How to remove mildew stains

Mildew is one of the most common household problems. colonies of mold will grow in wet areas, such as around damp basements or showers. These colonies cause a bad smell and can be very hard to remove.

Mildew is composed of fungi that feed on organic material. They prefer a humid environment and will spread when there is moisture present. Rust and dirt can also act as factors that promote mildew growth.

If you are finding mildew spots all over your house, it’s time to take action. There are several ways to remove these stains quickly and easily.

remove mildew stains

Mildew stains are caused by the growth of mold or fungi in damp and poorly ventilated environments. They can appear on fabrics, such as clothing and upholstery, as well as on other surfaces like bathroom fixtures, wooden furniture, and even outdoor patio furniture. It’s essential to address mildew stains promptly to prevent them from spreading and causing further damage.

In the following sections, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to remove mildew stains from different surfaces. Remember to test these methods on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire surface.

Removing Mildew Stains from Fabrics

Light Mildew Stains

For light mildew stains on fabrics, you can use the following method:

  • Create a solution by mixing 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda, and 1 gallon of warm water.
  • Wash the fabric with this solution.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly to remove any residue.

Heavy Mildew Stains

If the mildew stains are stubborn and heavy, try the following approach:

  • Make a paste by combining baking soda and bleach.
  • Use a small brush, such as an old toothbrush, to scrub the stains with the paste.
  • Allow the fabric to soak for 10 to 15 minutes in a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach (if safe for fabric) or sodium perborate bleach and 3/4 cup water.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly and launder it as usual.

Soaking Solution with Oxygen Bleach

For mildew stains on fabrics, you can also try using an oxygen bleach solution:

  • Follow the package directions to mix a soaking solution using oxygen bleach.
  • Soak the fabric in the solution according to the instructions.
  • After soaking, rinse the fabric thoroughly.

White Vinegar Soaking Solution

White vinegar is an excellent natural remedy for mildew stains on fabrics. Follow these steps:

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution onto the soiled areas of the fabric.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Apply baking soda to the wet area to fight the stain and odor.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Treatment

Another effective method involves using vinegar and baking soda:

  • Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution onto the fabric.
  • After 10 minutes, apply baking soda to the wet area.
  • Rub the baking soda into the stain.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly.

Bleach for White Cotton Fabrics

When dealing with white cotton fabrics, bleach can be the most effective solution:

  • Apply a solution of one part bleach to three parts water directly to the stain.
  • Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes.
  • Launder the clothing as usual.

Removing Mildew Stains from Other Surfaces

Brushing and Commercial Cleaner

For surfaces other than fabrics, follow these steps:

  • Brush off the mildew outdoors to prevent spreading.
  • Flush the surface with a commercial cleaner.
  • Apply amyl acetate to the stained area.
  • Pat the stain with an absorbent material dampened with a commercial cleaner.
  • Flush the surface with a commercial fabric or upholstery cleaner.
  • Allow it to dry.
  • Sponge the area with water.
  • Apply a diluted hand dishwashing detergent and vinegar.
  • Pat the stain with absorbent material.
  • Flush the surface with water.
  • Allow it to dry.
  • If any stain remains, use chlorine bleach if it is safe for the fabric.

Ammonia and Vinegar Mixture

Unfinished wooden patio furniture and picnic tables can be prone to mildew stains. Try this method:

  • Mix 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 gallon of water.
  • Use the mixture to clean the mildew off the furniture.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly.

Lemon Juice or Vinegar with Salt

For mildew stains on various surfaces, such as bathroom fixtures and painted surfaces, this method can be effective:

  • Soak a cotton pad in lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Place the pad on the stain and let it soak for several minutes.
  • Remove the pad and sprinkle the area with salt.
  • Rub the area with the salt and allow it to dry in the sun.
  • Rinse the surface and repeat if necessary.

Precautions Before Using Methods

Before applying any of the methods mentioned above, keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Test the method on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.
  • Use appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, when handling bleach or cleaning chemicals.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the area you are working in.


Mildew stains can be stubborn and frustrating to deal with, but with the right techniques, they can be effectively removed from various surfaces. Whether you’re tackling mildew stains on fabrics or other surfaces, the methods provided in this article offer practical and efficient solutions. Remember to follow the instructions carefully and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and the surfaces you’re cleaning.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can I use bleach to remove mildew stains from colored fabrics? It’s best to avoid using bleach on colored fabrics, as it can cause discoloration. Test the method on a small, inconspicuous area first or consider using alternative methods.
  2. Are there any natural alternatives to bleach for removing mildew stains? Yes, white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are natural alternatives that can be effective in removing mildew stains. These methods are safer for fabrics and surfaces.
  3. Can I use these methods on outdoor furniture? Yes, most of the methods mentioned in this article can be used on outdoor furniture. However, always check the manufacturer’s instructions and test the method on a small area first.
  4. How often should I clean mildew-prone surfaces to prevent stains? Regular cleaning and proper ventilation can help prevent the growth of mildew and the formation of stains. Aim to clean mildew-prone surfaces at least once every few weeks, depending on the humidity levels in your environment.
  5. Is it possible to prevent mildew stains altogether? While it’s challenging to completely prevent mildew stains, maintaining a clean and dry environment, adequate ventilation, and using mold and mildew-resistant products can significantly reduce the chances of mildew growth.

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Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.