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How do I get mold off of cloth couches?

By Dr. Laundry December 1, 2015

Q How do I get mold off of cloth couches? A lot of mold?   A: Can you tell me a little bit more about the furniture?  If it is outdoor furniture covered with fabric that is colorfast to bleach (Sunbrella is one example) then there’s actually a good chance you can clean the mold from the cushions/couch.  However, if the mold is on indoor furniture, that makes it much more difficult to deal with.  That’s because the fabrics used for indoor upholstery are much less likely to be colorfast to sodium hypochlorite, the bleach active in Clorox Regular-Bleach that is so effective at removing mold and mildew.  If the mold is on indoor furniture, then getting the couch re-upholstered with a new fabric may be necessary.  For mold on outdoor furniture, as long as the fabric is safe for bleach, you can follow the instructions from Sunbrella (http://www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/upholstery.php):   “Heavy cleaning for stubborn stains and mildew–Sunbrella fabric does not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. To clean mildew, or other stubborn stains:  
  1. Prepare a solution of 8 ounces (1 cup) of bleach and 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of mild soap per gallon of clean water.
  2. Spray on entire area and allow to soak into the fabric for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove stain with a sponge, clean towel or very soft bristle brush.
  4. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  5. Allow fabric to air dry.
  6. If stain and/or mildew are severe, bleach quantities may be increased.”
  I want to point out that I actually disagree with step #6, above–I know some mildew stains can be very difficult to remove, and it is tempting to work with a stronger bleach solution to speed things up, but it really is better to repeat a treatment rather than work with a too strong bleach solution!   If you can send additional information and some pictures, then I might be able to provide more suggestions.  Thanks for writing, and let me know if I can be of any additional help.   –Dr. Laundry