How to Kill Mold on Upholstery

Joshua Duvauchelle

Mold is a common fungus found in many homes. Most homes have some level of mold spores, which can turn into visible mold growth if given a moist environment. Upholstery, such as curtains, mattresses and fabric-covered chairs, provides lots of fibrous surface area upon which mold can grow.

Not only can mold stain the upholstery, but it may also emit a musty smell and poses a respiratory health risk. Kill mold on upholstery to avoid these problems.

  1. Take the upholstered object, such as the chair or rug, outside. Brush the upholstery with a large broom or brush to loosen and remove mold growth. This act releases thousands of mold spores into the air and should be carried out away from doors, windows and inlets into your home.

  2. Vacuum the upholstery. Run the vacuum over the mold growth to suck out loose mold spores and cells that are entwined in the upholstery fibers. Immediately empty or discard the vacuum cleaner's bag or dust trap.

  3. Place the upholstered object in full sunlight for six to eight hours. The sun's ultraviolet rays have a natural sterilizing effect and the drying process will kill the mold. Hasten the drying process by directing a fan at the upholstery or setting up a portable heater near the object.

  4. Mix a cup of over-the-counter rubbing alcohol with a cup of water. Use a sponge or rag to wipe all moldy areas on the fabric. This kills mold on contact and may also remove mold stains. Avoid using the same sponge on fabric that does not have mold, as you may spread dormant mold spores.

  5. Spray down the upholstery with a liquid mold fungicide such as Allersearch's AllerMold or CRC's Heavy Duty Aerosol Mold Cleaner. This may help kill and clean away heavy mold growth in fabric.

  6. Use an upholstery steam cleaner. The heat of the steam will kill mold while the steaming process helps freshen the musty smell of the upholstery. If you do not own a fabric steam cleaner, you can rent one from a local hardware store or laundry shop.


Not fixing excessive moisture, the underlying cause of mold growth, will allow mold to grow back on your upholstered furnishings.