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Mold in Clothes
Dealing with moldy clothes isn’t typically what we do, but it’s an issue for many people and can be a sign of further problems.
Just like organic materials around your home, ie. walls, carpets, flooring, or ceilings; if conditions are just right, mold can begin growing on your clothing and shoes, especially if they are made of organic materials such as cotton or cotton blends. If there is too much moisture in your home if clothing is left sitting while wet, (swimsuits and towels, or sweaty clothes from a workout), or if they aren’t thoroughly dried after washing, your clothing becomes a breeding place for mold spores. They just need the right conditions, (moisture, warmth, and a little darkness), and within a few hours mold will begin to grow.
This is not a subject most people want to think about, as it can be very gross and disgusting. But what some may not realize is that just like sick building syndrome, the mold spores on clothing have been known to cause or worsen respiratory issues such as asthma. Additionally, some people are allergic to mold spores and will develop a skin rash if they come in contact with them.
So if you have clothing that has been hanging in the closet while slightly damp, due to forgetting to take it out of the laundry basket after putting your dirty clothes away, or taking a nap on some towels after washing them, etc., it is best to air them out in the sunshine (takes moisture out of clothing) or wash them to get rid of possible health risks. It is also wise to check any boxes you keep stored away in the garage, basement, or attic for signs of mold, especially if they are made of organic materials that can be affected by excess moisture like cardboard, paper, or wood.
How do you know if your clothes are moldy? They will be discolored, black or green, and will have a distinct musty smell. If you are unsure, you can always have your clothes professionally dry cleaned to be safe. You may also want to check your shoes, as they are subject to similar conditions depending on how often they are worn and stored after use. If this is a problem for you, it’s recommended to air them out on a regular basis or leave them open on a shelf to prevent mold from growing.
Simply put, if you have a musty smell in your home, it could be coming from your clothing or shoes and you need to know how to get mold out of clothes.
Moldy fabric is from too much moisture…
If you find mold growing on your clothing, shoes, or bags in your home, you can be pretty certain you have a moisture problem in your home. You can try to clean your clothes or throw them away, but unless you deal with the excess moisture, mold will continue to grow.
Always remember that mold spores are everywhere and if your clothing is made of natural fibers, they will attach themselves to the cotton weave in the fabric and continue to grow unless properly dealt with. In addition to the clothing itself being a good place for mold to grow, the damp laundry in your washing machine is another possible source of spores. Make sure you dry your clothes well so that mold will not have a chance to grow on them later.
Avoid moldy fabric if you are allergic to mold
If you are allergic to mold, it is not advised that you try to clean the clothing yourself at home without proper training in mold remediation. You can try cleaning your clothes, but if they are not completely dry it will encourage mold growth.
Make sure you wring out your clothing very well before hanging them up or putting them in the dryer (if they are machine-washable). If your clothing still feels wet after washing, consider drying them for a shorter amount of time so they stay fresh until you can dry them completely.
Remember that mold spores will always be present, no matter what you do to try and prevent or remove them. If the weather is moist where you live, take care to prevent excessive moisture from forming in your home by fixing any water leaks you have, turning off the clothes dryer when it’s not in use, and closing doors that lead into areas of your house where excess moisture can form.
You may want to check clothing that is already in storage or packed away to make sure it’s clean before bringing it out and using it. Finally, wear your clothing with confidence knowing that you’ve taken good care of them and given the mold spores no chance to grow or attach themselves.
Places, where mold can be a problem, are dark, damp basements, closets, and under sinks.
One young woman was constantly getting migraine headaches and couldn’t understand why. One day while looking through her bedroom closet she discovered black mold growing on the walls and floor, and it had spread to some of her clothing. After checking a little further, she discovered that her closet, which was on an outside wall of her home had a leak. Once she had the leak repaired and the mold properly removed, her headaches went away.
Can you clean mold from out of clothes?
Mold is basically digesting your clothing if it has begun to grow on it, and it leaves a stain where it has been, so the longer it grows the larger the stain, the less you’ll want to use the clothing and the harder it will be to remove the stain and the smell.
If the mold hasn’t been growing too long, there are some products that will help remove it from your clothing:
- Washing them in a detergent that is designed to kill mold
- Baking Soda
- Bleach – can help lighten stains
- Vinegar – helps remove the smell of mold
- Borax – doesn’t emit toxic fumes
Be sure to wash the items in hot water and run through 2 complete wash cycles. A great way to make sure the mold has been killed is to line dry the clothing in the sun, where the sun’s ultraviolet rays will not only help to fade the stains but will work to kill the mold as well.
Be aware that you can’t just dry mold-contaminated clothing in the sun and expect everything to be fine after. Be advised that even if you remove the visible stains and kill the mold, there is still a chance that it may cause an allergic reaction or respiratory problems when wearing them, so keep this in mind before deciding whether or not to keep them. Once you’ve finished washing them, there are some steps that can help to get rid of the smell:
- Place the clothing in a Ziploc bag and add baking soda
- Hang them outside on your clothesline in the sunlight or moonlight if it’s nighttime, where they’ll absorb ozone gas from the air which is a deodorizer
- If any of the clothing isn’t machine-washable and can’t be hung outside, bring them to a dry cleaner and ask for their advice on how to remove the smell.
Getting moldy fabric clean is not easy
It’s not easy to clean mold from out of clothes, but if you’re persistent you should find that after following these steps your clothing is whole and free from any traces of mold. There’s a way to avoid the problem altogether in the future:
- Make sure your home doesn’t have excess moisture or humidity by fixing any leaks you might have, turn off the clothes dryer when it’s not in use, and close all doors leading into areas where there is excess moisture.
- Check your clothing before you bring it out and use it after having stored it for a while.
If you have mold growing on your clothing, your home might have a mold problem, if you do…
Contact us – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.