How to Remove Mold from Furniture Fabric

Mold on fabrics is a natural occurrence, but it can be frustrating and difficult to get rid of without damaging the appearance of your furniture – but how do you safely remove it from your favorite fabric items?

Bleach is a common ingredient used in many store-bought mold remedies, but its powerful stain and mold removal properties mean it should be avoided when it comes to fabrics, writes The chlorine in bleach will remove colored pigment from household materials, so it’s best to avoid commercial mold removers when you find mold on upholstered furniture – but what are the best alternatives?

Mold and mildew appear when there is moisture and heat, which is then absorbed by upholstered furniture such as curtains, sofas and mattresses, presenting as dark green stains of mildew-smelling bacteria.

Everything from cooking and showering to drying clothes and even breathing can contribute to the moisture levels in our homes, so learning to limit mold growth around your property is essential to learning to live with this common household nuisance.

What’s the difference between mold and mildew?

Mold grows under the surface of materials, penetrating the fabric that looks moldy.

Mold is a visible element that grows on the surface and is much easier to remove.

Treating mold and mildew is a joint effort, as you need to target deep penetrating mold to prevent visible mold from returning.


How to scrub mold from fabric

While bleach is considered a surefire way to remove mold spores, there is widespread controversy over its durability in cleaning mold from fabrics, with many experts claiming that it merely brightens surface spores rather than targeting the growth of deep-rooted bacteria.

While mold and mildew can be cleaned fairly easily, preventing the growth of these nasty bacteria on your furniture begins with prevention through simple measures such as airing and dehumidifying your home.

The first step in removing mold from upholstered furniture is to vacuum up loose particles before removing deep-rooted debris with a liquid cleaning solution.

People with allergies and asthma are especially susceptible to irritation caused by mold spores, and removing them can be dangerous if you suffer from them yourself.

Wear a mask and gloves and ventilate your property when removing mold to limit exposure to spores in a confined space, and throw away any cleaning products used when working on furniture.

White Vinegar

You can get this homemade solution right in your kitchen cabinet. It is a powerful mold and mildew remover that is gentle on your fabrics, especially leather and fabrics.

Pure white vinegar is said to kill 82 percent of mold, so this natural solution provides a reliable recipe against mold.

It’s best to use a sprayer and spray it directly on the affected area.

White distilled vinegar can be poured undiluted into a spray bottle to get rid of mold on furniture.

Once you have treated the affected area, leave it for about half an hour, then rinse with clean water and leave it to dry.

Isopropyl alcohol

Fill an empty spray bottle with equal parts warm water and high-proof isopropyl alcohol for a quick solution to mold and mildew.

Some rubbing alcohols contain dyes that can leave a film-like layer on fabrics and stain them even more, so always choose isopropyl alcohol, which is less likely to leave stains on your fabric.


Essential oil-based cleaners, such as grapefruit seed or tea tree oil, may seem tempting as a fresher-scented home remedy for mold. But keep in mind that oil stains fabric, so it’s best to avoid using oil blends or bleach.

Direct sunlight is great for mold-treated furniture because it dries the surface, lightly bleaching any dark spots left by mold spores.

Always test the solution on an inconspicuous area of fabric to make sure it does not discolor the surface.

Curtains are especially susceptible to mold and mildew growth because they are close to windows, which are prone to condensation and excess moisture.

You can easily minimize condensation by following these simple steps:

Insulate ceilings, floors and walls

Improve the insulating properties of your windows by closing curtains/blinds every day as the sun goes down.

Place curtains or blinds as close to the wall as possible to trap air at the window.

Draw the curtains to the floor to keep air from escaping from underneath them.

Switch to double-glazing in older homes and check any existing double-glazing for faults that may need repair.