Even if you do not live in an especially humid climate, clothes that are not completely dry can easily develop mildew stains under the right conditions. This includes damp socks or other soiled garments that are placed into a hamper for washing. Since it is virtually impossible to prevent mildew spores from settling onto clothes, you will be well served by knowing more about removing mildew from your clothes.
Regardless of the solution that you choose, you should start clearing it away by manually brushing excess mildew from the surface of the fabric. Ideally, this should be done outdoors, so that you do not release more spores into the air in your home. From there, you can simply let the garment dry in the sun.
Using Lemon Juice and Salt
In order to use lemon juice and salt, simply dab each stain with a mixture of straight lemon juice and salt. Since salt is natural fungicide, it will kill all of the spores at it seeps into the fabric. Lemon juice increases the acid level of the fabric, which makes it easier to remove mildew. Once you have pretreated the stain with this mix, you can let the garment dry out again in the hot sun.
Since vinegar is also a natural disinfectant, it is also ideal to remove mildew. In order to begin, you should treat each stain with vinegar. From there, add one cup of vinegar to the water in your washing machine, and let the garments soak for several hours. You should not add detergent or bleach until you are ready to wash. During the process, you should always use the hottest water that you can obtain. This will help kill more spores, as well as prevent them from spreading to other parts of the garment. Once you are done washing, it is important to follow up with air drying in the sun.
As may be expected, chlorine bleach will remove mildew with a minimal amount of effort. If the garments in question happen to be white, then all you will need to do is add 2 tablespoons of bleach to one quart of water. You can spray this mixture onto the stain, or dab it on with a sponge. From there, allow the bleach to remain for at least 5 minutes, but not more than 15, since the bleach itself will eat holes in the fabric. Once you complete this cycle, simply wash the garment as usual. In order to prevent holes from the bleach, you can use some vinegar to neutralize any remaining bleach on the stains.
If you happen to be trying to remove mildew from color clothes, then you can use peroxygen bleach instead. In order to use this form of powdered bleach, simply add 2 tablespoons to one pint of hot water. From there, let the stain soak for at least a half hour, and then rinse before washing.
When you need to clean stains from garments, it can seem like a hopeless task. That said, if you do not want to wind up buying new clothes before they wear out for other reasons, then removing mildew will become a necessary chore. At the very least, if you have a favored garment, knowing how to remove mildew will enable you to avoid throwing it out before you are ready to do so.