How do you clean mildew on fabric cushions?

Written by amanda flanigan Google
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How do you clean mildew on fabric cushions?
Fabric cushions are a common decorating item. (sofa and cushions image by Gina Smith from

Mildew---a fungus---is a form of mould that thrives on damp surfaces in areas with high humidity that are void of sunlight. Mildew, typically black or white in colour, can grow on a variety of surfaces, including fabric cushions. Mildew will stain the cushions and give off an unpleasant musty odour. But if you act quickly, you can remove the mildew from a fabric cushion before the stain sets in.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Towel
  • White vinegar

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  1. 1

    Remove the fabric cushions from the furniture. Take the cushions outside and dust off as much mildew as possible from the surface.

  2. 2

    Mix 1/2 cup of borax with 2 cups of hot water until the borax is thoroughly dissolved into the water. Alternatively, mix equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.

  3. 3

    Saturate a sponge in the mixture. Scrub the mildew on the fabric cushions until it is no longer visible.

  4. 4

    Dampen a clean cloth in cool water. Rinse the fabric cushion by wiping with the cloth.

  5. 5

    Blot the cushion with a dry towel to absorb excess liquid. Allow the fabric cushion to air-dry out of direct sunlight.

Tips and warnings

  • Test the mildew removal method on an inconspicuous area of the fabric cushion. If damage or discolouration occurs, discontinue use.
  • An alternative cleaning method---if the fabric cover can be removed from the cushion---is to launder it as you normally would, except add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash.

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