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Does Dry Cleaning Remove Mold Spores from Vintage Clothes?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Corto, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Corto

    Corto A-List Customer

    I just bought a fantastic vintage wool coat off of eBay, but the seller neglected to mention it stank of mold.

    Will dry cleaning kill the mold spores in the coat?
    I'm not just talking about removing the smell, but killing the actual spores, so there's no chance of them proliferating again.

    Anyone have any experience with something like this?
  2. Quality dry cleaning should do all that! But go for a full service...not the budget treatment some offer.

    Any chance to leave the coat in sunlight for while?
  3. Sillyrib

    Sillyrib Familiar Face

    I'd personally get rid of it. Mold spreads and can be dangerous to your health. I wouldn't let it in my house. If you are determined to clean it then I would use vinegar initially to soak it 3/4 in the wash. then dry in the sun inside and out. uv kills the spores. then repeat if necessary. if smell persists use smell absorbing elements like, baking soda, charcoal, kitty litter outside in the sun in a clear container.
  4. Corto

    Corto A-List Customer

    @JanSolo: I took it to a mom and pop dry cleaner I've been using for years. I spoke to two different people there, who gave me conflicting prospective outcomes. One person said she was "98% sure" that they could take care of it. The other was more pessimistic. As it's winter here, we're not getting a lot of UV rays, but someone with a science background assured me that if I left it outside in below-freezing temperatures it would kill the mold spores. (She also said that the intense heat of dry cleaning would do the trick as well.)

    @Sillyrib: Getting rid of it, of course, would be the only definite way to avoid the proliferation of mold. However, the rarity of the coat is prompting me to think irrationally and tempting me to keep it. When I get it back from the cleaner, I'll think about the vinegar treatment...

    I once had a pretty bad experience getting sick because of mold, so I'm a little torn here. I don't want to risk a repeat of that situation....but it's a damned amazing coat...

    Thank you both for your suggestions.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  5. It will be as good as new once it's been properly dry cleaned. The gaseous/liquid aliphatic compounds i. e. Cyclobutane etc. will deactivate/destroy and remove all mold spores. The bad smell will also be gone after dry cleaning... Remember: Full service. Maybe you will have to repeat that but chemical dry cleaning is the way to go.
  6. Corto

    Corto A-List Customer

    You know, not more than a moment ago, I was willing to get rid of it. But you're tipping the scales the other way. I think I'll get it cleaned twice and hope for the best. Maybe sequester it from my other clothing.

    (However, a Science teacher just told me that dry cleaning won't kill the dormant spores...)

    It's a shame the previous owner didn't take care of it. You'd like it JS (I saw your post with your leather trim work), it's a surplus Duffel Coat. With very dense, heavy wool. No idea how old it is, but photos of Duffel Coats in action don't do it justice. This thing is like armor.

    We'll see. I get it back from the dry cleaner next week and I'll go from there.
  7. Listen to Jan. it will be fine!
  8. Cooperson

    Cooperson One Too Many

    My vintage horsehide half-belt has a distinct musty smell about it but I can't see any evidence of mold on the outside. What would be the best treatment for this? Would dry cleaning be out of the question?
  9. ace12

    ace12 New in Town

    Unfortunately dry cleaners are NOT the best solution for mold removal! I had my vintage navy pea coat came back from the dry cleaner and in 3 months I had to bring it back again! While I'm writing this post, my pea coat is sitting directly in the sun! My local dry cleaner advised me never to store jackets in plastic bags because moisture can be trapped inside the bag, which could cause mold easily!!
  10. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    It's mould, not plutonium. Dry cleaning will kill anything - including the fabric if it's not done properly.
  11. Corto

    Corto A-List Customer

    I've spoken with three different dry cleaners. Each of them basically said the same thing: They couldn't guarantee they could get rid of all the mold. Two were optimistic, one was...less so. We'll see.

    I also read about the recommendation not to store clothes in dry cleaner bags. It has something to do with the fabric not being able to "outgas".
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011

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