How To Remove Mold Stains From Fabric: A Step-By-Step Guide

Mold stains on fabric can be an unsightly problem, but with the right techniques, you can get rid of them for good. If you’ve noticed dark, discolored patches on your clothes, linens, or other textiles, chances are it’s mold.

Here’s a quick answer: To remove mold stains from fabric, start by brushing off any excess mold spores. Then make a cleaning solution of equal parts vinegar and water and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

For stubborn stains, try using lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to identify, treat, and prevent mold growth on fabric using natural cleaning methods. You’ll also learn how to stop mold from coming back once you’ve removed stains.

What Causes Mold on Fabric?

Mold can be a pesky problem, especially when it starts to invade our beloved fabrics. Understanding what causes mold on fabric can help you prevent and tackle this issue effectively. Here are three common factors that contribute to the growth of mold on fabric:

Excess Moisture

One of the main culprits behind mold growth on fabric is excess moisture. When fabrics are exposed to damp environments or come into contact with water, they become a breeding ground for mold. This can happen due to various reasons, such as water leaks, high humidity levels, or improper drying of wet fabrics.

Mold thrives in moist conditions, so it’s important to address any excess moisture in your home or surroundings to prevent mold growth on your fabrics.

Warm Environments

Mold tends to thrive in warm environments, making fabrics vulnerable to mold growth in areas with higher temperatures. This is because warmer temperatures create the ideal conditions for mold spores to multiply and spread.

If you live in a region with a hot and humid climate, it’s crucial to take extra precautions to prevent mold growth on your fabrics. Proper ventilation, air conditioning, and keeping fabrics dry can help mitigate the risk of mold infestation.

Natural Fibers

Another factor that contributes to mold growth on fabric is the type of material used. Natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, and silk, are more susceptible to mold growth compared to synthetic materials.

This is because natural fibers have a porous structure that can absorb moisture and provide a suitable environment for mold to thrive. If you have fabrics made from natural fibers, it’s important to be extra vigilant in preventing mold growth by keeping them clean, dry, and properly stored.

By understanding the causes of mold on fabric, you can take proactive measures to prevent its growth. Regularly inspecting and cleaning fabrics, controlling moisture levels, and ensuring proper ventilation can go a long way in keeping your fabrics mold-free.

How to Remove Mold Stains from Fabric

Mold stains on fabric can be stubborn and unsightly, but with the right techniques, they can be effectively removed. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you tackle those mold stains and restore your fabric to its original condition.

1. Brush Off Excess Mold

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s important to remove any excess mold from the fabric. Use a soft brush or a clean cloth to gently brush off the visible mold. Be careful not to spread the spores further.

2. Make a DIY Cleaning Solution

Next, prepare a cleaning solution to remove the mold stains. A mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can be an effective DIY solution. Alternatively, you can also use a commercial mold stain remover. Follow the instructions on the product label for proper usage.

3. Apply the Solution and Let Sit

Using a clean sponge or cloth, apply the cleaning solution to the stained area of the fabric. Make sure to saturate the stain completely. Allow the solution to sit on the fabric for about 15 minutes. This will help break down the mold and loosen its grip on the fabric fibers.

4. Scrub the Stained Area

After the solution has had time to work, take a soft-bristled brush or a clean toothbrush and gently scrub the stained area. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, as this may damage the fabric. Work in circular motions to lift the mold stains from the fabric.

5. Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’ve scrubbed the stained area, rinse the fabric thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution and the loosened mold. You can rinse the fabric under running water or soak it in a clean basin filled with water.

6. Repeat as Needed for Stubborn Stains

If the mold stains are particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat the cleaning process. Apply the cleaning solution again and let it sit for a longer period of time. Scrub the stained area gently and rinse thoroughly until the stains start to fade away.

7. Dry Properly

Finally, it’s essential to dry the fabric properly to prevent any remaining mold spores from regrowing. Hang the fabric outdoors in direct sunlight, if possible, as the UV rays can help kill any remaining mold spores. Alternatively, you can use a fan or a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove mold stains from fabric and restore its original appearance. Remember to always wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when dealing with mold stains.

If the mold infestation is severe or the fabric is delicate, it’s best to seek professional assistance.

Removing Specific Types of Mold Stains

Vinegar for Most Fabrics

When it comes to removing mold stains from most types of fabrics, vinegar is your go-to solution. Vinegar is a natural and effective way to kill mold spores and remove their stains from fabric. Its acidic properties help break down the mold and prevent it from spreading.

To use vinegar for mold stain removal, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the stained area and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Then, gently scrub the fabric with a soft brush or cloth to lift the mold stains.

Rinse the fabric thoroughly with water and allow it to air dry. Repeat the process if necessary.

Pro tip: For stubborn mold stains, you can also add a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar solution for extra cleaning power.

Lemon Juice for White Fabrics

If you’re dealing with mold stains on white fabrics, lemon juice can be a fantastic natural alternative. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which has bleaching properties that can help lighten and remove mold stains from white fabrics.

To use lemon juice for mold stain removal, squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the affected area and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, rinse the fabric with cold water and wash it as usual. Sun-drying the fabric can further enhance the bleaching effect of lemon juice.

Note: Lemon juice may not be suitable for colored fabrics as it can potentially bleach or fade the colors. Always do a patch test on a hidden area of the fabric before using lemon juice.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Delicates

For delicate fabrics that are prone to damage, such as silk or wool, hydrogen peroxide is a gentle yet effective solution for removing mold stains. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild bleach that can help eliminate mold stains without causing harm to delicate fabrics.

To use hydrogen peroxide for mold stain removal, dilute it with an equal amount of water. Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with the diluted hydrogen peroxide solution and gently dab the stained area. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then rinse the fabric with cold water and pat it dry.

Caution: Always test hydrogen peroxide on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the entire stain. Some fabrics may be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and could be damaged by its bleaching effect.

Borax for Mold in Carpet

If you’re dealing with mold stains on carpets, borax can be a highly effective solution. Borax is a natural mineral compound that not only kills mold but also helps remove its stains from carpets.

To use borax for mold stain removal on carpets, start by vacuuming the affected area to remove any loose mold spores or debris. Then, mix a solution of borax and water, following the instructions on the packaging. Apply the solution directly to the mold stains and scrub gently with a brush.

Let the solution sit for a few hours or overnight, then vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove any residual powder.

Important: It’s crucial to ensure that the carpet is completely dry after using the borax solution, as moisture can promote the growth of mold. Use a fan or open windows to facilitate drying.

By following these specific methods for removing different types of mold stains from fabric, you can effectively tackle the problem and restore your fabrics to their original condition.

How to Prevent Mold Growth on Fabric

Allow Proper Airflow

One of the key factors in preventing mold growth on fabric is to ensure proper airflow in your home. Mold thrives in damp and stagnant environments, so it’s important to create a well-ventilated space.

Open windows and doors regularly to let fresh air circulate, especially in areas where fabrics are stored or frequently used. This will help to reduce moisture buildup and discourage mold growth.

Lower Humidity Levels

Mold requires high levels of humidity to survive and proliferate. To prevent mold growth on fabric, it’s crucial to keep the humidity levels in your home under control. The ideal humidity range for most indoor spaces is between 30% and 50%.

Use a dehumidifier in areas prone to excess moisture, such as basements or bathrooms. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in these areas to reduce humidity levels.

Wash Regularly

Regularly washing fabrics can help prevent mold growth. Moisture, dirt, and oils can accumulate on fabrics over time, creating a favorable environment for mold to grow. By washing fabrics, you remove these potential food sources for mold and keep them clean and fresh.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying fabrics to maintain their quality while effectively removing any mold spores that may be present.

Dry Thoroughly

Properly drying fabrics is crucial to prevent mold growth. Wet or damp fabrics provide an ideal breeding ground for mold. After washing or exposure to moisture, make sure to dry fabrics thoroughly. Hang them in a well-ventilated area or use a dryer on a low heat setting.

Avoid folding or storing fabrics before they are completely dry, as this can lead to mold growth.

Use Mold Inhibitors

In addition to the preventive measures mentioned above, using mold inhibitors can also help prevent mold growth on fabric. There are various mold inhibitors available on the market, such as sprays or laundry additives.

These products work by creating a protective barrier on the fabric, making it less likely for mold to grow. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using these products to ensure their effectiveness.

By following these preventive measures, you can effectively reduce the risk of mold growth on fabric and keep your textiles clean and mold-free.


Mold stains don’t have to be a permanent problem. With some simple natural cleaning methods, you can safely remove mold from fabrics and prevent its return. Be sure to fully dry all fabrics after washing and keep humidity levels low to inhibit mold growth.

Next time you notice dark spots on your linens or clothes, don’t panic. Just grab some vinegar and get to work removing the mold. With a little time and elbow grease, you’ll restore them to a like-new condition.

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