How to Treat Mildew on Clothing

Written by april dowling
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How to Treat Mildew on Clothing
Drying wet garments in the sun prevents mildew. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Storing damp or wet clothing articles in dark areas, such as inside a hamper, causes the garments to develop mildew. Mildew is a thin mould growth that forms and feeds on soiled, moist fabrics. All fabric materials are susceptible to mildew infestation except synthetic fibres, which resist mould growth. Sour or musty scents and powdery spores on a garment are indications of mildew. Besides its unpleasant odour and appearance, mildew literally eats fabrics until clothes deteriorate. Immediately treat mildew on clothing using specific techniques.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Whiskbroom
  • Washing machine
  • 1/4 cup liquid or powder laundry soap
  • 1/4 cup chlorine or oxygen bleach

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Take the mildew-infested garment outdoors and drape it over a fence or chair. Using a whiskbroom, brush the garment to dislodge loose mildew.

  2. 2

    Launder the affected garment in your washing machine with 1/4 cup of liquid or powder laundry soap and the hottest water adequate for the fabric. Follow the clothing's care label instructions.

  3. 3

    Lay the garment outdoors to air-dry in the sun.

  4. 4

    Examine the garment for mildew. If powdery stains or musty odours persist, launder the affected garment in your clothes washer with 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach and the hottest water adequate for the fabric. If the affected garment contains any colour, substitute oxygen bleach for chlorine bleach. Follow the clothing's care label instructions.

  5. 5

    Lay the garment outdoors to air-dry in the sun.

Tips and warnings

  • If you cannot treat the garment outdoors, lay the clothing on a newspaper while brushing the fabric.
  • Chlorine bleach can damage silk, wool and coloured fabrics.
  • Heat from clothes dryers can make mildew stains permanent.

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