How to Remove Mildew From Fabric: 3 Methods & Tips

No one likes to have musty-smelling mildew on their fabric. Aside from its nasty smell and terrible look, it can eventually damage your clothes, and it’s better to get them off. The great thing is there are several simple ways to get the mildew off your fabric.

Methods Of Removing Mildew From Fabric

Some simple ways of removing mildew from fabric include the following:

Method 1 — Using White Vinegar

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an effective treatment for mildew-infested clothes and is safe for most fabrics and materials. It has antimicrobial properties, which makes it a natural disinfectant, and useful for cleaning and odor removal. It kills or slows down the spread of microorganisms, including molds and mildew.

You can use white vinegar directly on fabrics, but diluting it in water is better. It can be applied in the rinse circle, where water is already being distributed.

How to Remove Mildew From Fabric Using White Vinegar

The steps to remove mildew from fabric using white vinegar are as follows:

  • Dilute vinegar with water, then apply directly on the stain if you want to leave your whole fabric out of vinegar. Alternatively, mix 1 cup of white vinegar in a bucket or tub of water and pre-soak the clothing for an hour at least.
  • To use in a machine, add 250ml of vinegar directly in your washing machine per cycle and wash as normal. Launder in your washing machine at the hottest temperature possible with your regular laundry detergent.

Note: Do not mix vinegar with other bleach products, as it can create a toxic gas.

Method 2 — Using Borax

Borax is a cheap and excellent pre-treatment for your laundry. This water-soluble mineral is also a natural mold and mildew-killer; you can use it on delicate and hard fabric types. Borax is a readily available laundry additive, and you can buy it in soluble powder or detergent forms.

How to Remove Mildew From Fabric Using Borax

The steps to apply this method are as follows:

  • Mix Borax 1 cup of Borax with 1 liter of hot water and allow it to cool down.
  • When it is cool, add your mildew-infested fabric into the mix and let it soak for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Use a stick to stir the fabric in the mix, making sure the affected area is soaked, and all of the fabric absorbs the solution.
  • Once your fabric has soaked enough, remove it from the solution and squeeze gently over a drain.
  • Apply a little amount of your normal laundry detergent on the affected area and scrub with a clean old toothbrush. Ensure you scrub the mildew from the opposite side of your fabric to prevent the stain from driving further into the fabric.
  • Lander your pre-treated clothes at the highest convenient temperature.
  • Sun dry the fabric; don’t put it into a dryer, as the heat will set the stains. Once dried, inspect the fabric and repeat the process if you notice any mildew.

Method 3 — Using Bleach


Aside from being an excellent stain remover, bleach has bactericidal properties, making it useful for disinfecting. Bleach is the most effective treatment for mold and mildew infestation on white clothes. However, it fades colored clothes and damages delicate ones.

If bleach is still your most preferred mildew-killer agent, make sure to check the packaging for safety and dosage instructions before following the steps below:

How to Remove Mildew From Fabric Using Bleach

The steps to remove mildew from fabric using bleach are as follows:

  • Add 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush dipped into the mixture to scrub the mildew.
  • Leave the mixture in the infested area for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse off and dry well to prevent future mildew growth.

How to Use the Bleach Method on Colored Fabric

You can use color-safe bleach to remove mildew from colored fabric. This is a non-chlorine bleach that contains peroxide. You can soak your fabric in this mixture; it also helps to brighten your colored material that can’t be washed with regular Bleach.

Alternatively, mix laundry detergent and a good amount of regular bleach in a tub of water. The water could be cold or warm, depending on the toughness of the stain. Let your fabric soak in the mixture for about 30 minutes before you scrub the affected area. Wash it out and transfer it into your washing machine.

Tips to Safely Remove Mildew From Fabric

Some cautionary measures to put in place when removing mildew from fabric are as follows:

  • Before applying a mildew-killing agent, be aware of the type of material your mildew-infested fabric is. Some mildew-killing agents can damage delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and linen.
  • Ensure that your mildew-infested fabric won’t fade, shrink, or weaken if you clean it with hot water before you do.

How to Prevent Mildew Growth on Fabric

Preventing mildew growth on fabric is better than regularly removing it. Below are some ways to prevent mildew growth:

  • Keep your sweaty gym wear and moist clothing from lurking in your laundry hamper for a long time.
  • Don’t put wet or damp clothing into your washing basket or laundry box immediately.
  • Allow active wear or sweaty towels to dry before adding them to your laundry pile. 
  • Empty your washing machine as soon as possible after the washing circle has finished.
  • Dry wet clothes under the sun or dryer immediately after taking them out of the washing machine.

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