Mildew Stain Removal
~Pooja Chakrabarty

The Basics of Mildew Stain Removal

Mildew stain removal calls for immediate action. Allow the mildew to remain on the cloth for a little long and you will be left with a much weakened version of the original fabric. Mildew, if it is fairly recent, can be washed off quite easily. Ideally you should store your clothes in a cool, dry place so that the mildew is not allowed to form at all. 

Mildew is a living organism. Moisture, warmth, and darkness assist in its growth and help it survive. Mildew does not just need living tissue to survive. It can feed on organic matter like cloth fibers as well. It appears as a discolored area on the cloth. As it eats the fiber, it tends to cause irrevocable damage by weakening the fabric.

For mildew stain removal, extremely prompt action is required as they eat up the fibers and weaken the cloth. All mildew stain removal techniques should be carried out before the mildew has had too much chance to weaken the cloth. Minor and recent stains can usually be made to disappear by using regular laundry methods, and then following it up by sun-drying the fabric.

All mildew stain removal techniques should be carried out before the mildew has had too much chance to weaken the cloth

For heavier and older stains, the first step in mildew stain removal is to brush off the mildew from the affected area. The next step would be to pre-treat the mildew stain by rubbing it with a strong liquid detergent. The fabric must then be laundered in hot water. After that you could bleach it in the hottest water that the fabric can tolerate. [Read the fabric-care instructions to find out how hot you can make the water and make sure that the fabric is bleach-safe and colorfast.] The bleach and the residual stains should be rinsed thoroughly before putting it through the wash. Adding some vinegar into the last rinse would help remove bleach odors. After bleaching, allow the garment to be sun-dried.

The most effective bleach is chlorinated bleach. Chlorine bleach not only helps in mildew stain removal but acts as a disinfectant by killing the mildew. Chlorine bleaches can be used without any worries for all white garments provided the garment care instructions allow the use of chlorine bleach. Linen and cotton for the most part respond well to such treatment.

For colored as well as white fabrics, a sodium percarbonate sanitizer would work well.

You could try to flush out less recent stains by using dry-cleaning fluids. Do note however that garments which have had a bad mildew attack have probably been irreparably harmed. Hence it is best to keep an eye out for such problems as mildew and tackle them at the earliest.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]