How to Remove Mildew from Clothes and Furniture

Posted on: October 30, 2014 | By: Michael T. | mildew, san francisco

Mildew removal from clothes San Francisco

mildewMildew can be quite a destructive blight, ruining tile, fabric, paper, wood, painted surfaces and many other materials. It secretes an enzyme that decomposes and consumes organic matter, and must be removed as soon as possible before it spreads.

Excess moisture is a major cause of mildew, so the first step would be to run an air conditioner or dehumidifier to cut down on moisture and humidity indoors. Pay attention to this especially with basements, crawl spaces, and small areas such as bathrooms or closets.

Saving Clothes and Other Fabrics

Have you had clothes, drapes, blankets or other fabric items, perhaps stored in a damp basement, ruined by mold or mildew? It doesn’t have to be that way. If it’s washable fabric, wash it, rinse it and let it dry in sunlight.

For more stubborn mildew, a solution with water and bleach (2 tablespoons bleach and 1 quart warm water) can be used, but only on white fabrics. Let them soak at least 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water and dry. For color fabrics, try soaking them in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water for 2 hours, then wash and dry. A paste of lemon juice and salt can work also (just test for color fastness first).

For upholstered items, bring them outside if possible, and then use a stiff brush to remove any loose mold spores. Use a vacuum cleaner to get out the rest of the spores, and then apply a diluted fabric detergent over the stains with a sponge. Blot the fabric dry with towels, and allow to dry completely.

For leather, professional leather cleaning is best, but to get started on cleaning it right away, brush off the mold spores as much as possible, then dip a soft cloth in a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part water and wipe the leather.

Rescuing Wood

One of the most upsetting things about a flooded basement or home is the damage to expensive, not easily replaceable items such as furniture. If you have nice wood furniture that has mildew growth on it, all is not lost! Just move the furniture outside (but not in direct sun) and spray it with cool water from a spray bottle. Wipe the loose spores off with a damp cloth. Then, treat the wood with a solution of 1 gallon of water, ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup detergent. Wipe again with plain water then use towels to dry.

Mildew can be a nasty, smelly household problem, but a little ingenuity and hard work can help save your valuables from permanent damage.