How to Remove Mildew From Clothes or Baby Blankets (without ruining them!)

I never had to remove mildew stains from clothes or blankets before I had baby

But then again, there are lots of things I never had before I had a baby (uneven boobs, for example) and I guess new things come with the territory. Learning to remove mildew from clothes wasn’t on my list of things to do today, but I’m glad it’s something I know how to do now!

It’s been about 1072 degrees here this month, and I am trying REALLY hard to stay on top of the laundry… but failing apparently.

1072 degrees + an abundance of wet spit-up baby things = mildew.

(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)

This morning, I discovered mildew on a baby blanket (ick). And, when I say “I discovered mildew”, what I really mean is: I’ve been up for three nights in a row with the teething baby, the house has fallen apart, but this morning I was terribly proud of myself for having at least achieved clean laundry the day before.  I grabbed the blanket bleary-eyed straight out of the dryer and went directly to my mom’s for coffee where she pointed out I was wiping up spit-up with a blanket that had mildew on it. (Ick.)

If you’ve ever tried to machine wash mildew out… you know you’re fighting a losing battle there. It’s sort of like removing yellow armpit stains.  A washing machine just does not know how to remove mildew from fabric, even though I’m sure it wants to.

We just can’t afford to be throwing out all the blankets and little things that get mildew when it’s 1072 degrees. (Plus it was one of these little blankets, and they’re pretty nice, so I wanted to hang on to it.)

Fortunately, my mom took the time to show me that it’s really easy to remove mildew from clothes and blankets! You just need scalding hot water, bleach (or colorfast bleach for brightly colored things), and a toothbrush.

You might think that if your mildew stain has been through the dryer then you’re stuck with it forever – not true! (My mom proved this to me this morning with my mildew-y blanket… which had, in fact, JUST come out of the dryer – ‘member?)

How to remove mildew from clothes and blankets

Follow the below instructions to remove mildew from fabric – if you don’t have a laundry sink, do this in your bathtub!

how to remove mildew stains from clothes and blankets

1 ) Run SCALDING HOT water over the mildew on the fabric. If the water from your tap comes out steaming (hot enough to cause a burn) that is hot enough. If not, boil the kettle and use that! We did this at my mom’s house, where the water is literally hot enough to burn you, so we didn’t need to use the kettle.

how to remove mildew stains from clothes and blankets

2) Use a toothbrush to gently apply bleach directly to the mildew spots (colorfast bleach if you are doing this on a colored item! When you’re using bleach, obviously you should always test a small inconspicuous area on your item first. Bleach will totally take the color out of some things). You can very gently rub at the spots, or even rub the material together. (Especially if it’s a delicate material.) If your mildew is on something brightly colored, maybe try these tips for removing mildew before you try bleach!

(I didn’t bother to spot test this one, since the design is printed on – not woven in – so that means bleach will generally not hurt is. Plus, I figure that whatever is mildew-y is ruined anyhow if I can’t the mildew out, so I wasn’t AS worried about the bleach taking the color out of the blanket since I wasn’t either going to fix it or throw it away anyhow.)

how to remove mildew stains from clothes and blankets

3) You will be able to SEE the mildew disappearing. If you can’t SEE it disappearing, add more bleach.

how to remove mildew stains from clothes and blankets

how to remove mildew from fabric

4) Hand-wash the spot with laundry detergent and hot water. This is very important because the soap stops the action of the bleach… if you skip this and just rinse, the bleach will destroy your clothes / blanket etc. (Depending on the type of fabric you’re treating, remember to be careful with the bleach!)

how to remove mildew stains from clothes and blankets

5) Rinse with more HOT water! YAY! No more mildew!

how to remove mildew from clothes

Do you have any more great tips for removing mildew from fabric?

6 thoughts on “How to Remove Mildew From Clothes or Baby Blankets (without ruining them!)”

  1. Thank you for adding in the tip about the water needing to be scalding hot, also thank you for being so honest about motherhood. I definitely remember those mornings. Love your website name it’s very cute. I’ll definitely be following.

    Reply
  2. omg it worked. Thank you so much. With our mom powers combined, we can handle it all

    Reply
  3. I had to laugh at your way of describing things! Yep you have to have a sense of humor to survive motherhood. Just wondered if you knew about removing formula stains on baby clothes using bleach and dishwasher detergent (like Cascade). This is one that you have to do before the stain gets set in but it does a fantastic job. wish me luck on my mildew problem!

    Reply

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