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Thread: mold / mildew in clothing

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Thumbs up mold / mildew in clothing

    H was in the closet yesterday and discovered his sleeping bag had MOLD growing on the outside cover - and probably inside, too. Upon further investigation, his bomber jacket also has mold, as well as another coat, two bags... who the heck knows what else. We have battled mold the entire time we have lived here and have probably taken years off our lives breathing in this stuff.

    Anyway, is it possible to get the mold out of the jackets? I'm sure the washing machine alone won't kill it. I'm pretty sure they are made of synthetic materials, not wool or leather or anything like that. I do have a couple of wool jackets hanging in there as well that I think I am just going to toss. I don't trust that there's no mold on them, but I haven't taken them out yet to examine.

    I really don't want to throw out the bomber jacket because he loves the thing. The mold is all over the front. Not sure if it's inside. Would a dry cleaner be able to get it out? It's not black mold; maybe it's just mildew, but either way it is disgustingly unhealthy and ruining my belongings.

    Also, it seems that it's only these items of synthetic material, not the cotton, wool, cardboard. Or am I deluding myself, and just because I can't easily see it doesn't mean it's not there? Like I said, I didn't look too closely yet at everything.

    Did I mention I HATE mold? I can't wait to move...

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    out in the sticks by Abilene, KS
    I'd start with the dry cleaners and see what they say. A quick google search said to deal with it immediately - clothes dried slowly are more likely to stain. :o(
    Then it listed a bunch of scary chemicals you could spray on the clothes.

    I'd be almost MORE nervous about what's causing the problem. Do you live in a really humid area or is there a leak in the closet ceiling? Air circulation, light, dehumidifer or those little tubs of drying agents, will help.

    My lame blog:
    Eco Friendly Tightwaddery and the Fine Art of Substitution

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Recently tried to clean a pile of very mildew clothes (long story). After research, washing with vinegar was one of the most common methods. I found it took several washings and I'd let them soak with vinegar for a couple of hours.

    Also added 20 mule team borax. Sometimes baking soda. Air dried for days. Ended up by using some of that spray refresher that is popular now...and I've just lost the name.

    Put the cleaned jackets and clothes back in storage for the person who owns them. I think they will be ok but it is a LONG process. I didn't check into dry cleaners as these were all washable clothes.

  4. #4
    Talula. Whew! When I first read this thread topic I thought, "oh no, those dreaded black mold/mildew spots". I'm not much of a proponent of dry-cleaners, but due to the heat and chemicals used in the cleaning process, I strongly recommend dry-cleaning all affected items.

    Is there a lot of moisture in your home? Do you have a fresh-air leak or spot where moisture is coming in? Try leaving the doors of the closet ajar to allow for air circulation.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Thanks for the responses!

    Marianne, thankfully there are no leaks, but I do live in a humid area, and I think there are just mold problems with these apartments. I have the drying agents, but they don't seem very effective. I didn't have any in that closet because there's not much space in there, and before now I hadn't had a problem.

    Rose, glad to hear your clothes turned out ok. I was hoping someone would say that. I think these are washable jackets, but I'm just not sure washing will remove the mold, especially since it's a crummy washer anyway. Also, I unfortunately don't have anywhere to air dry them. I guess I could try the vinegar / washing thing with the jacket that just had a couple of spots, and then dry it in the dryer.

    Mrs. M, I agree, hate to go the dry-cleaning route, but I think I'll give them a call and see what they say. Funny, I thought leaving the closet doors closed was better, to keep the humidity out? It's a small, poorly laid out apartment, bathroom right in the center, so the humidity gets everywhere. Also, I cook a lot which throws more humidity into the air.

  6. #6
    Talula. Couple things to mention. The first being, how about asking the owners/landlords to install more efficient overhead fans in your kitchen/bathroom? That would help immensely, and, IMO, having everything open helps keep dampness at bay. I think where humidity problems begin, is when things are closed up. That's an invite to damp cold air accumulation.

    With dry-cleaning, I like to think the chemicals and heat used would be an efficient way to kill all the spores/bacteria. Please post an update when you can.

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