How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Clothes

What is mold?
Simply put, molds are fungi. They can grow on a variety of surfaces and reproduce due to spores. Molds and mold spores flourish in moist environments, can cause strong odors, and even damage your health.

Have you ever left clothing in the washing machine too long, left damp towels in your swimming bag, or hastily tossed wet clothing into a drawer? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you might appreciate a few tips on getting rid of mold in fabric and clothes.

There are a number of commercial and natural options for mold removal. You can also use various equipment, like a washing machine, dry cleaning, or hand washing.

Recognizing the Signs of Mold
The first, and probably most recognizable sign of mold, is a strong smell present in affected clothing. However, there are some other ways to detect mold.

Mold is generally envisioned as a black or green substance. However, spores can also take on red or orange shades. This depends on what substance the mold has inhabited, what nutrients its pulling from it, and how old the mold is.

If you notice that certain clothing causes itchy eyes, sneezing, or a runny nose, there might by mold present.

Skin rashes
Much like itchy eyes or sneezing, mold can cause rashes and other allergic reactions when in direct contact with skin.

Why Remove Mold on Clothes?
Though the smell alone might be enough to get most people to act, molds don’t always have a strong smell, especially in small quantities. This might discourage some people from taking immediate action.

Avoiding Health Complications
Not everyone reactions to mold the same way. Mold could trigger serious allergic and respiratory conditions in some people. Kids might be extra sensitive to mold, since there has been some evidence that mold exposure increases their risk of developing conditions like asthma by the age of seven. However, another person could be completely unaffected by the same mold.

Stop Mold from Spreading
At first, mold growth on clothing might seem like a local problem. Unfortunately, mold spores are airborne, meaning they can travel through the air and spread throughout your home. This is a great incentive to get rid of mold as soon as you detect its presence.

Remember, spores are capable of surviving a wide range of environments, including sun, dryness, and cold. When conditions are favorable, mold spores can take these opportunities and expand within as little as 24 to 48 hours.

Keeping Your Clothes in Good Condition
Mold and bacteria can degrade the quality of fabrics, damaging the structure and color of your clothing. Preserve your clothes by banishing mold as soon as possible.

How to Get Mold out of clothes
Regardless of your chosen washing method, there are a few options for removing mold from clothes.

Washing Techniques
Usually, people either use a laundry machine, hand wash, or dry cleaner to wash clothes. The best way to remove mold will vary with each.

For minor mold growths, simply running clothes through a wash cycle and drying them could be sufficient to stop mold. Fungus can generally be killed at a temperature of over 140-degrees Fahrenheit, which can be achieved with the “hot” setting on a washing machine.

First, remember to separate moldy clothes from non-moldy clothes to avoid cross-contamination! Then, choose the hottest available setting, since cold and warm temperatures wont be enough to kill mold. You’ll still want to ensure that your clothing is made of fabric that can withstand heat. Then, add your usual laundry detergent.

At this point, an optional step is to add vinegar, bleach, or borax to the water in your machine. You can pour it into the water itself or use the laundry detergent dispenser on your machine.

Run your machine for two full wash cycles before drying your clothes. Sunlight is capable of killing fungus naturally, so hanging clothes to dry outdoors under direct sunlight is a great idea. Alternatively, you can opt to move your washed clothes to the dryer promptly.

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