By now almost everyone who owns or rents a home knows that mold can grow just about anywhere.
No matter what the material is, if there is a food source, the right temperature, and ample moisture, mold will grow on it.
Its important to act quickly to remove mold growth when it’s found growing on clothing, furniture, or on any other surface in your home.
Before Cleaning Mold Prioritize Safety
The first step when cleaning moldy items is to take the appropriate safety precautions.
Mold may not affect everyone, but some individuals can have allergic reactions to even small amounts of mold exposure.
These individuals include infants, the elderly, persons with compromised immune systems—also, any individual with chronic respiratory ailments.
So if you’re attempting to clean molds, even small amounts, taking the proactive approach to safeguarding yourself and other individuals in your home is an essential first step.
If you have a mold allergy, its best to speak to your doctor before doing any mold removal activity.
The next step is to perform a visual inspection of the impacted items. Also, identify if the affected items are porous, such as fabrics, soft goods, clothing, drapes, wood, and some types of wall coverings, or whether they are non-porous – such as glass, tile, plastic, and other solid materials.
Before you attempt to clean contaminated items, determine if a professional restoration company is needed.
Also, can the items be cleaned, or should they be discarded?
If the items are of high value, such as antiques, or if they have sentimental value, using professional assistance is always the safest alternative to preserving these items.
Fabrics, bedding, and drapes provide a suitable substrate for airborne mold spores to and grow.
If there is a water intrusion, roof leak, or high humidity levels inside the home that allows the drapes and other fabrics to get wet, then mold will begin to grow.
The most effective way to eliminate mold growth is to eliminate the source of moisture. The steps below outline the best practices to clean molds from fabrics such as clothes, bedding, drapes, and other materials
How To Remove Mold From Clothing
If you have clothing affected by mold, it is always the best practice to launder these items and other fabrics that smell musty even if there are no signs of mold growth.
When handling mold of musty smelling fabrics, always bag the items in place, and then transfer them to the area to be laundered.
Always avoid carrying items through the home that could be compromised by molds.
These items should be laundered separately from other items.
How To Get Rid Of Mold on Bedding, Pillows, Cushions and Stuffed toys
Items such as pillows, stuffed toys, box springs, and mattresses with mold growth and a strong, musty odor should be discarded. In some cases, these items can be salvaged due to sentimental reasons and financial constraints.
However, the safest thing to do would be to get rid of these items because the molds have taken root deep in the material and, in most cases, cannot be removed.
For large items like mattress and box springs, the following can be applied to attempt to address the mold issue.
- Remove the mattress and box springs from the bedroom. Place the items in an area that is well ventilated. For instance, outside in the sun or under a covered location if possible.
- HEPA Vacuum the items (mattress and box spring).
- Have the mattress and box spring steam cleaned to remove the stains and mold spores.
- Place the items in a well-ventilated area to dry. It is best to place outdoors to allow the sun to dry the bed. The amount of dry out time varies. At a minimum, the items should be allowed to dry for a minimum of 24 hours.
- After the items (mattress and box springs) have been dried out, place them in hypoallergenic mattress covers. The covers come in sizes ranging from twin up to king size and can be purchased at most bedding outlets.
- If the mold and musty smell emerge after these steps, the items should be discarded for safety reasons.
DIY Steps for Removing Mold and Mildew from Upholstered Furniture
Cleaning mold from upholstered furniture can be difficult, and sometimes it can be impossible to eliminate the foul musty odor.
However, some methods can be utilized to remove the molds and other biological contaminants such as mites and bacteria.
If you observe mold growth on upholstered furniture (excluding leather), the following steps can be used to remove molds and their associated musty odor effectively.
This cleaning method is effective on items with small amounts of growth. For areas with large amounts of mold growth, consult a restoration company to treat the affected furniture.
- For your safety, use a respirator such as an N95 to protect your nose and mouth from accidental ingestion and inhalation. Use a pair of rubber/nitrile gloves and safety glasses.
- Use plastic sheathing to wrap the contaminated items carefully; this will stop the release of mold spores indoors
- Once the item has been wrapped, get help to take the items outdoors. Whenever possible, do not clean items contaminated by mold indoors. It is best to perform the cleaning outside in a well-ventilated area.
- Also, take the pillow cushions and any removable elements outside.
- With your safety gear on, remove the plastic slowly and avoid getting any mold on your person or clothing.
- Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter to clean the molds from the items. It is best to use a brush attachment when performing this activity.
- After vacuuming, damp wipe the area with mild detergent (you can use upholstery cleaners as well). A soft- bristle brush can also be used at this stage.
- Rinse the brush in clean water and brush the area once more.
- After the area has been cleaned, use a water extraction vacuum to remove any excess moisture and to expedite the dry out process.
- Allow the items to dry for a minimum of 24 hours; however, more time may be needed for larger items.
- After the items have been dried out, use the vacuum to clean the areas one final time.
Steam Cleaning items to Remove Mold Growth
Most individuals may not know steam cleaning upholstered furniture is a viable solution when removing mold and other allergens.
Not only is steam cleaning effective, but the process can also prolong the useful life of many items within the home.
One of the major benefits of steam cleaning is the minimal use of harmful chemicals through the cleaning process.
Also, there is a reduced risk of potentially harmful residues lingering on items that could cause allergic reactions. Today, many steam cleaners can be purchased or rented by consumers.
These cleaners can be effective in combatting small amounts of surface molds. These devices use controlled amounts of water to avoid oversaturating the material. Oversaturation could worsen an already delicate situation.
Remember that mold thrives when moisture is present; therefore, the amount of water used during the cleaning process can have an impact on the mold removal process.
Porous items absorb large quantities of moisture, which can lead to more mold growth and odors that might require professional cleaning, or you may have to discard the item.
It is highly recommended that items with musty or foul odors coupled with large amounts of mold growth be cleaned by a certified restoration company.
These companies have individuals who are trained to treat household items and avoid damaging the material or the fabric. A simple internet search will provide a list of possible service providers. A resource that can be used to locate a reputable restoration firm is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification’s website.
Removing Mold Growth with Vapor Steam Treatment
Steam Vapor Treatment is also is another cleaning option that can remove mold and other microbial growth from upholstered furniture and porous items. These machines use small amounts of water during the cleaning and sanitization process.
Vapor steam machines look like a regular steam cleaner. However, the way a vapor steamer functions are completely different.
In vapor steam machines, the water is heated to between 240 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then an attachment is used to apply the steam to the affected areas. This method produces a wide variety of benefits such as:
- Low moisture output, which allows the materials to dry at a much faster rate.
- Mess-free cleaning, meaning the vapor from the machine sanitizes, deodorizes and cleans deep below the surface of the item.
- Perhaps best of all, this process uses no chemicals that can trigger an allergic reaction or leave harmful residue behind. For individuals that suffer from allergies, the steam or vapor generated by the cleaning process penetrates deep into the materials to eradicate mites, bed bugs, molds, and viruses.
Additionally, vapor steam treatment helps to improve the indoor air quality and is environmentally friendly.
It eliminates mites and fleas (including their eggs) from bedding, upholstery, carpets, rugs, kills mold spores found in the home, growing on personal items, and disinfects surfaces without harmful chemicals.