How do I remove mold stains from clothing?

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Answered by: Cricket, An Expert in the Laundry - General Category
Mold stains can occur after a flood situation or simply by leaving your laundry in the washing machine too long. Mold can cause serious health concerns, so you should remove mold stains as soon after you discover them as possible. Mold prefers growing in damp locations. If your home has a mold problem, check for leaks or flooded areas and get them repaired to prevent further mold growth.

The most common indication of mold in clothing is a black, blotchy stain localized in one part of a garment. If left in place, the mold will continue to grow until it spreads over the entire garment and anything around the clothing. Keep a few common household ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, bleach and powdered laundry detergent on hand as tools against mold stains.

To begin, spray the clothing with warm water from a spray bottle or soak it briefly in warm water. If the mold stain is in one area only, you can just wet down that part of the garment instead of wetting the entire garment.

Use powdered laundry detergent on the mold stain to create a paste. Start with a small amount because you can add additional detergent, especially if the mold stain is large. If you need to, add additional water until the laundry detergent creates a paste on the mold stain. Let the laundry detergent paste sit on the garment for 15 minutes to allow it to work on the stain.

Wash the mold stained garment in the hottest water that the fabric label recommends. Add 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the wash water, and let the washer run a full cycle. Once the wash cycle is complete, be sure to check the mold stained area carefully to ensure that the stain is completely removed. If the mold is still present, repeat the treatment with the powdered laundry detergent and wash the garment again in hot water with another 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide. If your clothing's fabric cannot tolerate using bleach, substitute 1/4 cup of oxygen bleach instead of the hydrogen peroxide.

Once the mold stain has been removed, hang the garment to dry outside in a sunny location. You can use a hanger or a clothesline. Sunlight helps to not only remove smells from clothing, but it kills germs and mold as well and helps your laundry to smell fresher.

Although it may seem difficult to remove mold stains, you can use the items you already have on hand to make the job easier. If you are having to clean mold from a large amount of clothing, take the clothes outside first and brush away as much mold as possible. Once you have finished washing the clothing, clean your washing machine by running an empty cycle with a high concentration of bleach. Washing machines can be a breeding ground for mold and other germs. Use at least two cups of bleach, and allow the bleach to soak in a wash machine basin full of water for at least one hour before completing the wash cycle.

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