In a humid climate like Singapore’s, the spread of mold throughout the home is common, especially in small, enclosed spaces like the wardrobe. Known to grow fast yet difficult to remove, it’s a headache for many homeowners. Read on for more tips on how to identify the root cause of your wardrobe mold, how to prevent and remove it quickly!
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Causes Of Mold
It can be difficult to differentiate between the different types of mold since they look similar. Below, we describe the appearance of each of the common types of mold to help with identifying them.
Mold: Black or green and can appear to grow in mounds/ have a 3D look. Usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance.
Mildew: In its early stages, mildew looks white, yellow or grey and is powdery, growing flatter than mold for the most part. Over time, it turns black or brown. It can usually be found in moist areas like the bathroom and occasionally on the surface of damp clothing.
The root cause of mold is moisture. When there is an excess of moisture trapped in a closed area combined with a suitable place for mold to breed such as clothing made of breathable fabric like cotton, mold can thrive.
Similarly, if the surface of your closet is porous due to the type of wood used, or if the wood is not treated beforehand, mold may grow on it.
Here are the common reasons why you find mold in your wardrobe.
Human sweat trapped on articles of clothes like jackets and shoes aren’t able to dry properly or escape with bad ventilation. This normally occurs in closed closets or sealed plastic bags that trap moisture inside and prevent it from escaping at the same time.
A humid climate causes more condensation on the cooler surfaces, encouraging mold growth, especially on porous surfaces like our clothes and wardrobes made of wood.
Already Moldy Clothes
Natural fabrics like cotton and linen absorb moisture easily, causing it to be more likely to turn moldy. When you have moldy fabrics already in the closet, it spreads faster to other articles of clothing.
Check for sources of water around your wardrobe, whether it be a nearby window or an air-conditioning unit. Ensure that there’s no leakage into your wardrobe, as it will introduce moisture and hence allow mold to grow.
How To Keep Your Wardrobe Moisture/Mold-free
Ensure A Good Air Flow Throughout The Closet
One way to reduce the chances of mold growth in the closet is to improve ventilation throughout.
- Hang your clothes with a small gap between each of them so that moisture doesn’t get trapped in between them.
- Deep clean and declutter your wardrobe often (every few months). Get rid of any clothing that no longer fits, suits your style, or is discoloured by sorting them into bins for recycling, keeping and disposing. This way, you’ll also have less to clean out everytime you clean your wardrobe.
Also check out on StyleMag: 7 Helpful Tips To Decluttering Your Wardrobe & Ensuring That It Always Stays Neat
- Instead of keeping all your clothes in the closet, use vacuum bags for the ones you aren’t wearing regularly to seal out the moisture while minimising the amount of space it takes up. This will keep all your clothes fresh-looking while freeing up extra space in your closet for better ventilation!
Dehumidify Your Closet
- In a climate like ours, having a moisture-free wardrobe is next to impossible. Combat this issue by adding a dehumidifier in your wardrobe to absorb excess moisture and keep your clothes mold-free. If you have a full drawer, toss in smaller silica packets, mothballs or camphor balls instead, and replace them regularly.
- Individuals with walk-in closets or a large wardrobe with ample space may want to consider investing in a dehumidifier, especially if you have pricey or delicate clothes or leather goods that require a dry environment.
- Using a dehumidifier will also help to remove musty smells, commonly found in damp and humid spaces.
Never Store Damp Clothes
Ensure your clothes are completely dry before you store them in the wardrobe by hanging them in the sun or using a laundry dryer. Also, make sure that your hands are dry before folding clothes or organizing your closet. Not doing so will reintroduce moisture into the wardrobe, making them more prone to mold.
Similarly, store clothes that are to be reworn and not washed (like jackets or a pair of jeans) in a separate space. This will stop bacteria from spreading to your clean ones, and in turn, prevent molding as mold feeds on bacteria and dirt.
If they are damp from the rain, hang them on a drying rack in a sunny area so it can dry completely. If not, hooks on the back of a door of a dry area, for example, will do until you’re ready to wear them again!
Line Shelves To Remove Moisture
Use drawer liners to remove extra moisture in the wardrobe, as well as to prevent any moisture on the surfaces of the shelves from affecting your clothes.
Paper towels and newspapers are cheaper alternatives that others turn to as well, just remember to replace them often since they’re thinner and less durable.
Remove Moldy Clothes
Mold spreads fast, and the wardrobe is an ideal environment for it to thrive, given that natural fabrics like cotton and linen are more porous. If you discover moldy clothes, remove them away immediately from your closet to prevent the spread.
Here’s How To Remove Mold And Mildew From Your Clothes
- Soft brush for laundry
- 100 ml of bleach, diluted with 5 litres of water (1 part bleach to 50 parts water)
- Warm water
- Brush away any loose black spots of mold or mildew. Be careful in doing so, so that the spores don’t spread to surrounding articles of clothing!
- Soak for 5 minutes in the bleach mixture. For stubborn patches, soak for a maximum of an hour. You may want to wear gloves to prevent irritation from the bleach
- Rinse out the solution with warm water and wash it like you normally would.
- Dry thoroughly.
How To Remove Mold From Your Wardrobe Surfaces
The combination of humidity and small enclosed spaces like your wardrobe often results in the appearance of white or black spots on surfaces of your wardrobe, known as either mildew or mold. Here are two ways to deal with mold that is already in your wardrobe.
Please note that these solutions are temporary fixes! While these methods can remove mold on the surface, mold tends to eat away at the material it grows on, so the problem may reoccur. The best way to stop mold and mildew is to prevent them from starting to grow in the first place, by managing the humidity of the environment.
When removing mold, make sure to wear thicker gloves to protect your skin against irritation from the harsh chemicals as well as the mold.
- Undiluted white vinegar (diluted vinegar would be too weak to get rid of the spores properly)
- Misting bottle
- Microfiber cloth
- Clear the area of any items and spray the moldy surface generously with the undiluted vinegar.
- Leave for about an hour.
- Wipe down the surface with water and wait for it to dry completely before storing your clothes together with a dehumidifier.
With Chlorine Bleach
- 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) chlorine bleach
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) warm water
- Soft bristled brush
- Mix the detergent, bleach, and water together.
- Use the brush to apply it to the affected area and allow it to air dry.
- Finish by buffing the area with a clean, dry cloth.
Mold is not only unsightly, it can also cause illness to the very young and old, so it’s important to prevent the problem by clearing and cleaning out your wardrobe often! Let us know what other areas of the home you need help with cleaning.