Secret Tips: How To Get Rid Of Black Mold On Fabric?

How To Get Rid Of Black Mold On Fabric

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Wahid

Over time, your beloved sweater has become moldy. Is the sweater to be thrown out or rescued? Although mold can penetrate deeply into fabrics, you can usually save your clothing with proper cleaning.

Actually, black mold & mildew grow in a dark, humid environment, particularly in a wet clothes hamper, damp closet, or humid basement. Black, brown, gray, or green spots can also appear if wet clothing or towels are left in a laundry basket. Worried about how to get rid of black mold on fabric? Thankfully, mold can be removed from clothes fairly easily.

Various techniques and products are discussed in this guide to help you deal with mold on clothes. Additionally, it recommends using Persil Powercaps washing capsules to remove mold stains. Well, I’ll explain in more detail below.

Table of Contents

What To Know Before Start

  • A moist, dark place is a perfect environment for mold to grow. Make sure you keep up with laundry and improve ventilation in humid places to prevent mold from spreading.
  • Different types of fabrics have different wash instructions, so be sure to read the labels carefully before using cleaning products or chemicals. 
  • A garment should be handled with care to prevent further damage. These instructions should be followed in preference to the instructions on the label.
  • Whenever possible, do this task in the sun, since ultraviolet (UV) rays can kill off mold.
  • Prevent spreading the spores to other surfaces by handling the fabrics carefully.
  • Usually, stain removers and laundry detergents work well to remove stains from washable items.

Can You Get Mold Out Of Clothes?

Can You Get Mold Out Of Clothes

In short, “YES.” To begin, it is important to remove any visible mold & kill any remaining spores. White distilled vinegar will remove mold from clothes, since acetic acid kills mold spores. 

Vinegar must contain acetic acid in the range of 4.0%-4.2% or greater to kill mold. However, vinegar can fade dark fabrics if used at full strength. Thus, mold stains on fabrics won’t be removed by this method.

It is recommended to use hot or warm water, pure white vinegar, pine oil, chlorine bleach, or phenolic disinfectants to kill spores of mold. To remove the stains, use oxygen bleach or chlorine and a heavy-duty laundry detergent. You can successfully remove mold from clothes by following the steps below.


  • While cleaning mold on any surface, make sure to wear a dust mask such as an N95 in order to prevent inhaling mold spores. 
  • While handling moldy clothes, be sure to wear gloves & eye protection.
  • Whenever there is extensive mold growth, which covers more than 10% of the fabric. 
  • In this case, it might be better to dispose of the outfit rather than try to get rid of the mold.

Identifying Black Mold on Fabric: Don’t Let Spores Spoil Your Favorite Pieces

Before diving into removal strategies, let’s learn to recognize the enemy. Black mold has distinct characteristics that help differentiate it from other types of mold or mildew commonly found on fabrics.

Visual Cues:

  • Color: Black mold, as its name suggests, typically appears as a dark green, black, or brownish-black patch on fabric. The color can vary slightly depending on the specific strain and the stage of growth.
  • Texture: Unlike some mildews which might appear fuzzy or powdery, black mold has a more flat, leathery texture. It can feel slightly slimy or sticky to the touch.
  • Growth Pattern: Black mold often grows in irregular patches or splotches, sometimes with feathery edges.


Black mold thrives in damp and poorly ventilated environments. Here are some common places where you might find it lurking on fabric:

  • Neglected Clothing: Clothes left damp in a hamper or stored in a humid closet can become breeding grounds for mold.
  • Improperly Dried Fabrics: Fabrics that haven’t been completely dried after washing or getting wet are susceptible to mold growth.
  • Damp Basements or Attics: Fabrics stored in damp basements or attics are prime targets for mold, especially during humid summer months.

Importance of Identification:

While black mold is a serious concern, it’s important to distinguish how to get rid of black mold on fabric that might appear on textiles. Mildew often appears as white, gray, or greenish patches and can sometimes be treated with less aggressive methods.

Accurate identification is crucial for choosing the most effective and safe treatment approach.  If you’re unsure about the type of mold you’re dealing with, consider consulting a professional mold remediation service or referring to a reliable online resource for mold identification.

Safety First: Protecting Yourself Before Tackling Black Mold

Black mold spores are no laughing matter.  Before diving into the cleaning process, prioritizing your safety is paramount.  Here are some essential precautions to take:

  • Gear Up: Don’t underestimate the importance of protective equipment.  Wear disposable gloves, a respirator mask rated for mold (N95 or higher), and eye protection (safety goggles) to shield yourself from inhaling mold spores.  Mold spores can irritate the lungs and exacerbate allergies, so taking these precautions is crucial.
  • Embrace Fresh Air:  Mold thrives in stagnant environments.  Choose a well-ventilated area to work in, preferably outdoors if weather permits.  Open windows and doors to create good air circulation and prevent mold spores from accumulating indoors.  If working indoors, consider using a fan to improve air flow.
  • Contain the Mold:  Prevent the spread of spores!  Place the moldy fabric in a sealed plastic bag before transporting it to your designated cleaning area.   This simple step helps contain the mold and minimizes the risk of spores contaminating other areas of your home.

Ultimately, by following these safety precautions, you can protect yourself from potential health risks associated with black mold exposure. Remember, prioritizing safety allows you to tackle the mold problem effectively without compromising your well-being.

Cleaning Black Mold From Fabric: Effective 7 Steps

If you discover mold on your fabric, you will need to treat them according to their age and fabric type. Mold stains are often easily removed with an effective detergent called Persil Powercaps. Therefore, you could even ignore steps 2 and steps 3 if you desire. 

Step 1: Check Clothing Care Labels

It is always advisable to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Especially regarding the temperature at which your garment should be washed & how it needs to be dried.

Step 2: Use Mold Stain Remover Or Brush Off The Stain

Using a product from the list below, spray the mold stain with the solution. In the case of tough fabrics, such as denim or cotton, use a clean toothbrush and the selected product to gently scrub off the mold. However, make sure not to destroy the fabric.

Step 3: Dry The Stain Under The Sun, Or Pre-Soak

Yet again, the fabric type will determine this. Light is incredibly effective at eliminating mold from fabric, although it may also fade the colors of delicate fabrics and damage them. White cotton T-shirts can therefore be dried outside, but colorful nylon shirts cannot. Alternatively, the stained garment can be pre-soaked for a minimum of 1 hour in the following solutions.

Step 4: Use Persil Caps For The Hottest Possible Wash

Mold spores are best killed by hot water, but your garment should be washed at the temperature recommended on the care label. Persil Caps’ triple action formula is perfect for tackling mold stains, breath freshening, and comfort care. Mold stains & damp odors on clothes can be eliminated by using this product. Put 1 or 2 capsules into the drum before adding your clothes to the washing machine.

Step 5: Inspect Materials For Mold, & Smell Them For Cleanliness

Check your clothing for any visible signs of mold and make sure they are all gone. Mold may persist after following the first 3 steps, so repeat the steps if necessary. Once again (maybe even a 3rd time), soak the fabric longer & scrub it more thoroughly.

When you cannot see mold on a garment, smell it. Mold is probably still present if you smell a musty, earthy smell. For stronger or fainter smells, rewash and dry the contaminated clothing instead of repeating steps 1 through 3.

Step 6: Sun-Dry Your Clothing

Should the mold marks still be there, you may need to repeat the earlier steps again. However, if any mold remains, the item should be hung to dry in the sun.

Interested in finding out more? Find out more about mold-removing products by scrolling down.

Step 7: Keep Your Garments Clean By Eliminating Any Mold Sources

Hopefully, this step will only involve addressing the behavior of leaving sweaty or damp clothes lying around too long. Moist areas encourage mold growth and spread. If your clothes are damp, wash them right away, or dry them before putting them away.

Finally, it’s possible for a window, roof, or leaky pipe to cause a closet or storage area to become damp, causing moldy clothes. As you address and fix the leak, you should transfer your clothes to another location. Some closets and storage areas tend to hold moisture even when there is no leak. Silica gel packets can be used to absorb moisture and provide extra ventilation by opening the door, fan, or air conditioner.

Mold Removal Products

Once you’ve learned how to remove black mold or any color mold from fabric, select the right product from the list below. Always test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your fabric and follow the label’s safety instructions.  

Household Soap 

To remove old stains, “regular household soap,” either bar or liquid, should be applied directly into the stain and then rinsed out. Once the fabric has been washed, set it out in the sun to dry.

White Distilled Vinegar 

A highly effective mold-killer, “white vinegar” can be rubbed directly on the stain. It’s easy to pre-soak the clothes with vinegar and water. Also, you can put 1-2 cups of vinegar in your washing machine each cycle to get rid of mildew smells & brighten your clothes.

Hydrogen Peroxide 

Make a solution by mixing 1 part 20% “hydrogen peroxide and 4 parts waters. Please only apply to organic fabrics (as cotton, linen, etc.) without flame-retardants or finished with easy-care.


Water-soluble minerals as borax” are also natural mold-killers, whether you buy them as powder or detergent. Alternatively, if it’s a powder, mix hot water and a half cup of borax together. The solution should be added directly to the drum in the washing machine, followed by a normal wash cycle.


In addition to killing mold, “bleach” is also effective at fading any color. Thus, bleach should only be used on whites & colorfast clothing, either pre-soaked or rubbed directly onto mold. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product, use rubber gloves, work in a well-ventilated area, away from children, since bleach fumes are strong. Remember to store bleach in a safe place away from the visibility and danger of children and pets. 

Tea Tree Oil

Real “tea-tree oil” is very effective in removing mold. As an antimicrobial and fungicide, tea tree oil is effective at killing mold spores as well. You can also use it for removing mold & mildew from your bathroom.

Although this DIY treatment costs a bit more than vinegar or bleach soaks, it works. Additionally, it smells pleasant and is considerably less harmful than borax.

The tea tree oil must be pure and not synthetic, as is commonly available in incense sticks. Cheap brands smell similar to tea tree oil, however, they don’t contain the actual oil, and may result in oily stains on your clothing.

Dry Cleaning

If the garment’s care label indicates that it is for “dry cleaning” only, many DIY remedies described above will not be applicable. There are various cleaning products and water that will damage and stain the fabric. If you try to remove mold stains alone, you will be worse off than when you started.

Instead, gently brush off any loose, flakes, or powdery mold. It should be disposed of safely. If the stains are difficult to remove, you may wish to take the clothing to your dry cleaner. Occasionally, cleaners may be unable to remove stubborn mold stains & may recommend that the garment be disposed of.

Washing Machine

Some mold can be removed from clothes by washing them in the “washing machine” using a specially designed extra-hot setting. Most molds will be killed by temperatures over 140°F, so it may be beneficial to use extremely hot water.

In most cases, though, pre-treating your clothes with a bleach or vinegar solution is safer before putting them in the washing machine. The double-dose application should be effective in removing all mold.

Pro Tips

Be careful when using biocides. Be sure to read the product label and information before using the product. Whenever you are unsure about how to treat your garment after checking its care label, it is advisable to seek professional advice.

Getting Rid Of Black Mold And Mildew On “Grout & Walls”

Getting Rid Of Black Mold And Mildew On Grout & Walls

When it comes to cleaning mold and mildew from walls and grout, most experts recommend mixing 1 part bleach with 3 parts water. Apply the solution to the moldy areas by dampening (do not soak) a sponge. Wear protective equipment, such as gloves, glasses, & even a mask, to prevent injury. Once the mildew has disappeared, use an old towel to dry the area. In general, mold is not difficult to remove, although it can become messy if excessive water is not squeezed out of the sponge properly.

Getting Rid Of Black Mold And Mildew On “Carpets”

Getting Rid Of Black Mold And Mildew On Carpets

Mold should be handled carefully, advises an expert in carpet cleaning. Professional cleaning is recommended for wool and silk carpets. Additionally, mold should only be removed from carpet by a certified mold expert. However, you could try using chlorine bleach for the carpet if the area concerned is small.

  • Test the carpet’s color first in a small, inconspicuous area before using bleach. Some carpets will allow you to do this, while others will not. However, some color loss is much preferable to mold growth inside the house.
  • Steam cleaners can be used to clean the carpet if possible. If you are unable to use a steam cleaner, use a sponge dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 1 quart of warm water.
  • Following the initial surface cleaning, combine 1 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water & apply it directly to the affected area. Allow the solution to sit for 10 to 15 minutes so that it can soak into the carpet.
  • Then, using the steam cleaner or shop vacuum, remove any excess moisture from the carpet.
  • Mold can grow in carpets if they are not dried thoroughly. In order to absorb the remaining moisture, fold a towel and stand on it over the affected area. As the towel absorbs moisture, switch to a fresh area. Ensure that the towel is properly washed after use.

Getting Rid Of Black Mold And Mildew On “Non-Bleachable” Clothing

When bleaching is not possible, you might consider removing mold using white vinegar or lemon juice. Apply a cotton pad soaked in vinegar or lemon juice to the stain. After soaking for a few minutes, remove it and allow it to dry. To enhance the effectiveness of the acid, you should take off the pad and coat the area with salt. 

To ensure that the item dries quickly, let it sit in a sunny location. Stains are also bleached by the sun’s rays. As needed, repeat the process, and then wash as usual. You may attempt to remove mold from the fabric, but if the mildew mark persists, take the item to a professional dry cleaner.

A Guide To Preventing Mold On Clothes In A Closet

  • Mold can grow in your closet clothes if they have not been thoroughly dried before being stored. Ideally, clothes should also be separated in order to prevent them from being hung or folded all at once. Make sure your home has adequate ventilation and that humidity levels are not excessive.
  • Allowing clothes to air dry in full sunlight is a great way to prevent mold growth on clothes. Actually, mold & its spores are very effectively destroyed by UV light. Obviously, this method can only be used during hot, dry weather.
  • Regardless of whether you can hang your clothes to dry in the sunlight after washing them, ensure they are completely dry before storing them. It may be necessary to use a fan inside a drying rack in order to prevent spores from landing on the garments and spreading.
  • Whenever you use the dryer, make sure there are no balls of socks, tightly rolled sheets, or towels inside. There is a possibility that these thick items will not dry during the normal process of drying, thus creating a breeding ground for mold spores.
  • A helpful tip to consider, particularly if you reside in a humid environment, applies spray prevention before storing clothing. Preventative treatments create an antibacterial environment on your clothing surface and last for approximately 3 months.

Do Molds On Clothes Pose A Health Risk?

A moldy garment can be harmful to your health. After being exposed to mold spores, individuals may suffer from allergic reactions like itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, or breathing issues. A person with pre existing respiratory conditions, weakened immunity, or allergies is more likely to experience these symptoms. 

Mold exposure may also cause respiratory infections as well as aggravate existing respiratory illnesses. You should address mold on clothes as soon as possible by washing them or dry cleaning them. 

In addition, you should address the root cause of mold growth, which may be dampness or inadequate ventilation. Keeping a clean living environment and following proper hygiene practices are crucial to minimizing the risks associated with mold exposure.

Pro Tips for Banishing Black Mold & Restoring Your Fabrics

While we’ve covered the core methods for removing black mold, here are some additional tips to ensure complete success and prevent future mold growth:

  • Pre-Washing Power: Before applying any cleaning solution,  pre-wash the fabric (if safe for the material). This helps remove loose mold spores and debris, making the subsequent treatment more effective.  Always refer to the care label on your garment for proper washing instructions.
  • Drying is Key: Once the cleaning process is complete, thorough drying is crucial.  Mold thrives in damp environments, so ensure the fabric dries completely.  Ideally, hang the fabric outdoors in direct sunlight  or place it in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation.  Avoid using clothes dryers, as the heat can sometimes set mold stains.
  • Letting Go When Necessary: Sometimes, the battle is lost.  If the mold infestation is extensive or has penetrated deeply into the fabric, discarding the affected item might be the safest option.  This prevents the spread of mold spores and protects your health.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
  • Professional Help: For extensive mold problems or delicate fabrics requiring special care, consider seeking professional cleaning services.  Professional mold remediators have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle large-scale infestations safely and effectively.

Furthermore, implementing these additional tips will not only weed out existing black mold but also create an environment that is less conducive to growth in the future.  Remember, prevention is always better than cure.


01. What does mold on clothes look like?

Answer: Generally, mold can appear as gray, white, black, or green spots that can be “fuzzy” or slimy. If you notice a musty smell on your clothes, you likely have mold growing on them.

02. How long does it take vinegar to kill mold on fabric?

Answer: Whenever a stain is visible, spritz and soak the moldy material in vinegar and allow it to stand for 5 minutes. When the lightest load setting is selected, use the hottest water allowed for the fabric in the washing machine. A cup of vinegar should be added to the water. It is recommended that the fabric is soaked for at least 2 hours.

03. What kills black mold on fabric?

Answer: Distilled vinegar is a highly effective mold-killer, and it can be applied directly to the stain when diluted. Alternatively, the clothes can be soaked in vinegar and water mixed in a bucket. If you have a washing machine, you can drop 1-2 cups of vinegar every cycle to kill mildew smells and give your whites a brighter appearance.

04. Is black mold on clothes harmful?

Answer: Human health is at risk from a specific strain of mold known as “black mold.” This mold releases mycotoxins, causing respiratory problems, skin rashes, & other health problems. A wide range of surfaces, including ceilings, walls, and clothing, are suitable for black mold growth.

05. Can you put moldy clothes in the washing machine with vinegar?

Answer: Vinegar naturally removes the mold odor from clothes and kills most types of mold, including the mold that usually lives in clothing. Put clothing, laundry detergent, & 1 to 2 cups of vinegar (in small and large quantities) in the washing machine to get rid of moldy clothes.

06. Why is mold on my clothes?

Answer: There are 3 things mold prefers: moisture, warmth, and food to grow on clothes. In most cases, clothes become moldy after being wet and kept on a warm surface for several hours.

07. Can I use distilled white vinegar to disinfect the clothes?

Answer: White vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills mold spores. However, darker-colored fabrics can fade due to mold growth & will not remove mold-induced stains.

08. Can mold be removed from clothes?

Answer: Cleaning clothing with non-chlorine bleach and water is effective for removing mold. Bleach can also be mixed with home detergents or soap like Clorox and Oxi-clean to rub off stains with old toothbrushes.

09. Does vinegar kill mold?

Answer: Definitely, white vinegar is effective at disinfecting and removing difficult mold stains. White vinegar can be sprayed onto mold-infested areas undiluted.

10. Why does mold grow on closet clothes?

Answer: If you have a leaky pipe near your closet, the humidity inside the closet will increase. Your closet and clothing may become moldy because of this. In most cases, the closet door is mostly always closed, causing moisture to build up.

11. How does baking soda help remove mold smell from clothes?

Answer: When washing clothes to remove moldy smells, use a half-teaspoon of baking soda mixed with regular laundry detergent. As baking soda is crystalline white, it effectively removes stains and smells from affected clothes.

12. How do you identify mold on clothes?

Answer: When you notice some musty odor in your clothes, you can determine if they contain mold. It may also appear as black & white spots or discolored clothing easily visible to the human eye.

Final Thoughts

If you follow these 7 steps of how to get rid of black mold on fabric, mold can be safely removed, allowing your clothing to remain usable. Some clothing and fabrics can also be successfully cleaned with dry cleaning. Moldy garments may be restored to an unstained state if treated quickly. However, large growths may permanently damage garments.

It is best to prevent mold from forming on clothes from the start. Avoid damp or humid areas when storing dry clothing to avoid mold growth. Using this easy-to-follow guide, you can remove mold from clothing immediately.