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Does Sunlight Get Rid of Mold? (Clothes, Wood & More)

Sunlight is one of the best ways you can dry your clothes. It is natural, readily available, and does not require additional input such as electricity.  You, therefore, do not need to worry about paying bills.

Moreover, myriads of materials are best to dry in sun rays rather than on an artificial dryer.

Nevertheless, is sunlight effective in removing molds from clothes? It is essential to understand since getting rid of mold from fabric is necessary. So stay with us for detailed information.

Does sunlight get rid of mold?

Sunlight can get rid of molds effectively. It is why we don’t see mold growth outdoors. Ultraviolet rays of sunlight penetrate the mold cells and destruct their nucleic acid. After an hour or two, the cells lose life. In many cases, sunlight is preferred more compared to artificial heat resources.

Here, we have listed different materials to discuss how efficiently sunlight can remove molds from their surfaces.   

Mold on clothes: 

Sunlight in drying clothes not only gets rid of molds but also odor. However, it may have a bleaching effect that can lead to fading colors or damaging delicate fabric. It is better to avoid drying colorful clothes in the sun.   

Mold on books: 

If you see mold growth on your book covers, place them in the sunlight. Exposure to UV rays can help TERMINATE molds. Again, since sunlight has a bleaching effect, do not keep the books for long. 

Mold on plants: 

Sunlight helps terminate molds from plants. Indoor plants exposed to enough sunlight can keep mold away from growing.  

Nevertheless, if your plant is sensitive to sunlight, you need to remove the plant and put only the pot in direct sunlight.  

Mold on leather: 

It is also not advisable to dry leather using artificial heat. Sunlight is perfect for drying and removing molds. Direct sunlight will help gather vitamin D, which will help shed spores rapidly. 

Mold on furniture: 

No matter what the furniture is made of, you can use sunlight to get rid of molds. Indirect sunlight may not help extensively. Better take out your furniture in direct sun rays for a few hours.  

Mold on plastic:

Mold can grow on plastic surfaces as well. Sunlight can help eliminate molds from plastic. Place them into direct sunlight for several hours and observe no mold traces.

Mold on wood:

Mold can grow on a wood surface without enough sunlight. Place it in direct sunlight to get rid of them. Indirect sunlight may not be that effective. 

Mold on shower curtain: 

Shower curtains are subject to moisture and insufficient sunlight. Indirect sunlight may not be enough to terminate molds. However, for the complete removal of molds take the curtain out in the sunlight.  

Can the sun terminate mold?

We have discussed different types of molds to observe if sunlight can terminate them or not. 

Mold spores:

Mold spores thrive in moisture. They travel through the air, and we are exposed to them every day. Sunlight help treat and reduce the number of mold spores within an hour or two.  

Mold and mildew: 

Mold and mildew grow in a damp environment. A dry surrounding with direct or enough sunlight is required to get rid of them. 

White mold: 

White mold needs moisture and food source to thrive. You can, however, eliminate it by using sunlight. Indirect sunlight can also help in inhibiting mold growth.

Black mold: 

Black mold also finds moisture and a dark environment suitable to grow. Sunlight can terminate black mold as well. You may use a solution such as diluted alcohol first and then leave the object in sunlight.  

Does indirect sunlight terminate mold?

By indirect sunlight, we understand the rays that come through windows or any other openings. Unlike direct sunlight, indirect sunlight is not considerably heated. The Ultraviolet rays may be weaker in indirect sunlight. So it may not terminate molds and mildews effectively.

We observe vast and severe mold development in a place that is dark and exposed to moisture. Again, sites with exposure to sunlight show no to small traces of mold growth.

Indirect sunlight may not be successful as direct sunlight in treating molds. For instance, many of our household items get indirect sunlight through the window. This furniture or object may hinder the growth of mold, mold spores, and mildew massively.

However, if we see a surface with serious mold growth, we need to allow the object to get direct sunlight. That is when we can ensure the complete removal of molds and mildews.

How long does sunlight take to terminate mold?

By now, we know that direct sunlight is the most effective in terminating mold, mildew, and spore development. We do not see mold growth outside because of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Hence, when we see mold on any surface, we need to expose that to direct sunlight.

Sunlight, however, has a bleaching effect on items and materials. With excessive exposure to sun rays, the colors may fade away. Even some materials can get damaged.

So how long should we let things bask in the sun? To be exact, it takes almost an hour or two to terminate most of the molds or mildews. Study shows that Ultraviolet ray-C terminates almost 99.9 percent of the molds in one to two hours. 

Therefore, we should keep the affected items for one to two hours to ensure the complete removal of mold. Hence, we can also avoid sun bleaching.

How does sunlight affect mold?

Mold needs two vital things to thrive. They are food sources and moisture. The absence of sunlight is another substantial cause. Even in moisture if sunlight is present, it can inhibit the growth of mold, mold spores, and mildews.

We know the sun sends Ultraviolet rays in different forms. Most of them can efficiently eliminate mold and mildews. Among them, Ultraviolet ray C seems to be the most effective.

Study shows that it successfully can terminate almost 99.9 percent of the mold development on a surface or in the air.

Sunlight can directly penetrate through the mold cells. Then they damage the nucleic acid of the cells. It results in the termination of the molds within one to two hours. This piece of information is sufficient to understand why molds cannot survive in sunlight. 

Again, heat can also play a role in terminating different types of molds and bacteria.

How to terminate mold with sunshine?

Sun is an excellent source to eliminate and tackle mold growth naturally. Would you like to learn how to terminate mold with sun rays? Then, we suggest reading the process mentioned. 

Wear protection: 

You can get exposed to mold and mildews and trigger health issues. So take protective measures. For that, you can wear a safety mask and gloves. 


You need to perform this process manually. Find a brush or a rag, or a scrubbing sponge. It depends on the surface and the level of damage.  

Again, a handheld UV light sterilization can be handy to detect spots or damaged areas quickly.

Anti-mold solution:

Now with an anti-mold solution, scrub and treat the damaged surface. Some preferred DIY anti-mold solutions are vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach. 


Now let the solution settle for a while. Then thoroughly wash the item.  

Air-dry in the sun:

Finally, take out the item into the sun. Keep it in direct sunlight for an hour or two as the molds lose life within this time frame. Do not let the objects sit in the sun for long hours as it can bleach the surface by fading the colors.  

You can use an alternative way. In this case, you do not need to apply an anti-mold solution but place the item in direct sunlight for one to two hours. It will help too. 

However, if the mold development is excessive, you may use an anti-mold solution. It could help in successful mold removal.  

Will sunlight get rid of the mildew smell?

By now, it is evident that sunlight helps to remove mold, mildew, and spores. It takes an hour or two, to successfully eliminate mold and mildew growth with direct sunlight. Now the question is, can sunlight get rid of the mildew smell?  

Fortunately, it can. Sunlight can effectively remove all kinds of scents and odors. It will terminate all sorts of smells of mildew, mold, mold spores, smoke, urine, food, making fabric or other materials smell neutral.  

Again, sunlight terminates some microbes that cause odor. So you can let any items sit in the sunlight to get rid of bad smells. 

Final Thoughts:

Air drying in the sunlight can help get rid of molds naturally. You can also remove smells using sunlight. The ultraviolet rays enter the mold cells, ruin the nucleic acid & terminate them within 1 to 2 hours. However, you need to be careful about excessive exposure as it could fade the surfaces.