Mold spores are so tiny that they cannot be seen. This does not mean they are not present. There can be mold spores virtually everywhere in your home, including in your clothing.
For the sake of your health and your possessions, it is important to know how to detect mold spores, what to do about mold, and how to prevent it. Your clothes can stay in good condition, and you can stay healthy.
How Do Clothes Get Mold Spores?
There are two common ways clothing can be affected by mold spores. One example is if mold itself is growing on the clothing. This can occur if your clothing is put away while it is still damp.
Dampness can result in mold, even if the clothes are clean. Mold growth can worsen if the area where you store your clothes is warm, humid, not well-ventilated, and not exposed to direct sunlight.
A second example is if airborne mold spores fall onto your clothes. If spores are in the air, they can affect your clothing before you notice any signs of mold. While this can occur when you are wearing the clothes, the spores can remain on the clothing even when you change clothes or undress for the night.
How Can You Detect Mold Spores In Your Clothes?
Even when mold is not visible, it is not impossible to know mold spores are in your clothing. The most common sign is a musty odor. If you notice your clothing has an odor similar to a damp basement, mold is the likely cause.
How Can You Remove Mold Spores From Clothing?
If you have noticed this odor, you should immediately take steps to remove all traces of mold:
- Dry your clothes as quickly as possible. Air-drying in direct sunlight will produce the best results.
- There are some common household products that are both safe and effective for removing mold on clothing. You can soak affected clothes in a solution of water and bleach, or water and vinegar. However, these products can cause colored clothing to fade. They work best on white cotton. If you use one of these products, wash the clothes in hot water afterward.
- Hot washing can remove mold even without bleach or vinegar. Use a disinfectant laundry detergent, or a laundry sanitizer in your washing machine.
- Whichever option you choose, air-dry the clothes immediately after they are washed. Try to do this on a sunny day so you will have the added benefit of direct sunlight.
How Can You Keep Your Clothes Free From Mold?
If your clothes have been affected by mold, remedying the problem can take time.
As you do not want to have this experience again, some tips can keep your clothing mold-free in the future:
- Make sure your storage areas are clean and dry. Periodically check the drawers and closets where you store your clothes for any signs of dampness or moisture.
- Never put clothing away when it is still damp. Whether you use a clothes dryer or dry your clothes on a clothesline, all of your clean clothes should be completely dry before they are returned to drawers or closets.
- Some items can be especially prone to mold. One example includes items that are meant to become wet. Swimsuits and towels should not be put away when they are still wet, or left in soggy piles on the floor. Air-dry these items as soon as possible, and wash them if it is necessary.
- Take the same approach to items that become wet occasionally. If you are outdoors in the rain or snow, remove outer clothing as soon as you come indoors. Hang jackets, sweaters, and any other clothing item that has become wet so it can dry as quickly as possible.
- Mold in your home can result in airborne mold spores in your clothes. If you have noticed that same musty smell anywhere in your house, it should be inspected for mold. Although you should avoid hanging clothes in your bathroom where moisture is often present, mold can actually be anywhere. If you do not see mold but suspect it is present because of that musty odor, contact a mold removal expert to inspect your entire house.
Why Should You Care About Mold Spores In Your Clothes?
If you know there is mold or mold spores in your clothing, it can be tempting to make mistakes. Perhaps you want to ignore it altogether, and pretend it does not exist.
Perhaps you rinse an item, and think this resolves the problem. Perhaps you try to cover the unpleasant odor with your favorite perfume or cologne.
Mold will not simply disappear. These approaches are not effective, and can stand in the way of taking appropriate action. If you do not act promptly, complications can occur.
First, mold can destroy your clothing. If mold is allowed to remain and grow, it can eat away at the fabric. The nice clothes you enjoy wearing will need to be thrown away. This can be disappointing, and replacing clothes can be expensive, too.
Second, both visible mold and invisible spores are harmful to your health. You may develop respiratory issues, eye irritation, persistent headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes.
As mold spores are airborne, these problems will not only affect the person who is wearing the clothes, but family members who live in your home and guests who come to visit.
While it is especially dangerous for the elderly, babies, individuals with serious medical conditions, and individuals who suffer from allergies, it is unhealthy for everyone in the home.
As you do not want your friends and loved ones to experience health problems that are otherwise unnecessary, resist the temptation to ignore mold or to use home-remedies that do not work.
Instead, take these sensible precautions to prevent mold in your clothing, and to thoroughly remove it if it is already present. No one in your home needs to cope with the health problems caused by exposure to mold and mold spores.
You also do not need to lose clothing you like because of mold. You can enjoy your favorite clothes for a long time, and everybody in your home can have good health.