This is a problem that too often gets overlooked when dealing with a mold infestation. The big job, the work of getting the mold out of your home, and out of the air…that’s what gets the lion’s share of the attention, but unless you’ve got the cash to just replace your entire wardrobe, the smaller stuff matters too.
Besides, you may be faced with a situation where you don’t have a larger problem with mold, but you left some sweaty clothing in the hamper, and by the time you pulled them out again, you found the black spots that are the telltale sign of mold on them. This article will outline several different ways of getting mold out of your clothes so you’re not left having to simply throw them out and buy new.
Before You Start
Before you try any of the methods outlined below, start with an old toothbrush and gently scrub as much of the mold away as you can. It’s best to do this outside, so that the mold spores don’t come off your clothing and wind up floating around your house.
You’ll want to brush using gentle strokes, because you don’t want to damage the fabric that the mold spores are living in, and you’ll want to do this, and proceed with one of the removal methods outlined below as soon as possible, because if left alone, the mold spores will actually devour the fabric as they spread. It’s food for them, and the longer you leave the mold untreated, the more damage the spores are bound to cause.
The Power of the Sun
The sun is a natural bleaching agent, so when you’re using any of the other strategies outlined below, be sure to let your clothing dry in the sun. Not only will the ultraviolet rays help kill any stray mold spores that the other methods we’ll describe miss, but the sunshine will also help make residual mold stains less visible. Note that sun-drying tends to fade color as well, so if you’re not willing to risk at least some color fading, you may not want to sun-dry certain articles.
Believe it or not, Oxiclean is actually very good at removing mold, and the stains that invariably accompany it! In this case, you’ll want to wash your clothes in hot water, and add about half again as much Oxiclean as you’d use on a “normal” load of wash. Wash in hot water, and be sure that you’re washing the moldy clothes by themselves, and not with non-impacted articles. Once the wash cycle is complete, let sun-dry and inspect.
Lemon Juice & Salt
This trick goes back to pioneer days, and is often overlooked, but the upshot here is that you’ve probably got both of these in your house right now. In a bowl, simply mix lemon juice and salt, adding a sufficient amount of salt until the mixture begins to form a paste. Apply this paste onto the molded area, rubbing it into the garment gently. Allow to sun-dry, and repeat as needed until no mold or trace of stain remains.
In a large container, mix 1 cup of borax with 1 quart of water. Add an additional cup of borax and an additional quart of water as needed to immerse the impacted garments. Allow to soak for several hours, or even overnight, checking at regular intervals to see that the mold is gone. You can also add borax to your washing machine, washing the impacted garments in hot water, and checking after each wash (more than one wash cycle may be needed, depending on the severity of the infestation). If you want to use Borax in your washing machine, dissolve half a cup of Borax in 4-6 cups of extremely hot water, then pour into your washing machine, once it has filled for its rinse cycle.
Start by soaking the impacted area, and gently rubbing in a small amount of powdered laundry detergent. Using water as hot as is recommended by the garment’s manufacturer, add half a cup of bleach to your washing machine, and wash the garment. Note that bleach will often fade colored garments, so use this method with caution! Avoid if you’re worried about color fading.
Use white vinegar only, and pour directly onto the moldy areas. If the stain is light, and the mold infestation is nominal, full-strength vinegar may be excessive. In this case, use a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Be sure to soak the impacted area thoroughly and allow to sun-dry, repeating as needed, then wash normally to get the vinegar smell out. If you prefer, you can use vinegar in your washing machine, adding 1 1//2 to 2 cups to your wash cycle, washing in hot water.
This, or any product containing Tea Tree Oil works wonders on mold and mildew. Simply soak the area thoroughly and allow to sun-dry, repeating as needed. An effective, “green” way to solve the problem!
Obviously, you only want to pick one of these methods, and run with it, finishing it by sun-drying the impacted garments, remembering the caveat we mentioned earlier about the potential impact of sun-drying on color.
The bottom line here is that there are plenty of good ways to get mold spots out of your clothes. You absolutely don’t have to resort to throwing them out. It’s true that it takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s actually easier than you might think. Don’t let mold get the better of you!
Here are some videos that cover mold removal from different items.:
Removing mold from a leather jacket
Removing mold from a baby stroller
This is fairly common if your children have outgrown the need for the stroller, and it’s been in storage for a few years, then suddenly, another member of your family has need of it, and you want to give it a thorough cleaning before passing it on.
Removing mold from a car:
This is very common, many people forget a window open not expecting rain. It’s very frustrating when you wake up the next morning only to realize you have 3″ of water inside your car.