Q.There is mould on my curtain linings, caused by condensation. I have tried applying Milton sterilising fluid, I have also tried scrubbing them with baking soda and dabbing with white vinegar (all tips found online!) None have been effective.
The curtains are dry clean only due to embroidery detail and interlining, and linings are sewn-in, so cannot be washed or soaked separately. Dry cleaning will not remove mould.
I’d appreciate any advice on how to remove the mould stains and prevent more appearing!
(Miss Dawn Bacon, 24 November 2008)
A.Mould and mildew will develop unchecked if the spores are not removed. A bleach solution is effective on window surrounds, but it is more difficult to remove from fabric.
On non-washable fabrics and upholstery, brush the spores off first, ideally outdoors, then spray the fabric with an anti-mildew solution. There are a number of branded products on the market. Some items may need dry-cleaning, and you should take professional advice if valuable textiles have been affected. On washable fabrics laundering is usually sufficient, but, depending on the severity of the mould or mildew, and the time that has elapsed since it first appeared, treatment may ultimately only fade the stains. Repeated treatments may be necessary.
On white fabrics, with the exception of nylon, mould should be bleached with a 20-volume hydrogen peroxide solution (one part to six parts of cold water). Household bleach is suitable for white cottons and linens which are not treated or have a specific finish.
On coloured fabrics, dampen the affected areas and rub with a block of hard household soap. Leave to dry outside in the sun or, in winter, by a sunny window. Launder as usual.
Another old-fashioned remedy for stains on linen is to mix 1 teaspoon of starch with 2 tablespoons of table salt and a few drops of lemon juice. Rub the mixture directly on to the stain and leave the linen in the open air for at least three hours. Then wash the linen in the usual way.
Alternatively, wet a bar of household soap and rub it on the stain. Then rub in some white chalk, for example, some tailors’ chalk used in dressmaking. Again leave the linen in the open air to dry. Moisten the stain and repeat the process. Wash the linen in the normal way.
As you can see, if you have no success with proprietary cleaning brands, there is no straightforward or 100 percent certain way of removing stubborn mould and mildew stains.
As a precaution against further stains developing, it is advisable to keep the surrounds of windows spore-free, by wiping regularly with a diluted fungicide preparation.