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How to Remove Mould from Clothes

Forgotten loads of laundry or wet towels can cause mould and mildew to build up. You can rescue your garments from the rubbish with these helpful tips on how to remove mould from fabric.


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Have you ever found a damp sock that fell behind the bed? Or a towel that went into the laundry basket without a chance to dry out? Organic fabrics like cotton can be especially prone to mould flourishing because they provide a food source for mould. Luckily, you’ll know how to get rid of mould on clothes by following these tips:

One great way to remove mould from fabric is to hang it out to dry in the sun. Sunlight is a great way to kill mould on clothes and also brighten up your whites. Be careful with coloured or dark clothing, though, as sunlight could make it fade.

Basic Tips for Removing Mildew from Fabric

There’s a number of ways to deal with mould on clothes, as well as mildew. Here are some suggestions to follow:

  • Check the garment care tags first. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before you start cleaning a garment. Pay close attention to the water temperature suggestion because that will to stop you from ruining it. There are plenty of comprehensive guides to wash care cycles online. Check out the info here on Cleanipedia, or follow Omo’s list of laundry symbols.

  • Scrub the mould with a clean toothbrush. Use a pre-treater like the ones listed below and lightly scrub the stain using a clean toothbrush. After this, you will still need to launder the garment as usual to kill the mould spores.

  • Wash at the hottest possible temperature. Your best chance of killing the mould spores is with hot water. Cotton and organic fabrics allow you to wash at a relatively high temperature without causing damage.

Products to Remove Mould from Clothes

These three solutions have proven to be great for removing mould on clothes:


Strong chemical bleaches can be very effective in killing stains from mould and mildew. They can, however, fade colours, so it’s best only to use them on whites and always test the product on a hidden part of the garment like the inside hem. Commercial bleaching detergents save you from mixing your own bleach with water; however, if you do decide to mix your own, make sure you follow the label’s instruction carefully to get the correct concentration.

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Colourfast clothes that are mouldy can be pre-soaked in bleach for a few hours, as long as you follow the label’s instructions. You could also follow the instructions around adding bleach to the washing machine and washing them as normal. Make sure you always wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area away from children when handling bleach.

White Distilled Vinegar

If you follow it up with a quality laundry detergent such as Omo Powder, vinegar can also be great for killing mild cases of mould and removing the mildew smell. Just put one cup of vinegar into a bucket of water and pre-soak for at least one hour. Put the garment into the wash at the hottest temperature possible with your regular Omo detergent. You could also add 250ml into your washing machine and wash as normal – just make sure that you never mix vinegar with anything that contains bleach. This can create a toxic gas.


Apart from being a water-soluble mineral, Borax is a natural mould-killer which can be bought in detergent or powder form. For the powder, just mix it with water as per the label instructions, then add it directly to the washing machine and launder the clothes as normal.

Don’t worry if you find that mouldy sock buried somewhere – just follow these easy tips to remove mould from fabric like socks, and keep them looking and smelling fresh.

  • Empty your washing machine as soon as the cycle finishes.

  • As soon as you take your clothes out of the washer, hang them to dry on the washing line, clothes rack, or near a heater.

  • Alternatively, put them into a clothes dryer, making sure that they’re safe to tumble dry.

  • Don’t let sweaty clothing or swimwear sit around in a pile. Hang them up to dry before you put them in the laundry basket.

Originally published