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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Mold Stains

By Dr. Laundry August 1, 2011

Q:  Can mold stains be removed?

A:  Yes, but moldy textiles need to be treated right away to help keep the problem from getting worse.  Are your items bleachable?  If you are not sure you can do a quick bleachability test: add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup water.  Apply a drop of this solution to a hidden part of the colored item (hems, cuffs, and inside seams work well).  Wait 1 minute, then blot dry.  No color change means the item can be safely bleached.  For these items, the following approaches should work:

  • 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 per gallon of cool water and soak for 5-10 minutes).  Then wash in hot water with detergent and liquid bleach

For non-bleachable colors or non-bleachable fabrics (like wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex) it’s problematic to remove mold since the best mold and mildew killers are products with sodium hypochlorite.  Even so, you can try the following:

Readers – how do you handle mold stains on your clothing?