How to Prevent and Remove Mold from Clothes: Effective Tips and Strategies

washing machine with clothes

Mold is a common problem that can affect not only your home and personal belongings but also your clothes. 

Mold on clothes can not only be unsightly, but it can also pose a health risk to you and your family. 

In this article, we’ll explain what mold is, the causes and signs of mold on clothes, and provide expert tips and strategies on how to prevent and remove mold from your clothes.

Let’s begin.

What is mold? 

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in warm and moist environments. It reproduces by releasing spores into the air, which can quickly spread and colonize new areas. Mold comes in various types and colors, such as black, green, white, and brown.

Causes of mold on clothes

Mold can grow on clothes when there is excess moisture and humidity, poor ventilation, or when clothes are stored in damp or poorly ventilated areas. 

Other factors that can contribute to mold growth include high temperatures, lack of sunlight, and infrequent cleaning or maintenance of clothes.

Signs of mold on clothes

The most obvious sign of mold on clothes is the presence of visible spots or stains that may be black, green, white, or brown in color

Additionally, mold can cause a musty odor that may be difficult to remove. Mold on clothes can also cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and skin irritation.

How long does it take for mold to ruin clothes?

The time it takes for mold to ruin clothes can vary depending on several factors, including the type of mold, the material of the clothes, and the environmental conditions in which the clothes are stored. 

In some cases, mold can start to grow on clothes within 24 to 48 hours in warm and humid conditions. However, it can take longer for mold to cause significant damage to clothes, depending on the extent of the mold infestation and how long it has been present.

Mold can cause damage to clothes by discoloring the fabric, causing it to smell musty, and weakening the fibers of the fabric. Over time, this can lead to the deterioration of the clothes, making them unsalvageable.

It’s important to note that even if clothes do not show visible signs of mold growth, they may still be contaminated with mold spores, which can cause allergic reactions or other health issues. 

Therefore, it’s important to take preventive measures to avoid mold growth on clothes, such as storing them in cool and dry areas with good air circulation and inspecting them regularly for signs of mold or moisture.

Should you throw out moldy clothes?

Whether or not to throw out moldy clothes depends on several factors, including the severity of the mold infestation, the type of fabric, and the value of the clothes. 

In some cases, it may be possible to remove mold from clothes using proper cleaning techniques, while in other cases, it may be best to dispose of the clothes to prevent the further spread of mold and potential health risks.

If the mold infestation is mild and limited to a small area of the clothes, it may be possible to remove the mold by washing the clothes in hot water with a disinfectant like bleach or vinegar. 

However, if the mold has spread extensively throughout the fabric, or if the clothes are made of a material that cannot withstand high temperatures or harsh chemicals, it may be difficult or impossible to remove the mold completely.

In addition, if the mold on clothes is the result of contaminated water, sewage backup, or other hazardous conditions, it may not be safe to attempt to remove the mold from the clothes, as they could be contaminated with harmful bacteria or chemicals.

Ultimately, the decision to throw out moldy clothes should be based on an assessment of the severity of the mold infestation, the potential health risks, and the value of the clothes. If in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and dispose of the clothes to prevent the further spread of mold and potential health hazards.

How to prevent mold on clothes 

To prevent mold growth on clothes, it’s important to take some preventive measures such as:

  1. Proper storage and handling: Store your clothes in a cool and dry place with good air circulation. Avoid packing clothes too tightly, and use moisture-absorbing products such as silica gel packets or desiccants.
  2. Use of dehumidifiers and air purifiers: Dehumidifiers and air purifiers can help to reduce excess moisture and improve air quality in your home, which can help prevent mold growth on clothes.
  3. Regular cleaning and maintenance: Regularly clean and inspect your clothes for any signs of mold or moisture. Use a mild detergent and avoid using a lot of fabric softeners, which can trap moisture in clothes.

How to remove mold from clothes

If you already have mold on your clothes, there are several methods to remove it:

Washing with bleach:

  1. Fill a washing machine with hot water and add bleach according to the instructions on the label.
  2. Place the moldy clothes in the washing machine and let them soak for at least an hour.
  3. Run the washing machine through a full cycle on the hottest setting.
  4. Remove the clothes from the washing machine and inspect them for any remaining mold.
  5. If there is still mold present, repeat the process or consider disposing of the clothes if the mold has caused irreparable damage.

Using vinegar and baking soda:

  1. Fill a sink or bathtub with hot water.
  2. Add one cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda to the water.
  3. Submerge the moldy clothes in the water and let them soak for at least an hour.
  4. After soaking, drain the water and rinse the clothes with clean water.
  5. Hang the clothes to dry in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors in the sunlight.
  6. Inspect the clothes for any remaining mold.
  7. If the clothes still have mold after the cleaning process, repeat the cleaning process or dispose of the clothes if they are beyond restoration.

Note: Always wear gloves, a face mask, and protective eyewear when handling moldy clothes and cleaning agents. Follow the instructions on the cleaning products, and the clothes care label and ensure that the area where you’re working is well-ventilated.

Professional cleaning services: If you’re not comfortable cleaning mold on your own, consider hiring a professional cleaning service that specializes in mold removal.


Mold on clothes can be a frustrating and potentially hazardous problem, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it can be prevented and removed. 

By taking preventive measures and using effective cleaning methods, you can keep your clothes mold-free and safe for you and your family.

Want to learn more laundry cleaning tips? Read How to Remove Orange Juice Stains from Clothes: Tips and Techniques.

Thanks for reading.   

-Baking Soda Guy

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay