Serratia marcescens, commonly called "pink mold," is actually a bacteria that thrives in dark, warm and damp conditions. Pink mold can cause discoloration and staining on fabrics, and if allowed to spread, can cause serious health problems. Remove pink mold stains from cotton with some everyday household items.
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Remove Surface Mold
Take the cotton fabric outdoors to avoid spreading mold spores inside your home. Using a stiff-bristle brush, rub the spot in a circular motion until all visible pink mold has been removed. Dry the fabric outdoors in direct sunlight for several hours to dry and kill any remaining bacteria.
Dip a sponge or soft cloth in a diluted solution of 2 tbsp. of color-safe bleach and 1 qt. of water. Gently blot the stain, working from the inside toward the edges. Let the cotton fabric rest for 10 minutes, then check to see if there is any remaining discoloration. Repeat if necessary, then launder.
Wash the cotton fabric in the washing machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Wash on the highest temperature that is safe for your fabric, using chemical laundry detergent. Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle to remove any remaining odor. Dry the fabric according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Prevent future growth of pink mold by controlling the heat and humidity levels in your home. Check plumbing, toilets and sink and shower fixtures for leaks, and use a dehumidifier to lower humidity levels. Store clothing and fabrics in cool, dry areas away from heat and moisture. Keep stored clothing in dry, sealed containers where they will be protected from bacteria and fungus.
Clean mold from fabrics in a well-ventilated or outdoor area. After brushing mold off fabrics, change your clothing to prevent spreading it in your home. If you have asthma or severe allergies, wear a protective respiratory mask when handling contaminated items. Carefully inspect areas where pink mold has been found, as there could be more pink mold present.