How to remove mildew stain?

How to remove mould and mildew from any surface

3. While the brush is fizzing, scrub along the grout line with a brisk, up and down motion.

4. Repeat if necessary, although be aware that some darker mildew staining may take up to two weeks to disappear.

5. Spray lightly with a mixture of 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1L water and leave to dry completely. This will help prevent the mould from returning.

There are plenty of natural ways to remove mould in your bathroom. Image: iStock

How to remove mould and mildew from wood

Walls and ceilings

1. Mix up a solution of 3 drops Oil of Cloves, 1/2 cup vinegar and 5 cups water.

2. Get a clean broom, put the leg of a pair of stockings over the head and dip it into your solution.

3. Use broad, sweeping strokes across the mouldy area to remove the mould.

4. Allow to dry and then repeat. Any remaining light staining from mould or mildew will recede in a couple of weeks.

5. Every other month, spray the walls and ceiling with a mixture of 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1L water and leave to dry completely. This will help prevent mould returning.

Outdoor furniture

1. Mix up a solution of 3 drops Oil of Cloves, 1/2 cup vinegar and 5 cups water.

2. Wipe the furniture down with your solution, using a stiff brush to loosen heavy areas of mould.

4. Allow to dry and then repeat. Any remaining light staining from mould or mildew will recede in a couple of weeks.

5. Every other month, spray your wooden outdoor furniture with a mixture of 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1L water and leave to dry completely. This will help prevent mould returning.

How to fix mouldy leather goods

Portable leather items such as handbags, boxing gloves, belts and shoes

1. Add 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1/2 cup coconut or baby oil.

2. Wipe the mouldy areas with the solution, rubbing firmly in a circular motion.

3. Leave the oil to soak into the leather. Repeat if necessary, although allow up to two weeks for stains to disappear.

4. Use this solution regularly to prevent mould and remember to store your leather goods in a light, airy place.

Non-portable leather items such as furniture

1. Add 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1/2 cup vinegar.

2. Wipe the mouldy areas with the solution, rubbing firmly in a circular motion. Allow to dry.

3. Repeat if necessary, although allow up to two weeks for stains to disappear.

4. Rub your furniture with a solution of 3 drops Oil of Cloves in 1/2 cup coconut or baby oil regularly to prevent mould. Remember to thoroughly wipe up any food or drink spills off leather furniture immediately.

We’ve all seen black gunk in the corners of the shower or those white, powdery spots that coat cardboard boxes stashed in a damp basement. They’re mold and mildew, types of fungus that feed off of fabric, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, wood, or any organic surface exposed to excessive water, poor ventilation, and no direct sunlight.

A small amount generally won’t make you sick, but if you don’t stop it in its tracks, the mold will spread. “It can ruin household valuables and even trigger an allergic reaction,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. Luckily, we’ve got tips to help you prevent mildew and conquer it when it does show up.

How to Prevent Mildew

  • Add a dehumidifier to your home. It’s best to keep indoor humidity levels between 30-50% to stop build-up. Check out our recommendations.
  • Avoid storing linens, books, or furniture in your basement or attic if they’re known to get damp.
  • Always open the bathroom door after showering to allow moisture out.
  • Seal bathroom grout lines every year if you have tiling. This will help waterproof your tub.

Keystone Energy Star 50-Pint Portable Dehumidifier $175.00

Too late? Here’s how to tackle mildew in a few common places and the supplies you’ll need to do it.

What You’ll Need

Clorox Splash-Less Bleach $19.47 Rubber Cleaning Gloves $9.99 Lysol Disinfectant Spray $10.77 OXO All Purpose Scrub Brush $6.51

Shower Curtain

Stepping into the bathtub and noticing that your shower curtain is dotted with mildew can make your skin crawl. But good news: Even if you use a plastic liner or washable plastic shower curtain, you can get it clean in your washing machine.

Wash a plastic curtain on the highest water level with regular amount of detergent, and add two to three bath towels for extra cleaning agitation. Then, hang to dry or put into the dryer on low heat or air only.

If your shower curtain is fabric or decorative, it’s best to wash it following the instructions on its care label. Or, to quickly freshen it, pop it into the dryer on the air dry or fluff setting with a fabric softener sheet.

Bathroom Grout

TurnervisualGetty Images

To clean yucky grout, put on rubber gloves and eye protection. Mix 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon water. Use a stiff brush to apply to one small area at a time. Be careful not to let the liquid spatter onto surrounding surfaces. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub and rinse.


That means gym clothes or that wet towel you left in the corner of your room. First, take it outside, brush off the mildew spores (a stiff brush works best) and sun dry the item for about three hours. Then machine-wash whites with chlorine bleach or pre-soak colored fabrics for 30 minutes in liquid non-chlorine bleach. Rinse and launder. This method also works on plastic shower curtains and liners, just skip the first step and wash in warm water using the gentle cycle.

Wood Surfaces

Weiman Wood & Furniture Polish $7.35

To remove mildew from wood cabinets, paneling, or furniture, vacuum the loose spores with the soft brush attachment. Then, clean small areas using a well-wrung cloth dipped in a few squirts of dishwasher detergent and a gallon of water. Rinse with a clean, water-dampened cloth and dry immediately with a fan. Don’t oversaturate the wood, as it could warp and damage the finish. If a cloudy film forms, wipe the area with mineral spirits. Otherwise, apply a thin coat of Good Housekeeping Seal holder Weiman Furniture Polish to restore the shine and protect the finish.

Mattresses or Upholstery

Start by vacuuming the entire item, then toss the vacuum filter and the bag when you’re through to prevent mildew spores from escaping into the air the next time you vacuum. If any stains remain, sponge the surface with a cloth moistened in 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 cup warm water — but do a spot test on a hidden area first to make sure the fabric won’t get damaged. To rinse, do a second wipe with a water-dampened sponge. Sun dry the sofa or mattress for several hours to remove odors or use a fan. Spray with a disinfectant like Lysol to kill spores that can linger in thick padding. If your furniture still smells musty or stains reappear, throw the item out.

Painted Walls

Mildew can quickly take root on walls, especially if the ventilation is poor. At the first sign of growth, mix 3/4 cup bleach with one gallon of water. Wearing rubber gloves, apply with a soft scrub brush. Let the solution penetrate for 15 minutes before rinsing with water. Dry thoroughly with a fan for about a half hour. If stains reappear, you may have to replace the wallboard.

Old Books

Cemal Taskiran / EyeEmGetty Images

Air the pages outside on a sunny, breezy day for at least three hours. Once they’re dry to the touch, brush off the mildew with a dry cloth. Remove stains by wiping them gently with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 4 parts water (wring it well first). Repeat the process using another soft cloth dipped in water to gently sponge away the chlorine, but don’t rub or oversaturate the paper. Pat or fan-dry the pages. You can speed up the drying process by sprinkling cornstarch or baking soda on each page to absorb remaining moisture, then wipe it off with a soft, clean paint brush.

Mold and mildew thrive in moist conditions. That means musty-smelling growth can be found just as easily on damp clothing as it can on carpets and upholstered furniture. (Ew!)

To help avoid this situation, TODAY Home asked some cleaning pros the best way to manage mold.

Here’s how to remove mold and mildew from …

…white-cotton clothing

Olivia Joyce, cleaning pro with Move Out Mates, has two effective ways to deal with mold, depending on the fabric involved.

Bleach is the most effective way to remove mold and mildew from clothing made out of white cotton, Joyce says. Apply a solution of one part bleach to three parts water to the stain and allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then launder as usual.

…non-bleachable clothing

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If the article cannot be bleached, try removing the mold with lemon juice or white vinegar. Soak a cotton pad in lemon juice or vinegar and place it on the stain. Allow it to soak for several minutes. Remove the pad and sprinkle the area with some salt to further boost the effect of the acid. If possible, place the item in a sunny spot to dry. The sun rays also bleach stains. Repeat as needed, then launder as usual.

If the mildew stain persists, bring the article to a professional dry cleaner.

…grout and walls

To clean mildew and mold effectively from walls and grout, Joyce suggests that you mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Dampen (don’t soak) a sponge with the solution and apply it to the moldy areas. (Remember to wear protective gear such as glasses, gloves and even a face mask, advises Joyce.) As the mildew disappears, dry the area using an old towel. The mold itself isn’t that hard to clean, but it can get messy if you don’t squeeze the excess water from the sponge.

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Jack White, vice president of technical services for Rainbow International, explains what’s actually going on when you see mold on your comfy couch.

Mold has to have the right conditions to grow on upholstery. First, there must be an organic food source — mold cannot grow on synthetic materials — but it can grow on the soil embedded in synthetic materials. (A good reason to vacuum the furniture!) There must also be moisture. The organic material has to stay wet for a certain period of time for mold to begin to grow. (Make sure spills are wiped up immediately and that fabric is totally dry before replacing cushions.)

Given this knowledge, here are White’s recommendations for dealing with mold on upholstery:

  1. If your upholstered furniture has water damage and a substantial amount of mold growth, it should be replaced.
  2. If there’s only a small mold stain, you can try using a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Blot it on the mold and allow it to work for a minute or so. Rinse solution from the area by alternately dabbing it with a damp cloth or sponge and a dry cotton cloth. This probably will not remove the mold, but it may help lessen the stain.
  3. Consult a professional upholstery cleaner if the stain persists or reappears.

White also adds that silk, wool, antique or vintage upholstery should be cleaned by a professional.


Be very careful dealing with mold, advises Dean Carter, a carpet-cleaning expert. Silk and wool carpet should always be professionally cleaned. Likewise, only a certified mold expert should remove any substantial amount of mold from carpet. However, if it’s a very small area, and it’s safe to use chlorine bleach on the carpet, you can try this.

  1. “Do not use bleach without testing an inconspicuous area of the carpet first to make sure of no color loss,” cautions Carter. “You can get away with this on some carpets, but not on others. Although some loss of color is still better than mold in the home.”
  2. Clean the carpet using a steam cleaner if possible. If you don’t have access to a steam cleaner, scrub the moldy area using a sponge dipped in a mixture of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent (I prefer the blue Dawn) and 1 quart of water.
  3. After the initial surface cleaning is done, mix 1 cup of household bleach (hypochlorite solution) with 1 gallon of water and sponge it directly the affected area. Let the solution sit and soak into the carpet for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Using a steam cleaner (or shop vac), suction up any remaining moisture on the carpet.
  5. It’s important to dry the carpet as much as possible to prevent mold growth. To absorb residual moisture, place a folded towel over the wet area and stand on it. Move to a fresh area of the towel as moisture is absorbed. Be sure to thoroughly wash the towel after you use it.

It’s not a pretty sight when you discover furry black spores on clothes and in other areas of your home. Here’s our top tips to remove the stains:

Prevention is better than cure

Mould and mildew thrive in damp, humid conditions where there is inadequate ventilation. Stop them sprouting in the first place by keeping the house dry and well aired. If certain parts suffer from high levels of condensation, consider buying a dehumidifier. If moulds and mildew do appear, here’s how to tackle them.


To prevent the growth of grime, leave the door or curtain open after showering – this helps prevent the humid atmosphere that encourages mould to grow. If you need to tackle the growth, then scrub your curtain with a bleach solution and rinse thoroughly after; bleach can rot the fabric. For a greener alternative, soak your shower curtain in a solution of soda crystals, following pack instructions. Dry well before hanging again.

As for the rest of the tub, wipe the shower tray with all-purpose bathroom cleaner, rinse and wipe dry. For grouting and sealant, use a fungicidal bathroom spray regularly to prevent regrowth. Scrub discoloured grout with an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of one part bleach to four parts water. In hard water areas, use a limescale remover once a week.


Brush or vacuum away spores and spray with an anti-fungal spray suitable for soft furnishings. Dab remaining marks with a mild disinfectant until they have been removed, then sponge with cold water to rinse.

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Washable fabrics

Normal washing should remove light stains when they are fresh. Treat stubborn stains on white fabric (except nylon and items with a ‘do not bleach’ symbol) by soaking in a solution of chlorine bleach (20ml bleach to 5 litres water). Treat coloureds and non-bleachable whites with a stain remover such as Stain Devils, following the manufacturer’s instructions.


To clean blackened walls, use a solution of chlorine bleach and water – one part bleach to four parts water – or a good kitchen or bathroom spray that contains bleach, such as Aldi Power Force Bathroom Cleaner. Try on a hidden area first, as bleach could affect the colour. Scrub with a stiff brush, rinse thoroughly and dry.

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How to get Mold out of Clothes and Fabric

Mold can easily grow on clothes and fabric if you have too much moisture in your home. Clothes made of cotton or other organic materials make great food sources for mold and mildew to live on.

Products to Remove Mold from Clothes

There are quite a few solutions you can wash moldy clothes in to get rid of the mold. Some good ones include:

  • Bleach
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Mold killing detergent

Tips for Removing Mold from Clothes

There are a few general tips when it comes to removing mold from clothes. One is that it’s best to wash your clothes in hot water. Hot water kills mold more effectively than cold water and better removes mold spores and allergens too. Of course make sure you don’t use water so hot that it can damage your clothing.
When you’re washing your clothes with a mold killing solution it’s best to wash them through at least two full cycles. Then after your clothes have been washed hang them on the line in the sun. The heat from the sun and the sun’s ultraviolet light help to kill mold. The sun has a natural bleaching effect that can also help to fade mold stains.

How to Remove Mold from Clothes with Bleach

Washing clothes in a solution of bleach and water can kill mold. Bleach can also fade away stains left on clothes by mold.
Before you use bleach make sure to check your clothes for any “do not bleach” warnings. You might also want to do a spot test on your clothes after you’ve mixed the bleach and water solution just to make sure they won’t fade.
Another option, instead of mixing your own bleach and water solution, is to wash your clothes with a bleaching detergent such as Clorox or Oxiclean.
How to wash your clothes with bleach:

  1. Start by putting your clothes into the washing machine and adding laundry detergent.
  2. Once the washing machine has filled up with water add about a cup of bleach (or whatever amount the label on the bleach says to use).
  3. Let your washing machine run like normal.
  4. If you notice the colors fading at any stage remove your clothes and rinse them well.

Alternatively you can soak your clothes in bleach:

  1. Use a concentration of about half a cup of bleach per gallon of water, or whatever ratio it says on the bleach’s label.
  2. Let the clothes soak in the solution for a few hours, making sure the colors do not fade.
  3. After soaking the clothes wash them in your washing machine with laundry detergent like you usually would.

How to Remove Mold from Clothes with Borax

Borax is a natural mold killer which does not emit toxic fumes. To kill mold on clothes with borax you can either purchase borax laundry detergent or add borax powder yourself to your washing. Mix the borax with hot water before adding it to your washing to make sure it is completely dissolved.
How to wash clothes using borax:

  1. Add your clothes to the washing machine along with laundry detergent.
  2. Dissolve half a cup of borax in very hot water.
  3. Once the washing machine has filled up add the borax that you dissolved in hot water.
  4. Let the washing machine run through like normal.

How to Remove Mold from Clothes with Vinegar

Vinegar kills 82% of mold species and can usually kill the mold growing on clothes. Vinegar will also remove the moldy smell from the clothes.
How to wash your clothes with vinegar:

  1. To kill mold on your clothes using vinegar, put your clothes in the washing machine along with detergent and let the machine fill with water.
  2. Then add about a cup or two of vinegar to your washing.
  3. Let the washing machine run through its cycle as normal.

Alternatively, soak clothes in vinegar:

  1. Let your clothes soak in a solution of one cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water for about an hour.
  2. After soaking, wash the clothes with laundry detergent in your washing machine to wash away the mold and vinegar.
  3. You might need to repeat the process to remove all the traces of mold and any moldy smell from your clothes.

How to Prevent Mold on Clothes

If you have mold growing on your clothes it’s probably because you left them in a damp pile for a few days or more. Every time you wash your clothes you should hang them on the line or dry them in the drier as soon as you can. Clothes that have been washed and then left wet for a day or more are at risk of mold starting to grow on them.
The same applies for clothes that have gotten sweaty or wet from you wearing them. Don’t throw wet clothes in the hamper where they’ll sit for days until you do the washing. Hang sweaty clothes somewhere where they can air out first. Do the same for wet swimming gear. Towels should also be hung up to dry after they’ve been used. If you have sweaty shoes you might also want to let them air outside on the doorstep or some other place before putting them away.
Not only might mold grow on wet clothes but moisture from the clothing can really increase the humidity in your home which can lead to mold growth in your house. Another related tip is to vent the clothes drier outside or at least ventilate the room where the drier is so that the moisture from drying clothes doesn’t get released into the air in your house.
For more ways to prevent mold growing in your home visit Prevent Mold.

Symptoms and Effects of Mold on Clothes

If you find mold on your clothes you should remove it as soon as possible. One reason to clean away mold and a sign that you might have mold on your clothes is the symptoms it can cause. If you’re wearing clothes with mold on them you may feel itchiness where the mold is contacting your skin and develop a rash. The clothing might also make you sneeze when you wear it.
Another reason to remove mold from clothes quickly is the damage it can do to your clothing. Mold digests whatever material it’s growing on so long term mold growth will destroy clothing. As mold grows larger it will also leave a greater stain on your clothing which can be difficult to remove and the clothes will smell.
Finally, mold on clothes releases mold spores into the air of your home which can promote mold growing inside. Additionally a build up of spores in your home’s air can cause you to suffer allergic symptoms while you are inside your house such as sneezing and sore eyes.
For more about the symptoms mold can cause see Mold Symptoms.
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