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Cooped up in drawers, suitcases, and closets, sometimes clothing requires more than a run through the dry cleaner to get rid of that musty, damp smell. We have compiled several ways of eliminating musty smells safely using non-toxic ingredients that will not discolor your clothes or cause irritation to your skin.
Basic Tips on How to Remove Molds from Clothes
There are many ways of removing mildew and molds from clothing. Here are some of the general solutions that have been proven to work;
- Check the care tags first
Manufacturers issue instructions on the right method of cleaning a garment, and therefore it is advisable to check the garment care tag first. Check the favorable water temperature to find out the most suitable wash cycle to use on your fabric.
- Using a toothbrush, scrub away the mold
You can pre-treat the stained area by scrubbing away the stain using a clean toothbrush and any of the solutions below. Remember, you will still need to launder your fabric to kill mold spores.
- Clean using very hot water
The best way to kill mold spores is by using hot water. With organic fabrics and cotton, you should wash them at quite a high temperature but ensure you don’t damage the fabric. After washing your clothes in hot water, allow them to dry in the sun. If this method doesn’t eliminate the mold on your fabric, you might have to try tougher methods to remove it completely. Here are several options for you;
1. Washing with Bleach
A popular way to remove mold from fabric and clothes is by washing them with bleach. Add a cup of bleach to your washing machine when washing clothes with stains. Ensure you check the directions on the label and also check the care tags on the garment to see if there is a bleach warning. You can do a spot test to confirm if the bleach will damage or discolor your fabric.
2. Using Borax to remove mold from clothes
Put a cup of borax in hot water and ensure it dissolves before putting the solution in the washing machine.
3. Use of Vinegar
Vinegar is another effective way of getting rid of mold from clothing. It can kill close to 82 percent of all mold species. That explains why it remains a popular method of removing mold from fabric. How to remove mold from clothes using vinegar- add two cups of white vinegar to your washing machine while washing moldy fabric. Repeat this process if mold persists.
4. Use a mold killing detergent
There are many washing detergents that have been specially designed to clean clothes with mold. You can use them to clean your clothing as well. The two popular ones are Clorox and Oxiclean.
5. Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is an effective method of removing mold from clothes. The heat produced during the washing process is capable of killing most of the mold spores.
6. Normal cleaning
You can simply remove mold from your clothes by brushing the mold off and washing them normally. You don’t have to use additional products. Just take your clothes outside and brush off the loose molds. After that, leave them out and let the sun work wonders. After that, soak them in cold water and then wash them with hot water. Let them dry outside in the sun.
7. Using Lemon Juice
You can apply lemon juice on the stained area and sprinkle salt on it for extra effectiveness. Leave your clothes in the sun and rinse them afterward. Launder them as usual.
8. Using soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
You can also use baking soda(click to see different uses of baking soda) and hydrogen peroxide to remove mold stains on your cloth. Follow the directions provided on the product’s label. Here is a general procedure;
- Make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
- By using a laundry, brush rub the paste over the stained area. Make sure to run until all the loose mold is removed
- Launder as usual using a detergent
9. Use Tea Tree Oil
This is one of the most effective and cheapest product for removing mold. You only need a little amount of tea tree oil to remove mold spores. This oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties to kill virtually all types of molds. Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil to one cup of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the mold stain. Leave it to sink and do not rinse to prevent molds from returning.
Related article: Mold Cleaning: How to Get Mold Out of Carpet?
Why does Mold grow on Clothes?
The main cause of mold is confined moisture. If you leave wet clothes folded somewhere for more than 24 hours, mold will start growing on them. That’s why you should dry your clothes immediately after washing. Drying them in the sun is the best option and only pack them when they are completely dry. The same applies to damp clothes. These need to washed as quickly as possible or hang them outside. Do not leave them in a wet pile. Another reason why mold may grow on clothes is when your home has too much humidity. Rooms, where clothes are stored, need to have proper ventilation. Ensure to hang clothes with some spaces between them in a closet. Also, avoid packing them too tightly together in your drawers. This will allow air to circulate in between them.
How to Keep Your Clothes Mold-Free
To prevent clothes from getting moldy;
- Make sure to empty your washing machine every time a cycle has finished
- Hang wet clothes on the washing line outside, or clothes rack as soon as you take them out of the laundering machine
- If your clothes are tumble-dry safe, place them in the tumble dryer
- Wet swimwear or sweaty clothes should not be piled up. They should be hanged to dry before being placed in the laundry basket
Be sure that your clothes are completely dry before putting them in the drawers and closets. This will limit the amount of moisture in them and prevent mold from forming. Do you have others ways of how to get rid of mold on clothes? You can share with us in the comment box below.