My Story: Homemade Laundry Detergent
Demystifying the Great Laundry Detergent Dilemma
I have a handmade quilt that was stored in a damp basement. It now has mildew all over it! How can I safely remove the mildew without bleaching it?
Vinegar is a good mold and mildew killer. Vinegar actually kills molds and mildews better than bleach. I would soak it in vinegar water. It might take several times, depending on how bad the mildew is.
Tanya in Ohio
I use Murphy's Oil Soap. You can find it in Wal-Mart and it is not very expensive. Just soak the quilt a day or so in it and it should come out clean. I have used this on stains, and it works great.
This happened to my grandmother's quilt from sitting on a deep freeze folded for too long, and I tried everything! Then I made a thick paste with OxiClean and water and used my hand to rub it in each stain. I then let it set for 24 hours and washed it in the machine on gentle with more OxiClean. (I put plastic on our table with the leaves in and then put the quilt on top during the application of the OxiClean paste.) I then dried it on the clothesline over another blanket, moving every so often as not to make dents. It worked! I couldn't believe my eyes. All of the dark spots were gone!
Stacy in Ohio
Borax is one of those often forgotten cleaners our grandparents swore by. To remove mildew from upholstery and other fabrics, soak a sponge in a solution of 1/2 cup borax dissolved in 2 cups hot water, and rub it into the affected areas. Let it soak in for several hours until the stain disappears, then rinse well.
To remove mildew from clothing, soak it in a solution of 2 cups borax in 2 quarts (2 liters) water. Of course, modern fabrics can be a bit more fragile than our grandmother's generation, so it's a good idea to test a hidden corner first for sensitivity, but so far I haven't found any problems.
I would suggest that you contact a fabric store (they may have knowledge on how to deal with your problem or a product to deal with this) and one or more antique dealers. Another option is to contact your local library and talk to the reference librarian about getting some information about removing mildew from books or the Internet for you.
Carol in Port Clinton, Ohio
I'd be happy to suggest a product that I have used for removing mildew around our home for years, as I have many allergies and it works great! I have never tried it on fabric, but would not be afraid to myself. However, I would try it on a small area first.
For mildew removal, I use a product(s) from National Allergy Supply, Inc., 1-800-522-1448. You buy the concentrate and mix it up, so it is quite economical. I buy both the mildew remover and the non-chlorine bleach, called All Purpose NAS-12 Cleaning Solution . You could try just spraying the No More Mildew and see if that takes care of the problem, but you would probably have better results by doing it the proper way. First use the NAS-12 to kill the mildew, and then use the No More Mildew to use as a protective barrier so the mildew does not come back.
It says it keeps the mildew from coming back for two years, if used properly, and I believe it does. I've been very happy with their products. They may look a little pricey, but they are of good quality and they do stand behind their products. Also, with these two, a little goes a long way.
Bonnie in AR
I used Listerine when removing mildew and the smell from some leather jackets. It worked like a charm and the strong Listerine smell went away in a couple days. It did not affect the color at all so maybe it will work for the quilt. Try some Listerine (I used the no brand yellow stuff because it's so much cheaper) on some other cloth item and make sure it works okay with fabric before trying it on your nice quilt.
Laurie D in Farmington, MN
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