Can You Put Moldy Clothes In The Washing Machine?

Mold —a silent invader that creeps onto various surfaces and, unfortunately, doesn’t spare our beloved clothing.

Unsightly stains and an unpleasant musty odor are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to moldy garments, as this pesky fungus can also pose health risks.

If you’ve discovered mold lurking in your closet, you might be pondering whether your trusty washing machine can come to the rescue.

The good news is that yes, moldy clothes can indeed be tossed into the wash.

However, there’s a bit more elbow grease required to ensure complete mold eradication and prevent any sneaky spores from causing further contamination.

In this article, we’ll dive into the steps for safely washing your mold-infested wardrobe using your washing machine.

Plus, we’ll share some preventative measures to stop mold in its tracks before it has a chance to invade your clothing.

Is It Safe To Wash Moldy Clothes In The Washing Machine?

Dealing with moldy clothes can be frustrating, and you might wonder if it’s safe to wash them in your washing machine.

The good news is that, yes, you can clean mold from your garments at home; however, there are some crucial steps to follow before tossing them in with your regular load.

If your clothes are excessively moldy, it’s essential to pretreat them using specific techniques we’ll outline below to help prevent any lingering mold spores from contaminating other items during future washes.

After pre-treating your moldy clothes, wash the affected clothing separately from other items and make sure to use hot water and If possible, opt for an extended wash cycle for a thorough cleanse.

How To Remove Mold From Clothes In The Washing Machine?

Mold on clothes can be a real headache, but fear not! We’ve got some simple solutions to help you remove mold from your outfits in no time. Remember, always adhere to the clothing care label instructions to avoid any damage.

Show No Mercy with Chlorine Bleach (For White Clothes)

Begin by pouring 1 cup of chlorine bleach into your washer and laundering the mold-stricken whites with detergent using the hottest setting allowed by the clothing care label. For colored clothes, opt for non-chlorine bleach and make sure to perform a colorfastness test beforehand. If the mold proves stubborn, run the wash again.

Alternatively, you can soak your clothes in a solution of bleach and water prior to laundering. Check the bleach container for recommended ratios for presoaking.

Unleash the Power of Vinegar

Create a vinegar solution by mixing 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts water. Soak your moldy clothes in it for at least an hour before laundering them at the highest settings permissible. To boost cleaning power, add 1/2 cup of vinegar during the wash cycle.

Give Borax Solution a Try

Dissolve half a cup of borax in hot water and add it to your washer water before laundering. Let the borax work its magic on those pesky mold spots while you wash your clothes as usual.

Enlist Hydrogen Peroxide as Your Ally

Combine 1 part 20% hydrogen peroxide with 4 parts water and apply it directly onto moldy spots or soak organic fabrics like cotton or linen (avoid flame-resistant or easy-care finishes). Let this powerful solution sit for 15 minutes before washing.

How To Dry Moldy Clothes

The sunlight can do wonders for moldy clothes, thanks to its natural mold-killing abilities. If your clothes are suitable for direct sunlight, hang them outside on a sunny day after washing as instructed above and let Mother Nature work her magic.

Be sure to check the care label for any specific drying instructions or limitations beforehand, as some fabrics may not tolerate direct sunlight.

In case your moldy clothes can’t handle direct sunlight, don’t worry – there’s an alternative.

Try hanging them in a shaded yet well-ventilated area outdoors, which allows airflow to help dry your clothing while still benefiting from the surrounding fresh air. Keep in mind that drying time might take longer in the shade compared to direct sunlight.

Mold On Clothes After Washing

It can be frustrating to find mold on clothes even after they’ve gone through a wash cycle.

Don’t worry—there’s hope for salvaging your garments. The key is to make sure the fabric dries thoroughly before attempting another washing. Here’s your game plan:

  1. Begin by drying your clothes in direct sunlight, as the UV rays can help kill any remaining mold spores. Give the garments enough time to dry completely to avoid further mold growth.
  2. If you’ve already used chlorine bleach in your first wash, opt for an alternative mold-eliminating product this time around, such as a non-chlorine bleach, vinegar, borax or hydrogen peroxide. Always follow the recommended usage instructions on the product label.

Should I Throw Away Clothes With Mold On Them?

The main concern with moldy clothing is the potential for mold spores to linger and trigger allergic reactions or respiratory issues.

In cases of extensive mold growth covering a large area of the fabric, it’s best to play it safe and discard the affected item. While this may feel like a loss, prioritizing your health is crucial in these situations.

However, if the mold covers only a small portion, you might be able to salvage your clothes by thoroughly washing and drying them.

Make sure to use hot water and a laundry detergent designed for treating mold and mildew.

Pretreating and scrubbing the affected area with mold removal products and brush, respectively, before washing can also help remove any lingering spores.

Can Mold On Clothes Spread?

Absolutely, mold on clothes is a cause for concern, as the cellulose fibers found in fabric serve as an inviting source of nutrition for mold spores. Mold growth can occur when clothing becomes damp and is not promptly dried or stored in humid or poorly ventilated spaces.

Mold not only poses potential health issues such as allergies, respiratory problems, and skin irritations but also contributes to the deterioration of clothing materials. Moreover, mold can quickly spread to other garments within the same environment, causing a larger infestation.

How To Clean Clothes Exposed To Mold Spores

If you suspect your clothes have been exposed to mold spores, treat them as follows.

Choose the Right Detergent and Sanitizer

Using a quality detergent is essential when dealing with moldy clothes. Opt for a detergent specifically designed to combat mold and mildew or one that contains a high level of enzymes that break down stains and organic materials.

In addition to detergent, consider adding an effective sanitizer to your laundry load. Look for products containing bleach or special sanitizing agents designed for dealing with mold spores.

Wash in Hot Water

Mold spores don’t stand a chance against scalding hot water temperatures. Set your washing machine to its highest heat setting (if your garment allows) to ensure those pesky intruders are eradicated.

Dry Thoroughly

Dampness is a breeding ground for mold growth, so it’s crucial to completely dry your clothes after washing them. Utilize either a dryer set at its highest temperature or hang them outside under direct sunlight (UV rays help kill lingering spores).

How To Prevent Moldy Clothes To Begin With

Maintain Proper Ventilation

Ensure that your closet and laundry area receive adequate airflow to discourage mold growth. Open windows or doors regularly to allow fresh air circulation. If your closet is particularly damp, consider using a dehumidifier to regulate moisture levels.

Be Mindful of Damp Clothing

Never put wet or damp clothes directly into your wardrobe. Always ensure that clothes are completely dry before storing them away, as moisture creates the ideal environment for mold growth. If you’ve been caught in the rain or gone swimming, hang your wet clothes in a well-ventilated area to air dry.

Use the Right Hangers

Choose hangers made from non-porous materials like metal or plastic instead of wood, which can retain moisture and encourage mold growth. Additionally, avoid overstuffing your closet – give each garment enough space for air circulation.

Keep It Clean and Dust-Free

Regularly clean and vacuum your closet to remove any dust and debris, which can contribute to mold growth. Pay extra attention to corners, crevices, and shelves where dust tends to accumulate.

Use Anti-Mold Products

Consider using anti-mold products such as desiccant packs or silica gel pouches in your wardrobe to help absorb excess moisture, keeping the environment dry and less conducive for mold growth.

Store Seasonal Garments Properly

When stowing away seasonal clothing, ensure it’s clean and dry before packing it away in sealed plastic bags or containers with tight-fitting lids. This will help protect garments from mold invasion.