We’re halfway through October, and almost half of the days it has rained. What’s the significance of that? All the extra moisture is fodder for mold growth. The only way to determine whether mold is lurking in your home is to hire a professional mold inspection company, which will also target the root cause of the problem to prevent further infestation.

Next, it’s time to get busy: throw out anything that smells moldy. If the item is washable, there are steps you can take to remove the mold. But remember: The longer mold stays on a fabric, the worse it will smell and the more time it has to weaken and eventually cause rot.

To remove new mold from washable fabrics, add ¾ cup of white vinegar to your wash load. It may take a few washings with vinegar before all traces of the smell disappears. Once the smell is gone, wash your clothes with detergent.

Old mold growth:
If the mold is old and flakey, take the items outside (to avoid mold spores from spreading indoors), and one by one, brush off any loose mold growth. Be sure to wear a protective face mask and gloves. After brushing, leave the items outside in the sun to dry. The heat and light will help kill any remaining mold spores on the clothing. Then, wash the garment in vinegar, followed by a detergent wash.

If a mold stain persists, sponge the contaminated area with chlorine bleach (2 tablespoons bleach to a quart of water), obviously not a good solution for colored fabrics. For those, mix lemon juice and salt and leave on the mold spots for 10 minutes. After either process, rinse fabric well. Then launder as usual, and fully dry the fabrics to keep the mold from returning.