Mold prefers a warm, humid environment. Mold spores will find an ideal source to settle down if you store your clothing for an extended period in moist closets and cabinets, in a humid environment, or in a basket for dirty clothes.
Mold development in the fabric can ruin it and render it useless. Additionally, when you wear clothing exposed to mold spores, they can stick to your skin and cause skin rashes and red eyes. Asthma and severe allergic reactions are the main side effects. Therefore, washing clothing that has come into contact with mold spores is advised.
Identifying the Signs of Mold in Your Clothes
Mold spores can travel through windows, air ducts, vents, and other mold sources. These tiny invisible spores can float in the air, settle down, and germinate in your clothes when they find a perfect environment. When you wear clothes exposed to mold spores, the spores can travel in your car, room, and the whole house. You can be unaware of the fact until you identify some important signs of mold infestation. Here are the main signs of mold infestation in our clothes.
- Musty smell: One way to identify mold in your garment is from its smell. Suppose you notice a smell coming out of the wardrobe or wearing one of the clothes. There is a high chance that your cloth is infected by mold.
- Sudden allergies: While putting on clothes, you suddenly develop allergies that cause sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or a runny nose. Then, it is a sign that the mold is on your clothing.
- Stains: There are several types of mold found in humid areas. But, mold mainly germinated on wet clothes that were white, black, and green. It depends on the source of food in the clothes.
How To Clean Clothes Exposed To Mold Spores
The mold-exposed clothing needs to be treated right away. The mold spores from your garment can travel in the humid basement, ceiling, and bathroom and cause mold build-up there. If you find mold on your clothing, you do not need to discard it. Here are some efficient cleaning techniques to remove mold and its spores from your cloth, including both chemical and natural cleaning agents.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Washing machine
- Mild detergent
- White vinegar
- Protective mask
- Spray bottle
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Scrub brush
- Baking soda
- Water bucket
Before You Begin
Here are some precautions you should consider before you start the cleaning process.
- Check the washing instructions before cleaning the garments. Some chemical cleaning agents can permanently damage the fabric.
- Wear protective gear like masks and gloves while using chemical-related cleaning agents like bleach and hydrogen peroxide.
- Do not vinegar with bleach and hydrogen peroxide. The combination can emit powerful fumes that can make you ill.
- Ventilate the area by opening windows and doors; this way, the mold spores will head outside while you clean the moldy clothes.
Wash Your Mold Exposed Cloth in Washing Machine
If the infestation is not too bad, you can start the washing machine on the hot setting and put your cloth there. The hot water above 140 degrees Fahrenheit can kill mold and its spores. Apply mild detergent and run at least two cycles. Dry the clothes in the direct sunlight after fully washing them. Please place them in the sun for more time than you used to; the UV rays can help to kill the remaining mold spores attached.
Apply Borax on Mold Infected Cloth
Borax is a natural white salt powder that can help eliminate mold. It is safer than chemical mold cleaning agents as it does not produce toxic fumes. It is an environmentally friendly method that acts as an insecticide to deter ants, spiders, and gnats. Additionally, it can eliminate the musty, earthy smell of mold.
Mold grows in an environment with a PH range of 3.5-8.0. When the acidic source increases more than that, it kills the mold. Borax has a PH level of 9.13. Therefore, applying borax to the mold-affected garment can prevent mold spores from settling. It applies to fabrics like cotton and linen.
- Mix one cup of borax and one gallon of hot water into a bucket.
- Turn on the washing machine and throw the mold-affected cloth.
- After the washing machine is filled with water, Add the prepared borax mixture.
- Run a normal cycle.
- Dry the cloth as you normally would.
Vinegar is another antifungal cleaning agent that helps to eliminate mold and other stains like ink from the cloth. The acetic acid content of vinegar inhibits the mold spores from germinating in humidity. It is a safe cleaning agent that can clean vinegar. Additionally, it can eliminate the bad odor of mold from your garments. You can mix vinegar with baking soda, but never mix it with bleach and hydrogen peroxide.
- Pre-soak the affected cloth in one cup of vinegar and a bucket of warm water for an hour.
- Put the soaked cloth in the washing machine and add a mild detergent.
- Add a cup of vinegar to the machine.
- Run a normal cycle.
You can also mix vinegar with baking soda and make a paste in case of a stubborn mold stain. Baking soda will also leave a beautiful fragrance on the fabric. Here is a step-by-step instruction to do so.
- Mix ½ baking soda, ¼ vinegar, and ¼ water in a bowl and paste.
- Spread the prepared paste onto the affected area.
- Scrub the paste using a soft brush.
- Wipe it with a clean towel.
- Put the garment in the machine and run hot settings with mild detergent.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural chemical cleaning agent to kill mold. It has antibacterial properties that can help disinfect cloth from mold spores. But, hydrogen peroxide has the potential to bleach some fabrics like wool. However, you can use it on linen, cotton, and hemp. Make sure to wear proper gloves and a mask for safety. Also, keep the windows and doors open for ventilation.
- Pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide onto the affected area.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- With a gentle scrub brush, start scrubbing the cloth.
- Wash the clothes with warm water and soap.
- Repeat the process until there is no sign of mold.
Using Tea Tree Oil To Kill Mold From Clothes
Tea tree oil is the perfect investment to eliminate mold from the clothes. Tea tree oil’s antifungal properties help kill the mold growth in the garments. This oil’s strong smell also helps abolish the musty smell of mold and deter pests like spiders and ants.
Make sure to buy authentic oil without additives. The fake tea tree oil in the market can leave an oily stain on the fabric.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil and one cup of warm water.
- Shake it well before pouring it into a spray bottle.
- Spray it directly into the mold-stained area.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- You can machine wash in hot settings. Or hand wash it using a hot bucket of water.
Apply Bleach on White Colored Mold Affected Clothes
Bleach works like magic in full white cotton clothes. But the same is not true for black or colored clothing, leather, wool, and silk. Therefore, It is better to take caution before applying bleach to your garment. It can weaken the fabric of some cloth. It is better to test in an inconspicuous area beforehand.
Also, it can be irritant to the skin and eyes. So, wearing protective goggles and a mask is recommended before starting the cleaning procedure.
Caution: Do not mix bleach with vinegar. The combination can emit harmful gas.
- Pre-soak the moldy cloth in bleach and water mixture for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Put the cloth in the washing machine.
- Run a normal hot wash.
- Dry it as usual.
Preventing Mold From Growing in Your Clothes
Mold spores can spread easily through your windows or doors. It will settle in a humid closet, damp clothes, air conditioning system, and dirty laundry basket. It is important to prevent these mold-free areas to keep your garments healthy.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
A room without proper ventilation is sure to have mold growth in them. The laundry room needs proper ventilation, like an exhaust fan to let the humid air head outside. Sometimes natural ventilation from windows and doors can also prevent the humidity inside the room. For a humid closet, periodically open the closet doors to let the fresh air flow.
Install a Dehumidifier
The main reason behind the mold build-up is moisture. The small and dark closets and wardrobes are easy targets for mold spores to breed. Installing a dehumidifier can make sure that your room will stay humidity free. This way, your clothes can be humid-free and mold-free as a whole.
Put Silica Gels in the Wardrobes
Silica gel packs might be a good option for clothing easily susceptible to moisture. These packs can protect your clothing from deterioration and help with moisture absorption.
Remove Dirty Clothes From the Closet
Dirty clothes are the perfect food source for mold spores. It is smart to place the dirty clothes in the laundry hamper and wash them immediately. You can prevent the mold from growing in the closet this way.
Keep Wet Clothes Out of the Laundry Basket
It is better to dry your wet clothes as soon as possible. Hang the damp clothes in the direct sunlight. The UV rays can kill the mold spores and permanently remove the mold from the garments.