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How to get mold & mildew off clothes & shoes

If your clothing or shoes ended up wet or moist and you were not able to tend to them right away, you may have discovered that you have mould and mildew stains on them. As long as the mould or mildew hasn't been left on long enough to have eaten through the material on your clothing or shoes, there's hope for restoring your shoes and garments to their pre-stained condition. Use some natural resources and a few simple supplies found in your home to remove mould and mildew from your clothing and shoes.

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  1. Brush mould and mildew off your clothing with a clean, stiff-bristled paintbrush. Do so outside or over a garbage can so mould and mildew don't land on the floor and grow elsewhere in your home.

  2. Lay your clothing out in the sun, allowing it to air out for an hour or so. The sun helps to bleach the mould and mildew spots, and may be all that's needed to finish removing them.

  3. Wash or dry-clean your clothing articles according to the directions on the care label. Set clothing out in the sun again to allow them to dry.

  4. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup table salt in a bowl. Spread the lemon juice and salt mixture onto remaining mould and mildew stains, and rub the mixture into the stain by rubbing the fabric together. Allow the garments to sit in the sun as the mixture soaks into the fabric. Check your garments every 15 minutes for progress.

  5. Once the mould and mildew stains are gone, rinse clothing well with water, then wash according to the label instructions.

  6. Combine one part water and one part rubbing alcohol in a bowl.

  7. Wipe the surface of leather shoes with the rubbing alcohol solution and allow them to air-dry outdoors or near an open window. If your shoes are made of cloth or canvas, follow the previous directions for removing mould and mildew from clothing.

  8. Rub some saddle soap onto a wet cleaning cloth to create thick suds. Wash the mould- and mildew-stained area, working the suds into the leather.

  9. Wipe the suds, mould and mildew away from the shoes using a clean, damp cloth.

  10. Set shoes in an airy location until completely dry.

  11. Rub your clean leather shoes with leather balm to restore moisture and to add a protective layer to the shoes.

  12. Tip

    Always store clothing and shoes in a clean, dry location so mould and mildew don't have the chance to develop.


    Smelly mildew can develop on the inside of shoes as well. Use sprays made for deodorising the inside of shoes to kill the mildew and the odour.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Washing powder
  • Measuring cups
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Saddle soap
  • Clean cloths
  • Leather balm

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.

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