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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Textiles
By Jim Brown
Mold damaged clothes and textiles can, more often than not, be cleaned dried, repaired, and disinfected. As with all mold problems, it is extremely important to treat textiles immediately.
The following techniques have tested very useful to clean and disinfect moldy clothes, curtains, linens, and other fabric types. However, they take time so if your mold problem is a result of a flood or other water damage and other priorities require your attention, follow these "first aid" tips:
- Remove the damaged textiles from any damaging environment.
- Sort the textiles carefully and separate clean, wet, and moldy fabrics.
- Allow textiles to completely dry out.
Please note: do not use fans to dry moldy textiles as they may dry out mold spores and make them become airborne.
Hire a Professional
If you are not sure if you can clean and disinfect mold damaged textiles, consult a professional. Most mold remediation companies have the experience and knowledge to provide you with the best restoration results.
Improve Environmental Conditions
If you decide to clean and repair your textiles yourself, start with promoting better environmental conditions for dry out and dehumidification. If possible, work outdoors. If weather conditions do not allow working outdoors, dry your textiles indoors in a ventilated room and use fans to constantly circulate the air.
Once the items and mold have dried, remove the mold gently. To remove the residues of mold use a gentle vacuuming action with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. Before you start, test the technique, the vacuum suction pressure, and the effect of the brush on a small test area of the fabric.
Another common technique is to use a soft brush to loosen the residue. Use this technique only if the fabric beneath is sufficiently strong. You can also use a gentle water stream to rinse mold residue. Do not dry clean moldy textiles.
Some molds produce colors as they grow. These may attach to the fibers. Oxidative bleaching may reduce the color and sometimes even remove the stain completely; however, it will further weaken the textile.
Eliminate Musty Odors
Musty odors are caused by volatile components of the mold. Warm air drying of the textiles will eliminate the smell. You may want to consider commercial deodorizing products, but be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions before using.
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