How to Get Mold Out of Clothes and Other Fabrics

how to get mildew out of clothes
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Lara604

Damp clothing or fabrics can easily become moldy if they don’t get dried on time, and removing mold from fabric can be quite a tricky pursuit. We’ll look at how to get mold out of clothes using some natural and inexpensive home remedies. 

Forgetting a load of laundry in the washer, leaving a wet towel in a heap on the floor, or failing to remove sweaty gear from your gym bag are just a few examples of how mold and mildew can start to develop on clothes and fabrics.

Mold is not only unattractive, it can be tough to get rid of, and bad for your health. If you discover mold on your clothes, you should remove it as soon as possible. You don’t need any aggressive, artificial means for this – simple home remedies usually help.

Identifying Mold and Mildew

how to get mold out of fabric
Household mold on windowsills and in bathrooms shows up in the same patterns as it does on fabrics. Look for clusters of black. (Photo: CC0 Public DOmain / Flickr - Toshiyuki IMAI)

You can often detect the presence of mold or mildew due to a musty and lingering smell on your clothes, bedsheets and towels, however, that’s not the only way to identify it. 

  • Stains: often a black and green speckled pattern, but can also be red and orange depending on a variety of different factors.
  • Skin Rash: especially for those with sensitive skin, if mildew is present on your clothes, your skin will have a negative reaction when you put them on.
  • Allergic Reaction: in some cases, itchy eyes, a runny nose or sneezing can occur when exposed to moldy fabrics.

Once you’ve identified mold or mildew on fabric, remove it immediately to avoid further development.

How to Get Mold Out of Clothes and Fabrics

It’s best to separate your mildew-infected clothing from your other laundry to prevent the spread, then use the following tips to help get mold out of clothes and towels.


  • Scrub the mold with an old toothbrush and some household soap.
  • Pre-soaking will help remove mold from fabric. Combine water and a cup of vinegar to a bucket, add the infected clothing, and let it soak for at least an hour. You can also use buttermilk for the same purpose!
  • Tea tree oil (available on Amazon**) or clove oil (available on Amazon**) can help remove mold and fungus from clothes and towels. Add 1 tsp. of oil with 1 cup of hot water to a spray bottle, and shake to combine. Spray the affected clothing inside out and let soak for 10 minutes before washing. The leftover oil/water mixture can be added to your washing machine or bucket for hand washing.

Washing Instructions

  • You can wash your clothes by hand or in the washing machine using hot water. Higher temperatures can better remove bacteria and allergens along with killing mold spores.
  • To thoroughly get the mold out of your clothes, add a mold-killing solution to your washing machine: one to two cups of vinegar per cycle along with normal detergent will kill moldy smells and brighten white fabrics. This works especially well for towels.
  • If the smell remains after washing, soak the infected fabrics in vinegar or baking soda for another 20 minutes before washing them again.


  • Hang clothes and towels in the sun to dry – it has a natural bleaching effect and helps to kill mold spores in fabric.

Preventing Mold

mold removal from clothes
It’s best to keep on top of your laundry and remove wet clothes from the washer immediately. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - stevepb)

Removing mold from fabric is one thing, but knowing how to prevent it is more effective in the long run. There are a few steps you can take to help prevent mold and mildew on your clothes and fabrics in the first place.

Important Information regarding Health-related Topics.

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