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4 Highly Recommended Methods to Get Mould Out of Clothes

dark coloured clothes in a gray laundry hamper

looking unsightly, leaving stains, and smelling musty, wearing clothes with mould on them can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and the likes. Nevertheless, as bad as it all sounds, there is no need to discard mouldy clothes when they can, in fact, be made presentable, pleasant-smelling, and safe to wear again! With that said, there are some important things to know about getting mould out of clothes, most of which many individuals are unaware of and end up ruining their clothes as a result.

So, if you want to know the best and safest ways to remove mould from clothes, Maid For You has got all the crucial information covered right here! Read on.

Why Does Mould Grow on Clothes?

assorted coloured damp clothes in a top loader washing machine

There are a couple of factors that contribute to mould growth in your home, as well as on your clothes. The weather or humidity level in the house plays a big role in the development of mould and (these conditions) allow the fungus to thrive. Similar to moisture in the air causing mould to grow on walls and other surfaces, if clothes are left wet or damp for too long, the same thing happens to the fabric. Whether it is a damp towel left in your clothes basket or washed clothes that haven’t dried completely before being stored, all it takes is a small amount of dampness to cause mould on your clothes. 

Keep in mind that the first sign of mould isn’t always visible to the eye; mould spores can be present on fabrics but instead of seeing it, you will smell it. That musty, mouldy or mildew smell can easily trigger allergies and respiratory problems so, if you grab an old t-shirt that’s been lying in your cupboard for a long time and start sniffing, sneezing, or coughing all of a sudden, take it off immediately and clean it appropriately using one or more of the methods shared here today.

WARNING: It is highly recommended that you wear rubber gloves, a face mask, and full-length clothing when dealing with mould, as well as some of the cleaning solutions/products mentioned in the guides below.

4 Effective Methods to Get Mould of Out Clothes

a bottle of vinegar, jar of baking soda, lemon and other assorted cleaning products on a white table

Although all of these methods are tried and tested, the one you apply must be chosen in accordance with how old, severe, and/or large the mould or mould stain is on your clothes. With that said, in some cases, you might have to try one or more methods before the mould is completely removed. As a pro tip, we suggest trying milder solutions before moving on to stronger or harsher methods as natural cleaning techniques are widely preferred for many reasons. 

Shared below are five methods for removing mould from clothes that range from natural solutions for mild stains to commercial or chemical cleaners for tougher problems. Take a look.

#1 Vinegar

Due to its acetic acid content, distilled white vinegar is a very handy ingredient to have in your house. It can be used to disinfect and kill bacteria including mould spores found on your clothes. As a first attempt, simply add two cups of the ingredient to a full load of laundry after the washing machine has filled up with water. If the fabric permits, use hot water to wash the mouldy article of clothing. This should take care of mild cases of mould on clothes, however, if the stains do not come out, try pre-soaking the affected area with full-strength white vinegar for at least 20 minutes before washing it in the machine as mentioned above. 

#2 Vinegar + Baking Soda

Double up on cleansing power with the added benefit of deodorising your clothes by combining vinegar and baking soda. The latter helps brighten up your laundry and neutralises mould/mildew odours while, together, the two ingredients form a stronger, yet safe, stain remover.

Follow the steps below to get mould out of clothes with vinegar and baking soda:

  • Add ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup water, and ¼ white vinegar to a plastic bowl and mix well with a spoon; allow the ingredients to bubble and settle down until it forms a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the affected area using a sponge or your fingers (use rubber gloves when doing this).
  • After the paste has dried or become crusty, brush it off using a clean, old toothbrush. If any residue remains, clean it off with a white, damp towel.
  • Machine-wash the clothing item with regular laundry detergent and hot water (if suitable for the fabric).

#3 Borax

Like baking soda, borax can remove mould stains from clothes and get rid of odours. It is, however, a stronger cleaning agent because, when dissolved in water, it turns into hydrogen peroxide. 

The potential downside is that borax can lighten some dyed fabrics and therefore, should be tested on an inconspicuous area of the clothing item before proceeding with the steps below:

  • In a large enough basin or bucket that will accommodate the clothing article, fill it up halfway or more with hot water (the water should be enough to soak the entire item).
  • Add in ½ cup powdered borax and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve the product in the water.
  • Submerge the mouldy clothing item in the solution and allow it to soak for a good 20 minutes.
  • Finish off by washing the soaked article of clothing in your washing machine with regular laundry detergent and hot water.

If there are persistent stains or a lingering fungus smell, repeat the steps above to fully remove mould from your clothes.

#4 Oxygen Bleach

As compared to chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is a less harmful chemical which is often used to remove stains from fabric. The benefit of using the latter of the two is that oxygen bleach is non-damaging on most colour-fast fabrics and therefore, needn’t be limited to removing mould from white clothing only. With that said, it is advisable to perform a spot test on the material as its ability to fade some dyed clothing largely depends on the type of fabric in question.

To safely kill and get mould out from clothes with oxygen bleach, follow the steps below:

  • In a spray bottle, add 1 part water and 1 part bleach. Close the bottle and give it a good shake to combine the liquids.
  • Spray the solution directly over the mould, as well as surrounding areas that may have spores which are not visible to the eye. 
  • Set the clothing article aside for 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Put it in the washing machine and, if the mould stains are severe, add in a cup of oxygen bleach along with your regular laundry detergent; run the clothing through a hot water cycle if suitable for the fabric. 

While the thought, sight, or smell of mould can send you into a panic due to the negative effects it has on one’s health, if you take the right precautions by protecting yourself when dealing with the situation, and following the right cleaning methods, you will have no problem with getting out mould from clothes! All you need to do is pay heed to the advice and recommended cleaning techniques we have shared with you today, and say goodbye to mould and mould stains on your clothes!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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