Maybe you found some black or white mold on your clothes, and you don’t know what to do. Not only does it stain and damage the fabric, but it also carries with it an unpleasant odor. It will also flare up allergies, cause dry skin, and rashes when wearing. In this article, we will explain how mold gets on clothes and what you can do to remove it along with any leftover stains.
- How does mold get on clothes?
- Identifying mold on clothes
- Removing mold from clothes
- Mold killing laundry detergents
- How mold affects different types of fabrics
- Best practices for preventing mold on clothes
How does mold get on clothes?
Mold spores are all around us everywhere we go, and it’s not unusual for these spores to land on our clothing. This is not a problem as the spore counts are generally low. However, when leaving these clothes lying around wet for a couple of hours or leaving them in a damp or very humid environment, the chances of those spores developing into mold growth increases. As a matter of fact, leaving clothes in a wet pile (even after being washed) for long enough and you are guaranteed to have this problem.
Preventing this is not hard at all. Don’t leave clothes in a humid environment or leave them in a wet pile. As soon as you’re done washing them start the drying process. Also, leaving them to dry out in the sun is strongly recommended and preferred over tumble drying.
Identifying mold on clothes
Identifying mold patches on clothes is essential for prompt remediation. Here are some signs to look out for:
Visible Mold Spots:
The most obvious sign of mold on clothes is the presence of visible mold spots. These spots can appear fuzzy, discolored (green, black, or white), or have a powdery texture. Check both the front and back of the garments, as mold can grow on any surface.
Moldy clothes often have a distinct musty smell. If your clothes smell damp, earthy, or unpleasant even after washing, it may indicate mold growth.
Stains and Discoloration:
Mold can cause stains or discoloration on clothes. Look for unusual spots, blotches, or areas that appear darker than the rest of the fabric.
Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. If you experience unexplained respiratory issues, coughing, sneezing, itching, or skin irritations when wearing certain items of clothing, it could be a sign of mold presence.
Step-by-step guide: Removing mold from clothes
Removing mold from clothes requires a systematic approach to ensure effective cleaning while minimizing the spread of mold spores. Follow this step-by-step guide to safely remove mold from your clothes:
Put on protective gear, including gloves, a face mask, and goggles, to protect yourself from mold spores. Also, choose a well-ventilated area to work in, preferably outdoors if weather permits, or a room with good airflow.
Sort and Isolate Moldy Clothes:
Separate the moldy clothes from unaffected items to prevent cross-contamination. Place the moldy clothes in a plastic bag to contain the spores.
Pre-Treat Stains and Spots:
Check the clothes for any visible stains or spots caused by the mold. Gently brush off loose mold spores using a soft brush or cloth. For stubborn stains, pre-treat the affected areas with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water or a stain remover specifically designed for mold and mildew.
Launder with Mold-Killing Products:
Read the care labels on your clothes to determine the appropriate water temperature and wash cycle. Add a mold-killing product to the washing machine. Options include chlorine bleach, white vinegar, or a commercial mold and mildew laundry additive. Follow the product instructions for the correct amount to use. Wash the moldy clothes in the washing machine according to the care instructions, using the recommended water temperature and cycle.
Sun-Dry the Clothes:
After washing, avoid using the dryer as heat can set any remaining stains or mold. Instead, hang the clothes outdoors in direct sunlight if possible because sunlight kills mold spores naturally. However, if outdoor drying is not an option, hang the clothes in a well-ventilated area indoors. Use fans or open windows to facilitate air circulation.
Inspect and Repeat if Necessary:
Once the clothes are dry, inspect them for any remaining signs of mold. If you still notice mold stains, repeat the cleaning process or consider professional assistance. If the mold has caused irreversible damage to the fabric, such as severe discoloration or deterioration, it may be necessary to discard the affected items.
Clean the Washing Machine:
After washing moldy clothes, clean your washing machine to prevent any remaining mold spores from contaminating future loads. Do so by running an empty cycle with hot water and chlorine bleach or a washing machine cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
Remember, if you have extensive mold growth or moldy clothes made of delicate or valuable fabrics, it is advisable to seek professional help or consult a textile restoration specialist to ensure proper treatment.
Mold killing laundry detergents
Removing mold on clothes can be quite a process depending on the solution you use. But did you know that there are ready to go products specially formulated for moldy clothes? Here we will review the EC3 Laundry Additive.
EC3 Laundry Additive
The EC3 Laundry Additive is a powerful solution to eliminate mold, mold spores, bacteria, and foul odors from your clothes, towels, and even washing machine by simply adding it to every rinse cycle or directly to the wash basin.
Its been specifically formulated to remove mold and bacteria from various fabrics – whether it’s clothing, towels, linens, or athletic wear, this additive works during the wash cycle to ensure that mold spores and foul odor-causing bacteria and yeast are thoroughly cleaned away. The formula contains “food-grade” citrus seed extracts, tea tree oil, and natural surfactants, which leaves your laundry fresh and odor-free.
What sets this product apart is its commitment to being all-natural and free of harmful chemicals. Its 100% free of metasilicates, caustics, chlorine, ammonia, and phosphates, so you can trust that this additive is safe for all regularly laundered fabrics. It prioritizes your health and the well-being of your family by providing an effective yet gentle solution.
It’s important to note that the EC3 Laundry Additive should be used in addition to your normal detergent. It is safe for use on all washable fabrics and works effectively with all appliances.
How mold affects different types of fabrics
When dealing with mold on clothes, it’s important to consider the specific fabric types as they may require different cleaning approaches. Here are some special considerations for different fabric types:
Natural fibers (cotton, linen, silk)
Natural fibers are generally more susceptible to mold growth due to their organic composition. Treat mold on these fabrics promptly to prevent permanent damage. Check the care instructions on the garment and follow the recommended cleaning methods. In most cases, washing the clothes in hot water with detergent can help eliminate mold. However, delicate fabrics like silk may require professional cleaning.
Synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon, acrylic)
Synthetic fibers are generally more resistant to mold growth. However, mold can still develop if these fabrics are exposed to moisture or stored in damp conditions. Check the care labels for specific cleaning instructions, but most synthetic fabrics can tolerate machine washing with regular detergent. Use hot water if the fabric allows it, as higher temperatures can help kill mold spores.
Delicate or dry clean only fabrics
Delicate fabrics like wool, cashmere, or garments labeled as “dry clean only” require special attention when dealing with mold. It’s best to consult a professional dry cleaner experienced in mold removal for these items. Inform them about the mold issue and ask for their advice on the best cleaning method.
Leather and suede
Mold on leather or suede items can be challenging to remove, and improper cleaning methods may damage the material. Find out how to deal with moldy leather items here.
Best practices for preventing mold on clothes
Here are some best practices and tips to help prevent mold growth on your clothes:
Ensure proper storage
Store your clothes in a clean and dry environment. Avoid damp or humid areas, such as basements or poorly ventilated closets. Use a dehumidifier if necessary to reduce moisture levels in the storage space.
Clean clothes before storage
Before storing clothes for an extended period, make sure they are clean and completely dry. Any dirt, sweat, or moisture left on the clothes can contribute to mold growth over time. Launder the clothes according to their care instructions and ensure they are thoroughly dry before storing.
Use moisture-absorbing products
Place moisture-absorbing products, such as silica gel packets or desiccants, in storage containers or closets where clothes are stored. These products help absorb excess moisture and prevent mold growth.
Regularly inspect and clean closets
Periodically inspect your closets or storage areas for any signs of moisture or mold. If you notice any dampness or musty odors, address the issue promptly. Clean and dry the affected area thoroughly, and consider using a mold-inhibiting product or natural remedies like vinegar or tea tree oil to prevent mold growth.
Regularly air out and sun-dry clothes
When weather permits, air out your clothes outdoors to allow them to breathe and absorb fresh air. Sun-drying clothes is also beneficial, as sunlight has natural mold-killing properties. However, be mindful of direct sunlight’s potential to fade colors, especially for delicate or brightly colored garments.