How to Remove Mildew From Polyester

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Things You'll Need

  • Bucket

  • 1/2 cup all-fabric bleach

  • Laundry detergent

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • Drying rack


Soak your mildew-stained polyester clothing in a bucket with diluted vinegar to kill mildew spores and loosen stains.

Hang mildewy clothing outside and allow the sun to kill the mildew as it dries the fabric. Brush mildew spores off, then wash as normal.

Substitute 1 cup baking soda for the vinegar in your wash cycle to deodorize musty-smelling clothing.


Always dry clothing completely before storing it in plastic storage bins. Any moisture left in the clothing will cause mildew to develop.

Mildew stains on polyester cause unsightly spots and unpleasant odors.

Polyester is a long-lasting synthetic fabric that's generally easy to care for. One area of caution for polyester fabrics is heat from a clothes dryer or iron, as either can cause the synthetic fabric to melt. Keep this in mind when removing mildew from your polyester fabric, but don't let it stop you from getting rid of the fungus. Using supplies and techniques safe for polyester ensures that you get rid of mildew stains without damaging your clothing.


Step 1

Keep a bucket handy in your laundry room for soaking stained garments.

Mix 1/2 cup all-fabric bleach and 1 gallon cool water in a bucket. Place your mildew-stained polyester garment in the bucket of diluted bleach solution. Soak the fabric for 30 minutes to kill the mildew spores and help remove stains.


Step 2

Wash your polyester clothes in a washing machine, using warm water. Add laundry detergent and 1 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle. Vinegar kills remaining mildew while also removing the stains and mildew odor.

Step 3

Hang your clothes to dry on a drying rack. If possible, place the drying rack outdoors so the sun can dry your clothing. Sunlight is a natural mildew killer and odor remover.



Mary Ylisela

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.