No matter how clean your house is, there is a chance that mold may sneak in and grow on your cloth.
Keeping clothes for too long in a crowded closet or drawer, letting them lay on the bottom of laundry bin, or clothes that fall behind your bed and forgotten, all could result in mold growth.
Once you find mold on your clothes, it is a call for quick action. Because, the longer it stays, the worse it could damage your clothes. You might wonder, how to get mold out of clothes, is it possible? Or do you have to throw them away?
First of all, you need to make sure how severe the mold has gotten on your clothes.
How do you know mold has grown on your clothes?
At an early stage, you probably can’t find the mold visually. The sign of mold contamination at the early stage is the smell; the musty, moldy smell. You may feel your clothes are damp as well.
Later, you may see fuzzy cluster on your clothes, which could grow bigger if left unattended. After a while, the mold will digest the fabric, makes it lose and brittle. Eventually, it will destroy the clothes. At this stage, you no longer can save them.
What is the effect of mold growth?
Mold on clothes could result in itchiness, sneezing, rashes, and more severe reaction if you are allergic to it. You don’t have to wear them to feel the symptoms because mold spores are released into the air.
The released spores can cause mold growth in other areas of your house.
On the clothes itself, the mold may leave an ugly stain, even if it has been cleared. The smell may stay longer as well. And the worst, of course, is that your clothes could rot and destroyed.
Why does mold grow on clothes?
Mold can grow rapidly within 24 hours if the condition is right. If you leave your clothes for too long after laundry, mold can grow on them. Wet clothes provide moisture and food for the mold since it can digest the fiber materials of your clothes.
Leaving your sweaty and damp clothes after wearing could also promote mold growth. These clothes need to be laundered quickly or hung with sun exposure. Don’t pile them on laundry basket for days.
The humidity of your house is matters as well. You should keep the humidity under 60 to prevent mold growth. If you are living in the humid area, buying dehumidifier can be the solution.
If not, make sure your house is well ventilated, and treat your clothes accordingly.
How to prevent mold growth on clothes?
Take care of your clothes as soon as possible after the washing machine has finished its cycle. Hang them on the rack or on top of the radiator to make it dry faster. You could also put the clothes in the tumble dryer.
Don’t leave sweaty clothing or wet clothes like swimsuit left unattended for too long. You can hang sweaty clothes to be aired adequately or wash it as soon as possible.
Don’t hang clothes too close to each other on the rack. Spare same space between them. Don’t store them too tightly in the drawer either.
How to get mold out of clothes?
If you can’t detect the mold visually but your clothes smell musty, you just need to expose them to the sun as soon as possible.
Dry them outside and wash them as usual. If the mold can be detected physically, you should take careful measures as below.
Check the laundry direction
Since you will use extra treatment, make sure you know the laundry direction of your cloth. The manufacturers will put the instruction on the clothing tag.
Check the suggested water temperature and how high is the upper limit which won’t damage the clothes. Also, check whether it has a ‘do not bleach’ tag.
Pre-treat the clothes before washing
You need to do several treatments before putting the clothes in the washing machine. First of all, take them out and expose them to the sun. The ultraviolet from sunlight will help to kill the mold. It may reduce the smell as well.
If the mold clusters are thick, brush them away before exposing them to the sun. Make sure you use a mask to avoid spore inhalation. Also, prepare a bin layered with paper or plastic so you can throw away the dislodged mold easily.
Pre-treat the moldy clothes with vinegar
You still need another step before putting them in the washing machine. Take one cup of vinegar and mix it with the same part of water. Soak your clothes in it at least for one hour. Vinegar kills 82% of mold species and helps to reduce the mold smell.
Pre-treat the moldy clothes with bleach
Alternatively, you can use bleach for pre-treatment if you clothes are resistant to bleach. Use half a cup of bleach per gallon of water or check the instruction on the bottle. Let it soak for a few hours before you put them in the washing machine.
Pre-treat the moldy clothes with borax
Borax or sodium borate is also a mold-killer. Normally it is sold in a powder form. Check the label to make sure how much of borax need to be added to the water.
Wash at the hottest temperature possible
After the pre-treatment, now you can put them in the washing machine. Use the hottest temperature your clothes could stand. Hot water kills mold and spores.
Do the washing cycles at least two times. First, wash them with increased temperature and additional mold-killing agents. Second, wash them with the usual setting.
For the first cycles, you can use the same mold-killing agent that you use for pre-treatment.
Add mold-killing agent to the washing machine
The amount of bleach for the washing machine is one cup or according to the instruction on the label. For vinegar, you need 1-2 cups.
Borax needs to be dissolved in warm water first. Choose only one of them. Don’t mix them altogether. Make sure you add the mold-killing agent after you fill the washing machine with water.
These are the step-by-step guide on how to get mold out of clothes. It covers the basic mold-removal steps. However, if the mold is extensive and present on other areas of your house, you may need to consult professionals.