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How to Get Mold Out of Clothes (and When They’re Not Safe to Keep)

Written by Erin Porter

There are many reasons you may end up with mold on your clothes.  Whether it’s due to damp clothes sitting for too long in a hamper or something more nefarious, testing your home and clothes can give you vital information in regards to the health of your home.  Many people ask “Can you wash mold out of clothes?”  Removing mold from your clothes and home is often possible and a very important step in keeping on top of your health, as mold exposure, depending on the type and amount of mold spores present, can create mold sickness which can be quite devastating.  I can attest to this first hand and I share my story of mold illness below on PBS American Health Journal.

Removing mold spores from clothes is not difficult and only requires a few ingredients, such as a quality antifungal laundry additive, Borax, and white distilled vinegar.  Pre-soaking clothing items for twenty minutes in an antifungal laundry additive before washing is even more effective.  See instructions below on how to remove mold from clothes.

Read on for more tips on how to get mold out of clothes and maybe a bigger question why is there mold on clothes in the first place.

Read on and I’ll not only give you step-by-step instructions for getting mold out of clothes, but I will also share how to recognize the signs that it may be time to throw that garment away!  These steps were given to me by both a physician who is an expert in mycology (study of fungus) and mold remediation company we hired.  Below I add a before and after photo of my favorite jean jacket.

Can You Wash Mold Out of Clothes

You can wash mold out of clothes successfully if the mold damage is not too severe.  Conditions such as how long the clothes were left to grow mold, and whether you use a product that destroys mold spores will determine the outcome.  Some mold products contain antifungals such as citrus seed extracts, tea tree oil and natural surfactants to remove the mold spores from clothing.  A good rule of thumb is to try a safe mold laundry additive to wash the mold out of your clothes, and if the mold spores persist, it may be time to discard the garment.

What You Will Need To Get Mold Out Of Clothes

Micro Balance EC3 Mold Laundry Additive – Initially you only need to use this product to wash mold out of clothes, only add next two products if desired results are not achieved.

Distilled Vinegar


Mold Test Plates – these are fairly inexpensive and can be such a helpful tool in determining the extent of your mold problem.

Step 1: Test your clothes for mold

The mold plates that I used on my jacket below for this post are what I have been using for years to check mold counts on my clothes, furniture, home, and even my car.  The physician who created these Micro Balance products is an Ear, Nose and Throat physician named Dr. Dennis who specializes in mold illness and in particular fungal sinusitis.  Because I have a history of fungal balls and fungal sinusitis (I’ve had four sinus surgeries), he has helped me tremendously by teaching me how to STAY well.  One important way is to test your environment!

If your mold plate shows more than four dots, you may have an issue.  The idea is to do the steps below until you have four dots or fewer on your mold plate.  I have made an easy video showing how easy it is to test your clothes and environment.

Step 2: Use Micro Balance EC3 Laundry Additive during your was cycle to remove mold and bacteria.

This inexpensive product (a little over 20 bucks) contains “food-grade” citrus seed extracts, tea tree oil, and natural surfactants to clean away mold spores and foul odor-causing bacteria and yeast.  It is all  natural with no harmful chemicals, which is why it is my first choice.  If you have suffered mold sickness like I have (read my story here or watch me on PBS American Health Journal below), it’s important to cut down on mold spores in your environment.

EC3 Laundry additive will also help maintain a mold and bacteria-free washing machine.  The company also says their product is safe for all regularly laundered fabrics and also safe for humans and pets. Made of botanical ingredients.

Tip:  If you feel the garment has a high mold spore count, soak the item in the sick for twenty minutes with the laundry additive before your wash cycle.

Step 3: Retest your clothes with a mold plate

If your mold plate shows five or more colonies (dots), repeat step two but also add 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar and Borax as instructed on the box.  If possible, dry your clothes in the sun, otherwise the dryer will do. You may retest with a mold plate after this step.  Dr. Dennis suggests if the garment still has more than four colonies, you dispose of the item.

Watch My Interview Below on PBS American Health Journal – Decades of Chronic Illness Due to Mold Exposure

When Moldy Clothes Are No Longer Safe To Keep

Should you throw out moldy clothes?  If you have had toxic mold exposure or are recovering from mold sickness, anything more than four colonies on your mold plate after going through the above steps are a sign you may want to throw out moldy clothes.  Some people can handle mold exposure better than others.  If you have a T Cell defect as described by Dr. Dennis in our PBS interview, or you have the MTHFR mutation, more than four dots or “colonies” on your mold test plate may cause health problems for you.

Below is a photo of my favorite jean jacket.  I wanted to test the state of my clothes after we found a small water leak in our home.  I tapped my jacket with the mold test plate before I washed it with the antifungal laundry additive and after I washed it with the natural antifungal.  Below are the results of both petri dishes or “mold plates.”

jean jacket hanging in closet

The mold plate on the left was the result of my jean jacket before washing, and the mold plate on the right is after adding Micro Balance Laundry Additive to my wash cycle.  So to answer the question, can you get mold out of clothes?  It can be done, but it helps to test the state of your garment after you wash mold out of clothes.  If the mold plates still shows mold, consider throwing it away.

Is Mold On Clothes Harmful?

When you see mold on clothes, it’s time to do some testing.  Some amount of mold in your home and on your clothes is normal.  Mold is ubiquitous, meaning it is everywhere!  It can be very telling however, if you find large colonies on your testing plate.  It could signal a serious problem in your home such as a water leak.  If you have determined your home does indeed have a mold problem, using a mold fogger to distribute a natural antifungal mold solution is the perfect band-aid until you can remediate.  If you can’t afford the mold fogger, a less expensive delivery system (about $20) would be the EC3 mold spray.  Mold can cause and mimic many diseases, please watch my PBS interview above.  In order to stay healthy, I still fog my home 2-3 times per month because I am now highly sensitive to even low counts of mold.

Check out the second edition of my book Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness & Brokenness to Wholeness & Healing.  Foreword written by Doug Kaufmann – host of televisions Know the Cause.

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Erin Porter
Erin Porter
I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed.

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About Erin

I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed. My book Eat Pray Get Well is about overcoming a tumultuous childhood, decades of chronic illness, and finding God in the process. Includes exclusive interviews with renowned Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Supermodel Carol Alt, Doug Kaufmann, and many more. Plus 55 gluten free recipes woven throughout. 

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