Preventing Mold on Stored Clothing
Now that summer is over and fall is here, the time has come to store some of your summer clothing and take out the items that have been put away since last spring. There is nothing more frustrating about this process then to find that mold has gotten into your belongings! If you’ve found some evidence of unwelcome mold spores, here are some tips on dealing with them, as well as preventing a future occurrence:
First, if you find mold in your clothing, don’t panic. Depending on the type of fabric you’re dealing with, you should be able to get it out.
- Read the clothing label. If the label says “cold water wash” or “do not bleach,” then you need to know about it before you begin!
- In general, try the least caustic substance first.
- Plan on using the hottest water that the fabric can stand. If you need to, you can treat moldy clothing with cold water, but the truth is that you’ll most likely have better results if you use warm or, even better, hot water.
- Try using vinegar. Start a load as normal, with detergent added. Once the washer is filled, add a cup or two of vinegar. Vinegar is a natural anti-fungal, and it will take the moldy smell out of clothes along with the stains.
- If the vinegar didn’t work, try borax. You can either buy detergent with borax included, or you can simply add borax powder to the washer after it’s full. Try a half cup dissolved in a washer tub full of warm or hot water.
- If it’s safe for the fabric, bleach can be used to remove mold. Follow the directions on the bleach label.
- Don’t mix the chemicals! Choose one method at a time for removing mold stains from clothing.
"Protect your possessions as well as your health by being proactive in preventing mold in stored clothing."
Of course, the best course is to prevent mold in the first place. Before storing clothes for the winter, be sure that they’re completely clean and fully dry. Even a hint of dampness or oils from your body can give fungi a place to proliferate. Don’t store clothes in the garage or basement, as these places tend to be damp. If you don’t have a lot of storage space in the house, consider having custom closets installed, or invest in some closet organizers. These will allow you to make better use of your space.
If you have the option, remove carpet from closets and use hard flooring instead. Rugs and carpets give mold a place to accumulate. If you’ve noticed mold, check to be sure that there is not a leak from the roof or from the story above; even a tiny drip can add up to big mold problems over the course of time! Particularly if the room tends to be humid, a dehumidifier might be necessary in closets or areas where clothing is stored; the drier the air, the lower the chance of mold.
Protect your possessions as well as your health by being proactive in preventing mold in stored clothing. Spending a bit of time and, if necessary, money now will prevent having to waste time and money later as you try to fix the problem.