How to Get Rid of Mildew on Curtains

Curtains, like most absorbent surfaces, are vulnerable to the damaging, odorous and health-endangering effects of mildew.

In most cases, you will not need to contact a mold removal specialist, as curtain mildew is more manageable than mildew appearing on certain other surfaces. Since you can remove and manually disinfect your curtains, you can tackle the problem with full force. In order to succeed, though, you will need to employ a method with proven effectiveness against the fungus.

Remove your curtains from their rods. Disassemble each hook individually and hang the curtains outdoors in direct sunlight. This will kill the active mildew as a preliminary measure before applying the necessary cleaning solutions. If sun-drying is not possible, you can achieve similar results with a blow dryer, space heater or dehumidifier.

Vacuum the dried curtains to remove the mildew spores. Use a thin hose extension and slowly glide over the entire surface, including inside creases. Wash out your vacuum filter or throw away the bag afterward, as it will contain many mildew spores.

Place your curtains in a washing machine. Add 1/2 cup of laundry detergent to the detergent dispenser and add 1/4 cup of color-safe bleach to the bleach dispenser, usually indicated by a triangular shape along a corner of the machine. Set the washer for "Delicate" and run one cycle. Bleach is a powerful mildew remover used for fighting fungi on many surfaces including fabrics. If your curtains are too delicate to machine wash, fill your bathtub approximately halfway with hot water, add 1 cup of bleach and allow your curtains to soak for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Hang your curtains to dry in the sun, ensuring that they remain fully stretched out for maximum sun exposure. Do not hang your curtains again until they feel absolutely dry. If you cannot dry curtains in the sun, use another method as described in Step 1.

Things You Will Need

  • Dehumidifier
  • Space heater
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum hose extension
  • Color-safe bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Protective mask

Tip

  • Before placing curtains in a washing machine, take a few moments to verify that the curtains are machine-safe. If you do not possess documentation for your curtains, visit the manufacturer's website.

Warning

  • If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems, always wear a protective face mask when working with mildew, as the spores may exacerbate these problems.