How to get mould stains out of fabric

Breaking the mould: Killing mould spores is relatively easy, but getting the stains out can be tricky.
Breaking the mould: Killing mould spores is relatively easy, but getting the stains out can be tricky.

How frustrating is it when you pull out your summer wardrobe or outdoor cushion covers to discover patches of mould? Not only is it unsightly, but mould can also cause a range of allergic reactions.

Unfortunately, drying your clothes in the sun will kill mould spores, but it won't help with the stains. Before you delegate that once-lovely fabric to the rag pile however, here are a few stain-removal methods to try. Always check the label first as delicate fabrics can easily be damaged.

Adding bleach to your wash, or soaking in bleach is one option, but if you're keen to avoid chemicals, mouldcleaningaustralia.com.au reocmmends vinegar and baking soda as a mould stain remover and as a way to get rid of a mildew smell.

It said to mix two parts baking soda to one part of white vinegar, then add to a bucket of hot water to soak the clothes before washing them.

Or you can add the vinegar/ baking soda mix to the washing machine once it has filled with water before the first wash cycle.

Borax is another potent mould killer that you can add to a load of washing.

While bleach will probably work, it is quite rough on your clothes; it can cause fading and also weakens the structure of the fabric. Never mix vinegar and bleach as this combination can release a dangerous gas.

In online chats about mould removal, several people recommended products that contain oxyaction - the fabric was soaked in it overnight and then washed as normal.

Whatever method you choose, the following wash cycle should be the hottest your machine offers - but again check the fabric label first. You could also give the stain a bit of a scrub with a toothbrush first before soaking.

Prevention is better than the cure:

  • Don't put wet (or sweaty) clothes in the laundry basket. If you can't wash them straight away, hang them somewhere where they can dry out.
  • Hang out washed clothes immediately.
  • Make sure your clothes drier is in a properly ventilated room otherwise the moisture from the drying clothes will be blown out into your home.
  • If you're finding your clothes or linen are becoming mouldy in your cupboards, you may need to get a professional in to inspect for damp.