To remove mold stains from clothing, it's important to catch them as soon as possible. Mold stained clothes should be taken outside to prevent the spores from spreading, and the area where the clothing was stored should be cleaned and dried thoroughly. Leaving stained clothes outside in the heat and sun can help kill the mold. Washing the items in hot or warm water with detergent should remove any stains, although it may be necessary to pretreat the stain and wash the clothing several times. Making sure clothing is thoroughly dried and stored in a well ventilated space can also help prevent stains from forming in the first place.
Mold is a fungus that thrives on organic matter, and it appears in a wide variety of forms. Some molds are deliberately cultivated, to make cheeses and some antibiotics, for example. Other molds are unwanted and adore food, whether on the counter, inside the fridge, or smeared into carpeting and clothing. Molds are not photosynthetic — in fact, many molds are photosensitive and will die in bright light. They can form in a variety of environments, so mold stains, especially on clothing, can pop up with irritating frequency.
Stains can form when clothing is splashed with food or allowed to get wet and left somewhere warm and dark. When food spills occur, it is best to clean them immediately and wash the clothing before mold and the resultant mold stains can form. When laundry is done, make sure that all the clothing is completely dry before being folded away. Keep clothing in a well ventilated space, as well.
If mold stains have already set in, there are a number of steps to follow. Ideally, the mold stains should be caught as soon as possible, before the organism has had a chance to dig in. Bring the mold stained clothing outside and brush it out, to prevent spores from spreading around your home. Clothing that has been stored in proximity to the mold stained clothing should also be taken out and aired, and wiping down the shelf, drawer, or closet where the clothing was kept with a mild bleach solution will kill any spores floating in that environment.
The next step is to leave the clothing in the sun to dry out, because heat and sunlight kill many varieties of mold. Hang the clothing from a clothes line so that it remains well ventilated and the sunlight falls evenly across most of the garment. Mold stains will likely still remain, because fungus discolors fabric.
Presoak the mold stains in cold water, and then wash hot or warm with detergent. Check the garment before putting it in the dryer to make sure that the mold stains are gone, and wash it again if necessary. Drying the garment in the sun to kill any remaining spores is advised. If the mold stains persist, blot the area with a mild bleach solution, if possible, and launder it again. For colored fabrics, use a lemon juice and salt solution and rinse with cold water immediately.