottle of 100% pure natural tea-tree oil without additives will be a lovely choice to wipe out the stubborn mold and its stain on your clothes. The earthy smell from tea tree oil can overwhelm the odor of mold.
Note: If you use synthetic tea-tree oil, your garments will have to deal with oil stains from that product.
- Pure tea-tree oil (Clove oil will work as well)
- An empty spray bottle
- A hand wash bucket
Step 1: Dilute 1 teaspoon of tea-tree oil with a cup of water (hot). Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. If you use clove oil, mix 1 liter of water and ¼ teaspoon of clove oil.
Step 2: Apply the mixture on both sides of the stained area and from the inside too.
Step 3: Let the solution saturate the stain for approximately 10 minutes.
Step 4: Hand wash the garment inside the prepared bucket. Utilize the remaining mixture and add it while washing. If you use a washer, pour the mixture on the device and run a full cycle.
Step 5: Air dries your clothes.
Note: The smell from tea-tree oil will vanish after a couple of hours. Don’t let the oil bottle be anywhere near the reach of children and pets.
An additional way to use tea-tree oil products on cleaning the toxic molds. Watch this video:
Hydrogen peroxide can eliminate fungus and clean the spores out of your clothes. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide to roughly 3 percent before using it to remove molds from your garments.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- An empty spray bottle
- A hand wash bucket
Note: Hydrogen peroxide can harm certain fabric types, so make sure you test the product on a hidden part of your garments. If any damage happens on the fabric’s surface, choose another method.
Step 1: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with warm water according to the instructions on the package.
Step 2: Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Step 3: Spray the solution directly on the affected area and let it soak for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Launder the garment with the remaining hydrogen peroxide solution. You can also hand wash the garment in the bucket.
Step 5: Allow the affected clothes to dry under the sun.
Ammonia works like bleach; it can brighten your clothes and remove spores and molds from your clothes. If you want to try using this ingredient, here is how you should do it.
- Household ammonia
- Liquid detergent
Note: Make a spot test on your clothes before using ammonia. Drop some ammonia on the unnoticeable part of your clothes; stop using the product if the fabric shows any changes.
Step 1: Fill the washer with hot water
Step 2: Dissolve 2 cups of household ammonia in the water and put your garments in.
Step 3: Wash the garments in full cycles.
Step 4: Launder your clothes again with liquid detergent to rinse the remaining ammonia.
Step 5: Dry your clothes on the clothesline with sunlight to kill all the spores and bacteria on the garments.
How can you remove mold from leather garments? Leather items are expensive and need extra care from you. Luckily, I know the best way to blow away those annoying molds. Stay tuned!
- Dishwashing liquid
- Clean cloths
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- Leather conditioner
- White vinegar
- A small bowl
Note: Your clothes need to be completely dry before applying this method.
Step 1: Dampen a clean cloth and lightly wipe most of the molds off your clothes.
Step 2: Mix the same amount of dishwashing liquid and water in a small bowl. Scrub the affected area with the prepared toothbrush.
Step 3: Use another cloth to clean the soap out of your garments. Then, disinfect the stain by dabbing some white vinegar on it.
Step 4: Blot the area with a dry cloth.
Step 5: Apply some leather conditioner to maintain the leather quality.
Step 6: Air dry the leather items in a well-ventilated area.
A helpful guide on how to clean mold perfectly out of clothes:
Mold can invade your house in many ways, from windows, doors or the spore can grab on your pet hair and your clothes. So, the best way is to keep your house and garment clean and dry.
The best humidity level recommended around your house needs to be around 30-60% (6). Higher temperatures will increase the chance for spores to multiply around your house.
A dehumidifier is an ideal solution for you. You can place this machine in your bedroom near the closet. Place one device close to your drying rack if you can not let it dry outside due to the rain.
Create better airflow for your house, allowing the air to go in and out easily to reduce the chance that humidity stays in one place. Turning on ceiling fans and opening the windows will make the air circulate better and prevent the area from being stifling.
Also, close all the windows when there is rain outside so as not to let the water penetrate your house.
Keep a small space between the wall and your furniture such as sofa, closet, or refrigerator to clean easier and prevent the spores from growing on hidden areas.
Check HVAC Filters
You should change the HVAC filters once every three months; frequently check to see if you need to change them sooner. These filters will sort out dust and spores when the air goes inside your house, so after using them for a while, replace them with a new one.
Check the pipe system in your house frequently if there is any sign of mold around the area. Stifling and high moisture areas like the basement, bathroom, or kitchens are ideal places for molds. Clean and eliminate the molds immediately when they start to appear.
Use a solution of tea-tree oil and water to spray on your clothes three times a week. The tea-tree oil can eliminate spores and cover your garment with a pleasant earthy smell.
Wash your garment and dry them immediately if they are wet either by rain or you sweat on your clothes. Hang them under the sun to kill the remaining spores or mold; dry them using your dryer if it is raining outside.
Make sure your garments are completely dry before placing them in the closet.
Here are some related questions about cleaning molds and preventing them. You should check out the following answers for more information about removing molds.
Check Your Closet Frequently
Open your closet and check all the garments frequently; some items you rarely use could develop molds in the hidden area. It could be the sweaters you wear in the winter or the swimsuit for a hot summer vacation; these clothes are only used on some occasions.
That’s a wrap! If you have other tips on cleaning molds from clothes, feel free to leave a comment below. Other readers and I will really appreciate your input.
- Cdc.gov. 2021. Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness | CDC.
- US EPA. 2021. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home | US EPA.
- Ars.usda.gov. 2021.
- Hud.gov. 2021. About Mold and Moisture | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Healthline. 2021. Does Vinegar Kill Mold and Mildew? What Works, What Doesn’t.
- Epa.gov. holdthemold.pdf