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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Mold from Clothes

By Dr. Laundry March 9, 2010

Q. I have some clothes that were wet when I put them into the hamper. I expected to wash them right away, but didn’t get around to it. Now they are moldy. How much Clorox do I have to add to the wash load to kill the mold?

A. Moldy cloths need to be treated right away to help keep the problem from getting worse. I assume all the items are bleachable. If you’re not sure, I recommend consumers do the quick Bleachability Test (2 tspn Clorox® Regular-Bleach in 1/4 cup water; apply a drop on a hidden colored area like inside seam, hemline or cuff; wait 1 minute and then blot with towel);. No color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item. Any color change could also show you the amount of change in color that likely will occur if you proceed with the liquid bleach usage. You can see a demo on my blog (http://www.drlaundryblog.com) in the video Laundry 101.

Here are a couple of approaches that should work:


  • At a minimum I would wash immediately in hot water using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

  • If the problem is bad, consider doing a Clorox® Regular-Bleach soak (1/4 cup liquid bleach/gallon of cool water; soak 5-10 minutes), then wash in hot water with detergent and liquid bleach.