Mildew is live, growing organism that can attach to fabrics leaving stains and damage. The fungi can be easily identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of the fabric. If you see black or green spots, that is mold. This type of fungus can appear almost "fuzzy" or slimy. The odor of mold or mildew is pungent and often putrid. Even if you can't see any spots or growth, if the odor is present there are spores growing and treatment is necessary
Which ever type of fungus growth you see or smell, both can eat away at natural fibers, damaging and weakening the fabric, and both leave stains on all types of fabric.
How to Remove Mold And Mildew Stains And Odor From Washable Clothes
To remove mold or mildew from machine washable clothes, first take the affected items outdoors to shake or brush away the spores. Remove as much of the powdery substance as possible being sure to brush both sides of the fabric. You should go outdoors to prevent spreading the spores inside your home where they can continue to grow. Spores can also cause allergic reactions and breathing problems like asthma.
After brushing, each stained spot should be pretreated with a bit of heavy duty liquid detergent (Tide or Persil are rated as the best brands and contain the enzymes to break down the stains). Allow the detergent to work for at least 15 minutes. Then wash the stained items in the hottest water recommended on the care label for the type of fabric.
If stains remain after disinfecting the clothes or linens, oxygen bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) can be used on both white and colored fabrics off all types to remove the stains.
NOTE: Oxygen bleach will not disinfect laundry.
To use oxygen bleach, follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours or overnight. Check the stain. If it is gone, wash as usual. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the mold and mildew stain but it should come out.
If you have a front load washer and your clothes have developed a moldy odor, your washer needs a complete cleaning. The mold growth is often behind the rubber door seals or within the inner washer drum. Learn how to clean the washer correctly.
How To Remove Mold And Mildew Stains And Odor From Dry Clean Only Clothes
Fabrics that are labeled as dry clean only should be brushed outdoors using a soft bristle brush. If the fabric is napped like velvet or fake fur, brush gently in the direction the surface should lie.
Then, place in a cotton or plastic bag (to prevent spreading the spores) and immediately take the garment to a professional dry cleaner. Point out and identify the stain to your cleaner.
If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat any visible stains with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
How To Remove Mold And Mildew Stains And Odor From Carpet
If the rug or carpet is washable, follow the instructions above.
If you have wall to wall carpet with extensive mildew or mold growth, the best solution is to remove the carpet and the padding from the area. At that point, the moisture problem that caused the infestation should be resolved.
However, if there is only a small are of stain, you can attempt to stop the growth and remove the stains. Always wear protective breathing gear before beginning this project. The carpet should be pulled up around the affected area and any wet or mildewed padding removed. The carpet and floor should be dried out completely by using a fan and dehumidifier for at least forty-eight hours.
Next, spray the carpet with anti-mold spray. Follow the directions on the product.
Make sure to completely soak the carpet on both the front and back. Since most anti-mold sprays should not be rinsed away, allow to dry. Spray the flooring with anti-mold spray as well. Soap and water will not kill the spores so you must use an anti-mold product.
Allow to dry completely. If there are dark stains, use a solution of oxygen bleach and water to treat the discoloration on the surface of the carpet. Follow package directions and repeat until the stains are gone. This may take a day or so.
Be certain that everything is completely dry. Keeping a fan going is important. Now, replace the carpet padding and the carpet can now be re-installed.
How To Remove Mold And Mildew Stains And Odor From Upholstery
The same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for carpet can be used for upholstered furniture. If the mold is extensive, get rid of the fabric. You may be able to save the wooden or metal frame of the piece.
If the upholstery is silk or vintage, consult a cleaning professional.