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Does Dry Cleaning Get Rid of Mold & Mildew? (Explained)

Our clothing defines us and our taste in fashion, which makes it a very important aspect in most people’s lives. Since they tend to take their clothing and fashion seriously, they have to maintain proper hygiene of their clothing in order to keep them in top shape. 

Mold and mildew are some of the few things that threaten the health of fabric – and this article explored if you can deal with them through dry cleaning.  

Dry cleaning to get rid of mold & mildew

Dry cleaning can get rid of mold and mildew stains at home without relying on professional help. Get rid of mold and mildew easily from clothes of cotton, linen or polyesters. However, clothing made of wool, leather, rayon, silk and suede will require professional dry cleaning to remove the stains.

Mold and mildew are variants of fungus that grows on different surfaces and forms several patches across the affected surface. Their growth is identified by their characteristic fibrous filaments that grow from the affected surface. 

The conditions required for mold and mildew growth on clothes are for them to remain wet and in a warm environment for more than 24 hours.

Moisture is the key factor in mold growth and thus, clothing left undried and out of sunlight after washing would encourage mold growth. Clothes kept in sunlight immediately after washing cuts the chances of potential mold growth.

Another situation that causes mold growth is if your clothes get damp after wearing them and then are not washed quickly or are left in the dark. 

Having high humidity in the air of your home would significantly affect the chances of mold growth on your clothes if they are kept away close together. Poor ventilation would trap heat and humidity which would provide suitable conditions for mold growth.

Since mold and mildew stains on clothes are a common problem, it is essential for you to address it as soon as possible because it becomes increasingly difficult to remove mold from clothes if it grows larger.

Molds eat away organic material, so if it is on fabric such as cotton – the damage done will be increasingly greater and would do irreparable damage to the clothes as well as leave a bad stench. 

But the good news is you can easily remove mold and mildew stains from your clothes at home by dry cleaning. 

Clothes made of natural fabrics – such as linen, cotton or polyesters are easy to treat mold and mildew but it gets complicated to treat leather, wool, silk or rayon at home and instead requires professional dry cleaning.

Although warmth is a necessary factor in mold growth, too much of it can cause them to dry off and make it easier to remove. 

Chemicals used in dry cleaning themselves don’t remove mold from your clothes, but the heat helps weaken the mold patches and makes it easier to remove them. 

Many dry cleaners use liquid carbon dioxide in the cleaning process which is very effective in removing mold from clothes.

However, homemade methods for removing mold involves applying lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt on the mold affected surface and leaving them in sunlight. Once the mold has been weakened, dry cleaning them would completely get rid of the mold.

Another creative way to get rid of mold from clothes is to use a vacuum pump called HEPA vacuum. They are exceptionally good at removing tiny particles such as mold particles from clothes. 

Use the vacuum pump across the mold affected area to remove the mold particles off the surface and then finish it off by dry cleaning it.

What terminates mold and mildew instantly from clothes?

There are several methods and items that you can use that instantly gets rid of mold and mildew from your clothes. Those methods have been listed below:

Using Vinegar:

The acidic content of vinegar makes it an excellent cleaning agent with an effectiveness upto 82% for getting rid of all sorts of mold. Applying a cup or two of white vinegar into the mold affected area and washing them would effectively remove the mold stains.

Using Bleach:

Bleach is known for its excellent cleaning capabilities across different types of clothes and fabrics. 

Besides cleaning, it can also be effective in removing mold from the clothes – you can use a cup of bleach into the washing machine and wash the mold affected clothes separately. 

However, one problem with this method is that many clothes have bleach warning and may decolorize brightly colored fabric.

Using Borax:

Borax is a popular cleaning agent that is found across almost all households in the US. Using half a cup of borax dissolved in hot water and washing your mold affected clothes with it can help remove the mold stains.

Using specialized detergent:

Sometimes a change in detergent you use can make a significant difference in keeping mold off your clothes. Detergents such as Clorox or Oxiclean have chemicals in them that not only wash your clothes well but also remove mold stains from your clothes.

Using Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide:

If you have some baking soda and hydrogen peroxide lying around in the kitchen, you can form a saturated mixture with them and apply it on the mold affected areas to get the stains off your clothes.

Using Lemon Juice:

The simplest homemade remedy to mold stain is to soak the mold patches with lemon juice and sprinkle salt on them. Leave them to dry in the sun and wash the clothes as usual.

Should I dry clean my clothes after mold removal?

You need to make sure that the mold is completely removed from your clothes because they might induce allergic reactions if you inhale mold spore remains from your clothes. Wearing mold affected clothes can also cause skin irritations such as rashes and itchiness. 

Wearing mold affected clothes would also release mold spores into the air – making your house have more mold growth as well as put your health and air quality at risk. 

Therefore, it is necessary for you to dry clean your clothes immediately after mold removal to make sure that no remnants of mold spores or stains remain on your clothes.

If the mold removal was a complete success, then there wouldn’t be any mold spores on your clothes, but if some remain then there’s a chance they’ll grow again – therefore you should dry clean them.

How do you stop mold from growing on clothes?

The best remedy to mold growth is to prevent its growth in the first place, and some precautions can help you stop mold from growing on your clothes. Below are some of the methods you can use to stop mold growth:

Maintain Hygiene:

Not washing your clothes regularly makes it an excellent host for mold growth due to the dampness from sweat. Keeping your clothes clean can help reduce much of the mold growth.

Store clothes at a dry place:

Moisture is a driving factor in mold growth, therefore if you can keep your closet dry then you can ensure the prevention of mold growth on your cloth.

Allow proper ventilation:

Keeping your clothes cramped together would not only trap heat but also humidity – which would provide the perfect conditions for mold growth. Keeping your clothes well ventilated would help prevent mold growth due to trapped humidity.

Treat with vinegar spray:

Since vinegar is effective at removing mold, you can treat the interior of your closet with vinegar spray made from a mixture of water and vinegar. This will prevent growth of existing mold and stop new mold growth.

Don’t keep clothes in plastic bags:

Plastics are the worst for ventilation as they trap humidity and heat. Keeping your clothes in plastic sealed bags would increase chances of mold growth. It is best if you keep your clothes in bags that provide sufficient ventilation.

Leave Desiccants in your closet:

Desiccants are made of calcium chloride which absorbs moisture from the air. So if you could leave some packs of silica gel on the corners of your closet, it would ensure that the moisture trapped in the closet gets absorbed by them and not by the clothes.

Exposure to light:

Sunlight is one of the sources of radiation that can not only keep your clothes dry but also inhibit mold growth. If you can’t expose clothes to sunlight, leave them near light bulbs for a few hours to burn off the mold.

Final Thoughts

Mold and mildew stains can be removed using dry cleaning at home. You can quickly get rid of mold and mildew from cotton, linen, or polyester clothing. However, professional dry cleaning will be necessary to remove the stains from clothes made of wool, leather, rayon, silk, and suede.