How to Clean Mold Out of Fabric

Written by kimbry parker
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How to Clean Mold Out of Fabric
Hang mouldy fabric outside in the sun to kill mould. (laundry image by samantha grandy from

Mold can grow on fabric if the fabric is damp or left in a moist environment. Mold is unsightly, can eat away at the fabric, and has adverse health effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that people sensitive to mould can experience nasal problems, wheezing, coughing and a variety of other symptoms. Cleaning mould from fabric is necessary in preserving the integrity of the fabric and ensuring the safety of those exposed to the fabric. Use the proper method for removing mould from machine washable and non-machine washable fabric.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Empty spray bottle
  • Scrub brush
  • Washing machine
  • 118ml. oxygen bleach
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • Washing powder
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
  • 2 tsp tea tree oil, or 20 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Small bowl
  • Rags

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    Machine Washable Fabric

  1. 1

    Fill an empty spray bottle with water. Lightly mist the moulded fabric prior to removal. This will limit the amount of mould spores released into the air during cleaning.

  2. 2

    Brush off as much loose mould as possible. Use a scrub brush to briskly scrub off as much mould as you can. Leave the fabric sitting outside in the sunlight for several hours. The sun is a natural killer of mould.

  3. 3

    Fill the washing machine with the hottest water allowed for the fabric. Add 118ml. oxygen bleach and 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar to the water.

  4. 4

    Place the mouldy fabric into the washer. Allow it to soak in the water for at least one hour.

  5. 5

    Add the appropriate amount of washing powder to the washer with the oxygen bleach. Run a complete wash cycle.

  6. 6

    Lay the fabric in the sun to dry. Do not put the fabric in the dryer until all the mould has been removed. Repeat the process listed above, if necessary, until all the mould has been removed from the fabric.

    Non-Machine Washable Fabric

  1. 1

    Fill an empty spray bottle with water. Lightly mist the moulded areas of the fabric with water.

  2. 2

    Remove as much loose mould as possible. Use a scrub brush or vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove the loose mould. Discard the vacuum bag promptly after removing the mould.

  3. 3

    Fill an empty spray bottle with 2 cups water and 2 tsp tea tree oil. Straight vinegar or grapefruit seed extract will also work as an alternative. Use the vinegar undiluted or mix 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract with 2 cups water.

  4. 4

    Spray the solution directly onto the moulded fabric. Allow it to sit on the fabric. Do not rinse. Whichever product you used (tea tree oil, vinegar, or grapefruit seed) will dissipate within a few hours.

  5. 5

    Use rubbing alcohol if the mould is still on the fabric after about a day or so. Mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup warm water in a bowl. Use a rag moistened with the alcohol solution to scrub the mould from the fabric. Dry the fabric thoroughly with a clean rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves and protective eye and face gear when removing mould. This will help protect you from exposure to mould spores.

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