How to Remove Mold from Fabric. 5 DIY Steps

How to Remove Mold from Fabric

Mold and mildew have a knack for showing up uninvited, especially on our favorite fabrics and in neglected wardrobes. The result? An unpleasant musty smell and unsightly stains that no one wants to deal with. This article is here to help, offering simple methods on ‘How to remove mold from fabric’, and restoring freshness to your textiles.

Before You Begin. How Does Mold Grows?

How does mold develop? You may be wondering, Mold spores, the tiny troublemakers, thrive in moist environments. When clothes get damp, whether from spills, leaks, high humidity, or inadequate drying, it creates the perfect breeding ground for mold.

How to Remove Mold From Fabric:

Step 1: Read the Garment Label

To know the type of material the garment is made of, as well as the care instructions (whether the material is to be washed with cold or hot water, whether to be ironed or not, and of course how to dry it), reading the garment label is crucial. This information helps in choosing the right mold killer and the temperature of the water that is appropriate for the garment.

You have to understand that some splotches may be permanent and may not be completely removed, or may not be removed entirely. In such cases, consulting a professional dry cleaner is recommended, or you may need to accept the taint as part of the garment’s character or consider replacing the garment because insisting on removing the taint will damage the material instead.

Step 2: Take Safety Precaution

Wear gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect you from direct contact with the mold.

Step 3: Pretreat the Tarnish,

Pretreat the taint, by this, I mean, apply a mold remover directly to the affected area and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, then scrub it off with a toothbrush or sponge depending on the durability of the fibre.

Step 4: Soak the fabric in warm water for a Few Hours

Soak the fabric in warm water

Soak the cloth in warm water with the appropriate solution like white vinegar for at least an hour to kill the mold spores. You know, oil-based mold splotches, such as cooking grease, oil-based makeup, and paint, tend to be more deeply set into the cloth.

That’s why you would need warmer water to loosen the taint and make it easier to remove. In all you do, take into cognizance the directives on the garment label.

Step 5: Add Detergent and Wash the garment with a Machine

Add detergent and machine wash it on a gentle wash cycle for soft material and a heavy-duty cycle for hard and durable fabrics; then dry the garment as specified on the garment label.

For stubborn mold tarnish, Use the proper detergent and a heavy-duty cycle in your washing machine to remove persistent mold stains from strong materials like canvas and denim.

Step 6: Dry the fabric

Dry the cloth in direct sunlight or use a dryer. However, understand that air-drying hard fabrics using sunlight is always better, as it reduces the risk of the cloth being damaged. Dryer should be the last resort.

Dry the fabric

Prevent Mold from Clothes

The following are some of the several ways to prevent mold from growing on your cloths:

i. Regular Cleaning.

Regularly clean and launder fabrics to remove dirt, dust, and organic matter that can attract mold spores. Pay special attention to areas where fabrics come into contact with moisture, such as bath towels and kitchen linens.

ii. Use Mold-Resistant Products.
Consider treating fabrics with mold-resistant products or finishes and mold-resistant storage bags, especially for items stored in damp or humid environments. These products can help inhibit mold growth and protect fabrics over time.

iii. Keep fabrics dry.
Dry in the sun, wet clothes or towels promptly, and avoid damp storage to prevent the growth of mold and mildew from cloth.

iv. Control Humidity Levels.

To prevent mold growth, maintain an indoor humidity level of about 40%, and use moisture-absorbing products like silica gel packs in storage areas. This helps to prevent the spread of mold as well.

Types of Mold Stains

Mold Stains

When it comes to dealing with mold stains on clothes, it is essential to understand that not all stains are created equal, so different types of mold may require different treatment methods. Most mold killers are designed to work on a wide range of mold species. So, to effectively remove the mold from your moldy clothes, it is important to identify the type of mold and the type of textile (whether soft or hard) before choosing a mold cleaner to ensure that you are using the most effective and appropriate product to get mold out of clothes.

Different mold is caused by different substances, and each substance requires a specific type of chemical reaction to get rid of mold. At the same time, different kinds of clothes require different types of chemicals (mold removers) to be used on them. For instance, Enzyme-based mold removers, in particular, are often effective at breaking down the proteins and organic materials that mold thrives on, regardless of the type of mold. Here are some common types of mold or mildew tints you might encounter:

Aspergillus Mold

This species of mold can be found on decaying vegetation and can also colonize household items, including textiles, leading to discoloration and structural damage. It may manifest as green, yellow, or black mold growth on the material’s surface and can produce toxic compounds such as aflatoxins, posing health risks. Therefore, maintain proper ventilation, do regular cleaning, and ensure that clothes always remain dry to prevent Aspergillus mold growth.

Penicillium Mold

Penicillium molds are characterized by their blue-green or green spore-producing structures, depending on the species. They can grow on fabrics in high humidity or moisture, thereby causing discoloration, damage, and a musty odor. Penicillium molds are known for their ability to produce and secrete various enzymes, which enable them to break down complex organic materials. Proper cleaning and drying are crucial to prevent Penicillium growth, as some species can cause allergic reactions or respiratory issues in susceptible individuals.

Cladosporium Mold

Cladosporium species can develop on clothing, furniture, and carpets, especially in wet or poorly ventilated environments. They can cause contaminating and degenerative conditions in the material, resulting in black or greenish patches. Cladosporium can also cause allergic responses or respiratory difficulties in those who are allergic; therefore, it’s critical to keep materials clean and dry to prevent their growth.

Types of Mold Removals:

The following are some of the mold treatment solutions that are safe to effectively get mold off clothes:

Natural Mold Cleaners:

 Natural mold solvents often contain ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil, or citrus extracts, which are capable of killing mold spores and are gentle and less likely to harm fabrics. These ingredients have natural antifungal properties and can effectively remove mold stains from fabrics without causing damage.

Enzymatic Mold Solvent:

Enzyme-based mold disinfectants like Zout Taint Solution, Sporicidin, OxiClean Moldzyme, and EcoClean Solutions Mold & Mildew Cleaner use specific enzymes to break down organic and mildew stains. They are generally safe for use on textiles because enzymes target and break down organic matter, including mold, without damaging the fabric fibers.

Oxygenated Mold Decontaminator

Oxygen-based cleaners, such as hydrogen peroxide or sodium percarbonate, release oxygen when mixed with water. They are effective at killing mold and removing stains without producing harmful fumes or leaving behind residue that can damage fabrics.

Removing Mold From Hard Fabrics

Wear gloves before removing mold from fabrics

So talking about hard fibres, some materials like denim, canvas textiles, and upholstery may require a hard mold remover and aggressive brushing, while other fabrics, such as silk, wool, and cashmere, may require a more gentle mold cleaner like Woolite Delicates Laundry Detergent, Shout Stain Remover Spray, Shout Stain Remover Spray, and a very gentle sponging.

Enzyme-based spot cleaners are typically gentler and safer to use on delicate or soft fabrics mentioned earlier. On the other hand, solvent-based mold removers can be harsher and may cause damage to delicate fabrics. They work by dissolving the stain, making them better suited for tougher and more durable fabrics like the ones mentioned above. However, to make sure it won’t harm the fabric, it is better to patch-test the solution on part of the fabric, and to always follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to use any mold remover. You may want to do a patch test on a small, hidden section of the fabric before using it properly.

When to Call a Professional

If you are not sure of the type mold remover that is best for your specific situation, it may be helpful to consult a mold professional within your locality. You can equally consult a professional dry cleaner to recommend ways to remove the stain without damaging your fabric.


Q: Is it safe to remove mold from delicate fabrics?

A: Yes, you can safely tackle delicate materials with some tender care. Opt for gentle cleaning methods, like hand washing using a mild detergent and lukewarm water. It’s best to steer clear of strong chemicals or overzealous cleaning, as they could potentially damage sensitive textiles.

Q: What should I do if mold persists after cleaning?

A: If mold persists after cleaning, it may indicate deeper issues such as excessive moisture or poor ventilation. Reevaluate the environment where the fabric is stored. You may also want to consider consulting a professional for mold remediation.

Q: Can I still wear clothes that had mold on them after cleaning?

A: Yes, you can wear clothes after removing mold, provided they have been thoroughly cleaned and dried. However, if the mold has caused significant damage or staining, it might be best to discard the item.


In this article, we have discussed the steps on how to remove mold from fabric in a safe manner, different types of mold, and preventative measures like proper ventilation, moisture control, and regular cleaning. Emphasizing that by choosing appropriate mold solutions based on fabric type and infestation severity, prioritizing preventative measures, and exercising caution in blemish removal, one can safely and effectively manage mold issues and prolong textiles’ lifespan.
I believe you will find it helpful.

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