How to Remove Mildew From Fabric in Easy Ways

Updated May 18, 2020
Removing mildew from the mattress

Whether you have mildew on a shower curtain, clothes, or a couch, mildew remover for fabric will take away the unsightly stain and eliminate the foul odor. Find out how to eliminate mildew using commercial cleaners and home remedies with vinegar, borax, and baking soda.

How to Remove Mildew From Fabrics Without Bleach

Different types of homemade solutions are very effective at removing mildew. And they don't require any more products than what you have in your cupboard. Explore mildew fighting homemade cleaners using vinegar, baking soda, borax, and lemon juice.


Before you begin, you'll need to grab:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Scrub brush
  • Vacuum with a brush attachment
  • Mixing container

Before using any type of homemade or commercial mildew remover, always apply the product to a small hidden area as a test area to make sure the product does not damage the material.

Removing Mildew From Clothing With Vinegar and Baking Soda

For mildew on fabric, vinegar is the perfect bleach alternative. The following are the steps of a popular homemade method to remove mildew from fabric:

  1. Brush any loose mildew from the fabric outside your house.
  2. Create a soak solution that is 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water.
  3. Soak the clothing for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Put clothes in the washer.
  5. Add 1 cup baking soda in addition to detergent on the longest cycle.
  6. Allow the material to air dry.
  7. Repeat as needed until the mildew is completely removed.

Using Borax on Colored Fabrics, Shower Curtains, and Upholstery

Household fabrics can't easily be thrown in the washer like your clothing. However, if mildew has invaded your couch cushions or other fabrics, don't despair. In this case, borax will be your best friend.

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush to vacuum up loose mildew.
  2. In 2 cups of hot water, add ½ cup of borax.
  3. With gloved hands, dip a cloth into the solution.
  4. Wring it out well.
  5. Rub the mildew with the solution.
  6. Allow it to soak on the area until the mildew disappears.
  7. Rinse well with water.

How Do You Get Mildew Out of Fabric Blinds?

Windows and humidity sometimes create perfect conditions for getting mildew on your fabric blinds. Rather than dumping them in the trash, you can try laying them out in the sunlight. If that doesn't work, try the vinegar or borax mixtures. Another great choice is a citric acid scrub. For this scrub, grab some lemon juice and salt.

  1. After pulling down your blinds, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any loose debris. Taking them outside and using a dry scrub brush works well too.
  2. Use a cup of salt and enough lemon juice to create a paste.
  3. Use a cloth to rub the scrub on the fabric.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry in the sunlight.

Removing Mildew on Fabrics Using Bleach

If you have bleach lying around, it works perfectly to remove mildew from white fabrics and blinds. And the great part is all you need is a little bleach and water.

  1. Use a vacuum or bristle brush to remove loose fungi.
  2. Add 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  3. Dip a bristle brush in the mixture and scrub the mildew.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit on the area for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Rinse and dry well to prevent future mildew growth.

Commercial Products for Removing Mildew From Fabrics

Many commercial products made for removing mildew from fabric. Some of these products are made to work on specific types of fabric while others are manufactured to remove mildew from a multitude of different kinds of material.

Armada® MightyBrite® Non-Toxic Mildew Stain Remover

Sold as a powder, a sixteen-ounce container of Armada® MightyBrite® Non-Toxic Mildew Stain Remover makes up to four gallons of the powerful cleaning solution. Mighty Brite removes mildew and other organic stains chemically and works more effectively than chlorine bleach. This mildew cleaner brightens all colors and fabrics, will not cause the fabric to discolor or fade with repeated use, and is a disinfectant on mold, mildew, and other fungi. Armada® MightyBrite® Non-Toxic Mildew Stain Remover is safe to use on:

  • Curtains
  • Flags
  • Banners
  • Awnings
  • Cushions
  • Canvas
  • Sailcloth
  • Rope
  • Umbrellas
  • Throw rugs

Iosso Mold and Mildew Cleaner

Safe for color and fabric, Iosso Mold and Mildew Cleaner removes ugly mildew and mold stains, along with many other hard to remove stains such as bird droppings, tree sap, grease, oil, and blood. This mildew cleaner is recommended for use on:

  • Canvas
  • Awnings
  • Carpeting
  • Tents
  • Boat covers
  • Cushions
  • Umbrellas

3M Marine Mildew Stain Remover

Although this product is made for marine use, it can also be used to remove mildew from surfaces that are not boat related. 3M Marine Mildew Stain Remover is simple to use. You simply spray it on the mildewed surface, allow it to penetrate the area and wipe it off. 3M Marine Mildew Stain Remover is effective on:

  • Canvas
  • Sail fabric
  • Carpeting
  • Upholstery
  • Seat cushions
  • Life jackets
  • Patio furniture

Extending Fabric Life

Whether you choose homemade recipes or commercial mildew removers for fabric, cleaning the mildew stain and odor gives your fabric renewed life. With your new natural and commercial cleaning knowledge, you're ready for any mildew situation.

How to Remove Mildew From Fabric in Easy Ways