It’s not uncommon to pull out a sweater or winter coat from the back of a closet or the bottom of a drawer only to realize that it smells musty, moldy, and gross. Almost everyone experiences this situation from time to time. The simple solution is to simply wash the clothes that smell musty and moldy, but that doesn’t always do the trick. Mold can grow in any location where there is not enough ventilation and too much humidity, which is part of the reason clothes that are stored for a while smell of mildew and mold. What this means is that you need to find a way to get rid of the musty, mildew, moldy smell on your clothes.

Timing is Everything

If you notice that some of your clothes smell of mold and mildew, the best thing you can do is locate the area where this is happening. Any area in your home that is high in humidity and low in ventilation is dangerous for clothes. Perhaps you store your winter items in the basement, where the door is closed all summer, the air flow is poor, and the heat is high. This is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and your clothes are not exception to this rule.

Mold becomes more and more difficult to remove from clothing the longer it lasts on clothes. The longer mold is on your clothes, the stronger it becomes. The smell is worse and the mold can break down the fabric of your clothing, ruining it forever. The best thing to do is locate items that smell moldy and mildew and wash them immediately.

remove mold and mildew from clothes

Removing the Mold With Bleach and Vinegar

Using bleach on items contaminated with mold can clean the smell and any stains left by mold. However, not all items can be bleached. Before you start bleaching your mold covered clothes, check the labels on the inside to ensure that they are safe in bleach. If they are not, you can use bleaching agents such as detergent with bleach included. These are safe on most all fabrics and colors. To wash your clothes in bleach, start by filling up your washing machine with water and detergent. Add bleach and your clothing and let them complete a wash cycle. You can also soak your clothes in a mixture of bleach and water for several hours before washing them. Simply add a half cup of bleach for every gallon of water you use to create a good bleaching solution.

Vinegar is a great way to kill mold. It can kill as much as 82 percent of molds. Wash your clothes like normal and include a cup or two of white vinegar in the machine before it starts to wash. Your clothes should smell and look like new when they are finished washing. Additionally, you can soak your clothes in a cup of vinegar and a tub of water for several hours prior to washing.

Don’t Let it Happen Again

To prevent mold from growing on your clothing, do not leave them in damp piles for any length of time. This means you should wash all towels and wet items immediately to prevent mold from growing. Additionally, you should not leave your clothes in the washing machine. Instead, place them in the dryer immediately, or hang them up to dry as soon as they are done washing. If you don’t have time to wash your wet laundry immediately, hang all wet or sweaty items up somewhere that will allow them to thoroughly dry as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Lastly, wet clothing adds humidity to the air, which can cause mold growth not only on the clothes, but other places in your home as well.

Mold on clothes is a common problem that the Moldbusters team members see in NYC homes. It’s direcltly related to the level of humidity in an appartment, which is why they always advise their clients to dry or wash the wet clothes immediately, and to pay attention to the humidity levels and to the ventilation in their closets.

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