How To Get Mildew Stains Out Of Colored Clothes: 6 Easy Steps

Mildew chooses no surface, it damages almost everything, even clothes. Here’s how to get mildew stains out of colored clothes in just six simple steps.

Forgetting your wet clothes in your bag will cause mildew build-up especially during humid, warm weather, as well as leaving dry clothes in your laundry for a long time.

how to get mildew stains out of colored clothes

However, you don’t have to worry as there’s a way to get rid of stubborn mildew stains on your favorite red shirt. All you need to do is follow the instructions below.


Getting Rid Of Mildew Stains In Colored Clothes

Getting rid of mildew stains on colored clothes only involves six simple steps that are easy to follow.


Step #1. Bring the affected garments outside

Take the colored garments outside. If they are still damp, allow them to sit under the sun until they dry completely first before proceeding with the next steps.


Step #2. Brush away the loose mildew from the clothes

Once dry, grab an old toothbrush and use it to remove loose mildew spores from the garment. Shake the garment off after and throw the used toothbrush away.


Step #3. Run the clothes in the washing machine

Place the colored clothes in the washing machine. Make sure to not wash it together with the other clothes unless you want the mildew spores and smell to spread among them.

Use hot water and the normal color-safe detergent that you use. Also, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash water.

After a wash cycle, proceed with rinsing the colored clothes. Again, make sure to use hot water.


Step #4. Dry the clothes

After rinsing, take the colored clothes from the washer. Hang them outdoors in areas where there is direct sunlight to dry. If the weather is not sunny, you can just air-dry them inside your house.

Take note to avoid using a dryer as the heat will make any remaining stains set on the fabric.


Step #5. Check for remaining mildew stains

Once completely dry, inspect the clothes for any remaining stains. If you spot some, you can try a more aggressive approach to remove them.

Create a paste solution by mixing salt and lemon juice. Use an old toothbrush to apply it to the stains in the garments and let it sit for at least 15 to 30 minutes, preferably under the sun.


Step #6. Brush off excess salt and remove the mildew smell

Remove excess salt from the garment and wash it again with hot water. If you can still smell the mildew, you can add white vinegar again to the wash water. 

Dry the colored clothes again after rinsing. The mildew stains and odor should be completely gone by now, but there may be a bit of discoloration with all the washing and brushing done, especially if the mildew has been left long enough in the fabric.


Step #7. Wash the garments again

Since you used white vinegar a couple of times, chances are your clothes smell a bit sour. Now, you can wash them through a regular cycle the next day and use detergent and fabric softeners to give your clothing a fresh and fragrant smell.

For towels, here is an article on how to remove mildew smell from towels that you can read.


Tips to protect your clothes from mildew

As cliché as it may sound, prevention is always better than cure and it goes the same when it comes to mildew on clothes. Here are some of the tips you can follow to protect your clothes from mildew.

  1. Eliminate moisture – Mildew only grows when there is the presence of moisture so as much as possible, keep your clothes dry. 
  2. Keep your dirty clothes away from clean clothes – As mildew feeds on dirt, your dirty clothes are more prone to mildew growth. It is why it is essential to store your laundry away from your unworn garments.
  3. Maintain good airflow – Since your clothes are normally stored in your closets together with your shoe boxes and other storage, there is a limited flow of air inside. To allow good airflow, you can try using open weave baskets and bins for storage.
  4. Allow some light – Mildew loves dark areas. It is why if possible, use an energy-efficient and low-watts bulb inside.
  5. Regularly clean your closets – Regular cleaning will prevent dirt build-up and will also allow you to inspect your clothes for signs of mildew. After cleaning, try to let fresh air into your closet even for just a short time before putting back your things.

For more information on keeping your closets mildew-free, check out this article about what causes mildew in closets.



Unfortunately, just like any other surfaces and stuff, our clothes are not safe from mildew. The good thing is there are a lot of ways to prevent it and to get rid of it effectively.

Now that you know how to get mildew stains out of colored clothes, you will have the luxury to dress up in mildew-free and fresh-smelling vibrant clothes all you want.

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