Whether you forgot to hang your wet clothes out to dry or have a dark wardrobe without any air circulation, mould on clothes can lead to a larger infestation if left untreated. Mould can easily eat its way through any organic material and can destroy your clothes or any other personal items located near them.
While finding mould on your clothes can be annoying, it can also become dangerous to your health. As such, it’s important to understand what causes mould to grow, mould removal techniques and how to prevent mould from re-occurring.
What Causes Mould on Clothes
Mould growth commonly occurs in damp, warm environments or areas with inadequate ventilation and little to no natural light. Mould thrives by working its way through organic material, so your clothes create the perfect conditions for its survival.
If you have left your clothes unattended in the washing machines for too long, or your clothes are hanging in a damp or inadequately ventilated space, mould will likely begin to grow. Other common causes for mould growth on clothes include:
- Wet clothes in the washing machine or on the floor left unattended for over 48 hours
- Inadequate ventilation of wardrobe spaces
- Clothes left near water damaged or flooded areas
- Enclosed wardrobes in humid conditions
- Clothes left to hang indoors without adequate air circulation
- Clothes or personal items left in basements, crawl spaces or attics
- If you live in a location with above-average humidity levels
To avoid mould growing throughout your clothes or personal items, it is important to ensure clothes are hung out to dry promptly outdoors or in an air-circulated space. It is also important to keep wardrobes or hanging areas dry and well-ventilated, this can be done with a dehumidifier or standing fan.
Types of Mould
There are thousands of mould strains in existence, some more common types of mould that can be found on clothes include:
Aspergillus will appear green, grey or white, sometimes with white spots and is one of the most common mould strains. It is known to cause respiratory discomfort and has tiny airborne spores that can easily spread around the home if aggravated.
Penicillium usually finds itself under carpets and organic material in damp or heavily water-damaged areas of the home. It can appear blue, green or yellow.
Appearing white and fuzzy, the Alternaria strain spreads easily throughout fabrics, clothing, furniture and wallpaper.
Cladosporium thrives in wet or overly humid conditions or areas affected by floods, leaking or water damage. It will appear green, brown or black and is known to grow under carpets, clothing, furniture and personal items.
Black Mould on Clothes
Toxic black mould (otherwise known as Stachybotrys Chartarum) is known for its green-black appearance and its airborne mycotoxin spores. It is known to grow and spread through damp or overly moist surfaces that do not have access to adequate ventilation and can spread throughout the home via airborne spores. Black mould is usually accompanied by a musty smell, even if you cannot see the mould.
Because clothes and fabrics naturally absorb moisture from the environment, it can be easy for black mould to grow in enclosed spaces such as wardrobes. If left untreated, black mould can grow throughout your clothing and spread throughout other areas of the home.
Black mould has toxic spores that can become easily aggravated, and can cause throat irritations, wheezing and coughing. If you think you may have black mould on your clothes or wardrobe, contact a professional mould removal service.
How to Clean Mould from Clothes
Mould growth on clothes can look white or a greenish-black colour paired with a musty odour in your wardrobe or drawers. If you feel like you may have mould growing, be sure to carefully inspect the fabric for spots of discolouration. For small spot removal of mould on your clothes, you can use a few natural remedies, including:
White vinegar cleans, deodorises and disinfects your clothing from mould. Mix a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar into a spray bottle, shake well and spray onto the mould affected area. Allow sitting for 10 – 15 minutes before scrubbing clean.
Mix 2tsp of baking soda to 1tsp of white vinegar (2:1 ratio) to form a pre-soak paste. Rub it on the mould-affected area of the garment before soaking the garment in a bucket of hot water. Soak for at least 30 minutes before putting in the washing machine.
Tea Tree Oil
As a natural fungicide, you can also add tea tree oil to your regular laundry detergent when washing clothes in the washing machine.
Wash clothes regularly
Washing your clothes regularly in hot water can remove mould from your clothes. Be sure to remove mould stains before placing them in the washing machine, set the cycle temperature to hot water and wash for 20 to 30 minutes. Hang clothes out in the sun to dry completely.
In most cases, it is not necessary to get rid of your clothes if you find mould on them. However, if you notice considerable damage, then you may need to dispose of them. Be careful when handling the clothing if you have underlying respiratory concerns or a weakened immune system.
If you are concerned that mould on your clothes is part of a larger mould problem, it is recommended to seek out a professional mould removal team for an inspection and treatment plan.
How to Stop Mould Growing on Clothes
Mould thrives in warm, damp environments with either little to no light or inadequate ventilation. Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent mould from growing on your clothes:
- Avoid leaving wet clothes in the washing machine
- Promptly clean spills on clothing
- Regularly check wardrobes for damp or musty smells
- Ensure that clothes storage areas are well-ventilated
- Get a dehumidifier for clothing storage areas in living in humid conditions
- Hang clothes out to dry outside
- Wash clothes regularly with hot water if permitted
When to Call a Mould Removal Professional?
While finding mould on clothes isn’t considered harmful, it can easily spread around the home or form part of a larger mould problem.
Finding mould on your clothes can be an inconvenience at the best of times. If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat, and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevention Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 to book your free inspection today.