How to clean moldy fabric upholstery

Finding mould spots on your fabric upholstery is disheartening. Not only are the green, brown or black spots unsightly, the mould can pose a health risk to yourself and your family. You don't have to toss out your sofa or have your favourite chair reupholstered because of mould. Clean up mouldy upholstery with the right products and methods to ensure the mould is gone without damaging the fabric in the process.

Vacuum the upholstery with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Discard the bag or contents of the canister outdoors promptly after vacuuming. This will reduce the number of mould spores released into your home.

Mix 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol into a large bowl. Dip a rag into the mixture and wring it out well.

Scrub the mouldy spots with the alcohol-moistened rag until no more mould is coming off. Switch to a clean part of the rag and use more alcohol solution as necessary.

Rinse the upholstery with a clean, damp sponge. Let the upholstery air dry completely. If possible, let the fabric dry outdoors in the sun. The sun is a natural mould inhibitor.

Mix together 2 cups of hot water and 1/2 cup of borax if mould still remains on the upholstery. Moisten a sponge with the solution and rub it into the mould spots. Let it sit for several hours until the mould spot are gone. Rinse the fabric well with a clean, damp sponge and let the upholstery air dry.

Spray a disinfectant spray on the fabric once all of the mould spots are gone. This will kill any mould spores that may be lingering in the padding of the upholstery.


Always test the product you are using on an inconspicuous spot of the upholstery first to check for any colour changes or damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Large bowl
  • Rags
  • Sponge
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • Disinfectant spray
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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.