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Thread: Help - wet and moldy.

  1. #1
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Help - wet and moldy.

    My sister purchased fabric for me at a yardsale 3 weeks ago. There are 30 - 40 fat quarters and 20 - 30 clear plastic unsealed bags with 1 - 2 yards of fabric in each. When I got it yesterday and looking through the fat quarters on the bottom of the plastic tote they are in, they were wet and moldy.

    I know I am throwing all the fat quarters out, but would you also throw the fabric in the unsealed plastic bags out too?

    I'm thinking I should, but I need advice.

    Thanks!!
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 07-02-2012 at 05:01 AM. Reason: update title to reflect contents

  2. #2
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    I think I would give it all a whirl in the washer and dryer first... not much to loose except some soap, water and a little time and electricity. You may be surprised at the end results... Hope it works out well... Faye

  3. #3
    Senior Member sylviak's Avatar
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    I would wash everything before deciding what to throw out. If the fabric in the unsealed plastic bags has no mold, they may be useable. Before washing, trim the edges with pinking shears. This will keep the threads from coming loose and tangling everything. I'd sure hate to throw that much fabric out!

  4. #4
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    Hi Carol...I would pitch it all. We spend too much of our time and effort in putting together a nice gift for someone or for ourselves and we want it to last. You cannot be sure where this fabric even came from. It may not be quality fabric to begin with.

  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I agree with Beebee - if you don't successfully remove all of the mold, it can cause problems later. That being said, if you really want to try, here is a good site http://www.ehow.com/how_7021088_way-...on-fabric.html
    Nancy in western NY
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  6. #6
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    The Ehow article is great. I could not throw out fabric without trying to save it. If you can save even 50% of it, you are so far ahead!

    One thing I would add....Odoban, Eucalyptus scent, is a wonderful odor remover. It is, also, a disinfectant. If, after you wash & do everything else, the smell persists. Try soaking the fabric in an Odoban solution...less than 1/8 cup per washer load. Odoban can be purchased at Sam's Clubs & Home Depot by the gallon. I use it in all my wash to get rid of odors, especially sweat. It was the only thing I found that got rid of cigarette smoke smell in carpeting in a trailer we purchased that had been used & abused.
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  7. #7
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    "One thing I would add....Odoban, Eucalyptus scent, is a wonderful odor remover."

    Thanks for recommending this -- I'd never heard of it -- and I love the smell of Eucalyptus.

    I'd wash the fabric, too. You might get lucky and salvage more than you think.
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  8. #8
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    I would also try washing everything first - in hot water - LIKE COLORS TOGETHER - so if in case you had a bleeder, it wouldn't do much noticeable damage.

    (Depending on how moldy things were - if it was just 'a touch' - I would give it a try - if the fabrics are the color of charcoal - I would also toss them)

    I think I would consider wearing rubber gloves while handling the fabrics, though.

    This is another 'it depends' situation -

  9. #9
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Just removing the odor will NOT kill/remove mold/mildew spores. Before washing, I would give them a good soaking with vinegar and hot water. Use a bucket or some other small container, not your washing machine. Use about a cup of white vinegar, to a gallon of HOT water and let the fabric soak (stirring, every now and then), for several hours. That should kill any mold/mildew spores, as well as get rid of any odor. After the soaking, wash the fabric (you can pour the soaking water into the washer, with the fabric), as usual. The detergent should remove the vinegar smell.

    Some of the fabrics may bleed, so it's best to do like colors, together.

    BTW, I agree with throwing out the obviously molded fabric!
    Last edited by Neesie; 07-02-2012 at 07:48 AM. Reason: decided to add something
    Neesie


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  10. #10
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    What about adding peroxide to the wash water?

    (I don't know what it does to fabrics - I know it used to be used in cleaning wounds - pour it in/on - watch it bubble - swab out the goop - redress the wound)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    What about adding peroxide to the wash water?

    (I don't know what it does to fabrics - I know it used to be used in cleaning wounds - pour it in/on - watch it bubble - swab out the goop - redress the wound)
    I use peroxide to pre-treat whites with stains. It acts as a mild bleach and has gotten out all mannerr of spaghetti, blood, red wine stains. Never tried it on colored clothing.

  12. #12
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    If it has mold on it, I would suggest wearing some sort of mask as well as gloves while sorting and washing.....
    Deb Watkins - I woke up today on the right side of dirt. It is a good day.

  13. #13
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    BE careful using peroxide. It is a bleach. As a nurse, I always used it to get blood off my uniforms. I would be careful using it on colors unless you don't care if the color fades. I question peroxides' ability to kill the mildew spores also. If they aren't killed, they will come right back.
    Sue

  14. #14
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    I just hate the thought of throwing all that fabric away. But I'm concerned about using the fabric, even though it is in plastic, that was near the fat quarters that definately have mold on them.

  15. #15
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    hmmmm.... i am in the pitch it camp. there are other fabric hauls to discover with less health risks.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    I noticed that nobody ever mentions using Borax nor Washing soda to remove odors. They have always been reliable for me.

  17. #17
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Vinegar can be very effective--soak like colors over night in a bucket with two cups of white vinegar. Drain and wash as usual with hottest water cycle and a cup of vinegar with the detergent. BTW, when I use this to remove eau de German Shepherd Dog after my son and his dogs visit (washing machine, only) my laundry does NOT smell like pickles--just clean and fresh. Dry the fabric outside if you can. Sunshine is a germicide and mildew killer.

  18. #18
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews View Post
    I noticed that nobody ever mentions using Borax nor Washing soda to remove odors. They have always been reliable for me.
    Borax, yes. I meant to mention that but couldn't remember the name off the top of my head. That's worked well for me in getting smells out.
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  19. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I'd wash it first too with oxiclean to start. It may take a few cycles to get the smell out. However, once washed and dried, I would give the fabric a stress test. If it has been stored improperly for a long time, it can be brittle and of poor quality.
    Martina
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  20. #20
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    When you all mentioned Borax and vinegar, would you wash the moldy fat quarters in that or just the fabric? I'm planning on throwing those out. I don't want to take any chances with the mold.

  21. #21
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol W View Post
    When you all mentioned Borax and vinegar, would you wash the moldy fat quarters in that or just the fabric? I'm planning on throwing those out. I don't want to take any chances with the mold.
    I would throw out the moldy FQs. My vinegar suggestion (on page 1- one cup white vinegar, to one gallon HOT water) was for the fabric stored in plastic bags, which may have mold/mildew spores in it.
    Last edited by Neesie; 07-02-2012 at 01:33 PM.
    Neesie


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  22. #22
    Senior Member ljfox's Avatar
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    I would think that any mold spores would be killed in the dryer as long as you dried the fabric thoroughly. I would toss the moldy ones and the ones that don't show mold, use one of the methods mentioned previously and then dry them well in a hot dryer and you should be good.

  23. #23
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    No way would I throw it out without first trying to save it!!! You may have a quilter's goldmine there - wash it all in the hottest water possible using Odo-Ban or Oxi-Clean. Then I'd dry and iron it - see what it looks like after! It is so against my grain to toss fabric without first trying everything possible to bring it back to life.

  24. #24
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    I would cut off the areas that cannot be saved and I would do this outside. I would then hang the fabric or leave the fabric outside exposed to the sun because sunlight kills mold spores. The brighter the sunlight and the longer outside the better. I would then sort the fabric putting like colors together and start washing load by load with bleach for whites, colorfast bleach for colors or you can use vinegar in the washes in place of bleach. Instead of drying in my dryer I would hang outside again to expose to more sunlight. If that doesn't work then I would have no recourse other than to toss it. But like I said I would do the beginning part outside. I would not want the mold spores in the house. Good Luck.

  25. #25
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    Three weeks is kind of a long time to wait to start doing anything with the fabrics -

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