How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please. | Taste of Home Community
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How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

Last post Feb 11, 2008 7:26 PM by Widdle_NY . 4 replies.

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  • How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

    We had a leak in the closet where the suitcases were.   Does anyone know what I could use to get rid of the mildew and the stink?  The suitcases are fabric.  Thanks in advance for your help.



    Nature is the 'Great Mysterious' ... the religion before religions. Peter Matthiessen, Indian Country

  • Re: How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

    Hey Widdle!!  My initial reaction was to say brush it off and then spray with something like Lysol...but I checked via Google and got some info that might help:

    Clothing and Fabrics

    Remove mildew spots as soon as you discover them. Brush off surface growth outdoors to prevent scattering the spores in the house. Sun and air fabrics thoroughly. If any mildew spots remain, treat washable articles as described below. Dry-clean non-washable articles. Wash mildew-stained articles once with soap and water, rinse them well and dry them in the sun. If any stain remains, use one of the following bleaches:

      1. Lemon juice and salt. Moisten stain with lemon juice, spread on salt and place in the sun to dry. Rinse thoroughly. Use with care on colored fabrics.

      2. Perborate bleach. Mix one tablespoon sodium perborate bleach and one pint of water. Use hot water if it won't damage the fabric, otherwise use lukewarm water. Sponge or soak the stained area. Allow to remain one-half hour, then rinse. Test on colored garments first.

      3. Chlorine bleach. Mix two tablespoons of liquid chlorine bleach with one quart of warm water. Sponge the stain or soak the stained area in the solution. Allow the bleach to remain on the fabric from five to 15 minutes, then rinse.


    An additional soaking in weak vinegar (two tablespoons to a cup of water) will stop further bleach action. Never use a chlorine bleach on silk, wool, or Spandex fabrics. Some fabrics with wash-and-wear or other special finishes may be damaged by chlorine bleaches. Articles with such fine finishes usually have a warning label or on a hang tag attached to the garment when it is sold.

    Upholstered Articles, Mattresses

    First, remove loose mold from outer covering by brushing. Do this outdoors if possible. Run a vacuum cleaner attachment over the surface to draw out more of the mold. Do everything conveniently possible to dry the article, such as using an electric heater. Sun and air the article to stop mold growth.

    Another way to remove mildew from upholstered furniture is to wipe it with a cloth wrung out in a solution of one part denatured alcohol to one cup of water. Dry thoroughly.

    Use a fungicide available in aerosol cans to get rid of musty odors and mildew. You can use vapors of paradichlorobenzene or paraformaldehyde in closed areas. Mildew that has reached the padding of cushions and mattresses must be cleaned by a storage company that has facilities for fumigation.



    Ezra saw conspiracies.  

    He lived his life camped out on the grassy knoll.

  • Re: How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

    Hi Widdle ... You could also try ... taking the suitcases outside, sprinkle cornstarch on the fabric and brush them off with a stiff brush, let them sit outside in the sun for a couple of days - should take some of the smell and the surface mildew out.

    To get the stains and the remaining odor out, you could try going over them with white vinegar in warm water, let them dry in the sun.  Vinegar kills mildew, so does sunlight. 

    If the closet smells bad, try washing it with vinegar in hot water.

    Clorox will also kill mildew, but is toxic and shouldn't be used in the house (and usually smells worse than the mildew).  And it would probably ruin the fabric on the bags.


  • Re: How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

    From what I can find, unless these are very expensive suitcases, i think I would get rid of them and get new ones.  If they are expensive, it would be easier to see if a fumigating company could get rid of the mold and smell. 

    This site will tell you in detail how to get rid of it on all surfaces--

    But with a suitcase, it would be kind of hard to soak it in any kind of solution.  You will need to treat that closet, too.

    Mildew and mold are such horrible things to get rid of.    Some friends of ours had to move out of their house and leave all of their furniture and appliances.   She was able to save most of her Indian doll collection and other things, but it was sad that they couldn't get rid of the mold.  It was the city/county's drainage ditch that made water seep into their house.  The city and county had to pay them for their house.

    1. Click for Rochester, Minnesota Forecast    

  • Re: How to get mildew off fabric suitcases, please.

    Thanks so much for your replies.  These suitcases are fairly new and haven't been used that much, but I will deep six them if I can't clean them up.   We are supposed to have a couple of sunny days and temps in the fourties this week, so I just might try that first.    It's so me.  The easiest and fastest way to do it will always be the one I pick at first.  Thank you all for answering me.  That's why I love this place.   There's so much wisdom in this kitchen.  And, pretty nice folks too!



    Nature is the 'Great Mysterious' ... the religion before religions. Peter Matthiessen, Indian Country