How to Remove Mold from Clothes and Shoes

Mold growth on clothes and shoes is relatively common, and if you have discovered mold growing on your belongings, it may have crossed your mind that they need to be thrown out and replaced.

Mold generally refers to fungal growth that thrives in a warm, moist environment. These fungal spores can be airborne, and they can land and grow on almost any type of surface when conditions are right. This includes surfaces like your clothing, canvas and leather shoes and other items. However, by following the proper steps, you may be able to successfully remove the musty odor and spotty stains that are associated with mold growth.

Removing Mold From Your Clothing

It can be unpleasant to pull out clothing that you haven’t used for a while and discover mold growth. Perhaps you folded some shirts that were not fully dry and stored them away from the season, or maybe you left your sweaty workout clothes in your gym bag for too long. Both the odor and staining associated with mold growth can be discerning, but before you make the decision to throw these items in the trash, you may consider following a few steps to remove the mold.

- You may place your moldy clothing in the washing machine. Rather than using detergent, run ¾ cup of vinegar with the load. You may need to repeat these process multiple times to fully remove the smell and staining from your items.

- Another idea is to take your moldy clothing outside. Brush off the loose mold, and allow the clothing to dry thoroughly in the sun. Then, take the clothing inside. Use cold water to pre-soak the items, then wash them with detergent in hot water. Return the clothing outside to dry in the sun. Then, test a small area of the interior of the clothing to determine if the items are bleach-safe. If so, add bleach to the washing machine for a second cycle. If not, you may use an alternative solution of salt and lemon juice.

- Mildicides and fungicides may also be purchased and sprayed onto clothing. These chemicals should be tested on the interior of the clothing first to ensure they will not cause discoloration or fading. These products may also be available in a fogging solution. If your entire closet has been affected by mold growth, you may consider fogging the space with a mildicide.

Removing Mold Growth From Leather Shoes

Leather shoes may be susceptible to mold growth for a number of reasons. Because leather typically is not a breathable fabric, it is common for people’s feet to sweat in these shoes. The combination of moisture, heat from their feet and darkness are ideal for mold growth to develop. If you have noticed mold growing in your leather shoes, you may consider following a few key steps.

- Use a nylon brush to remove the superficial mold growth from the shoe. If your shoes are made of suede or nubuck, this is the only step that you can safely take to remove the mold. Other efforts may damage the shoes.

- For other shoes, create a concoction that is one part water and one part alcohol. Wipe this mixture onto the shoes with a soft cloth. This may provide the ideal results.

To prevent future growth from developing, ensure that shoes are allowed to thoroughly dry out after each use. You may consider purchasing silica gel to place in the shoes when you are not wearing them.

Keep in mind that mold will gradually consume the material that it is growing on. If mold growth is left untreated for a lengthy period of time, it ultimately may result in rotted and unsalvageable material. Therefore, it is important to treat the items as soon as you discover mold growth.

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