How To Remove Black Mold and Mildew From Pillows

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Your best is your refuge and where you spend countless hours restoring your strength. That being said, it is also an area that has a tendency to absorb moisture, bacteria, and dust from regular use. This can cause mold to develop on your sheets and pillowcases, or even on your pillows. Mildew, mold, and black mold thrive in damp areas which means that you can find mold not only on your bed but also on linens and pillows that have been left in storage. Not only is mold unsightly, but it can also be harmful to your health. We have put together an easy-to-follow guide that will help you get rid of mold and black mold in just a few steps.

The best way to prevent mold is by washing your linens and airing out your pillows on a regular basis. When storing your fabrics and pillows, always make sure they are dry and store them in a location well ventilated. If you do happen to encounter mold or black mold on your sheets, pillows, pillow covers, or even your mattress, make sure you clean them before using them again to prevent health complications. Some effective mold removal and mildew odor removal methods are:

  • Bleaching the fabric or pillows.
  • Hot cycle in the washing machine.
  • Allowing the affected fabric to dry in the sun.
  • Using a combination of lemon, baking soda & white vinegar to remove stains.

When prevention doesn’t work, these mildew scent and mold removal methods can effectively get rid of black mold for good. Keep reading below to find out how.

Why You Should Avoid Sleeping in a Room With Mold

Mold is a natural part of our environment, and it is always in the air, however, if it starts to grow in your room, you should avoid sleeping there until it’s removed.

According to the CDC, mold can trigger irritation, allergic reactions, and even become toxic in high concentrations. Of the hundreds of mold types that exist, only a few are typically found in homes. You can prevent mold growth and also remove mold if it has had a chance to take root.

According to another study, regular exposure to mold such as during sleep can result in nasal congestion, eye irritation, chronic cough, skin rashes, and even blurred vision. When children are exposed to mold at an early age, they are even at a higher risk of developing asthma.

How to Remove Mold On Sheets and Pillow Cases

Getting rid of black mold and mold stains from your pillow will depend mainly on the fabric type. What works for cotton and jute may not be as effective or safe for silk or leather for example. We have some suggestions that will help you get rid of mold from a variety of fabrics.

For all fabrics the first method is simple.


The sun is an excellent cleaner and natural bleacher.

It may sound like magic, but in fact it’s all thanks to the addition of titanium dioxide molecules. Activated by UV light, they trigger a reaction which destroys bacteria, algae and fungi.

Science Daily.

Place the affected fabric in the sun for several hours. Then use a clean brush with stiff bristles like the Laundress to brush away any dried mold spots.

The Laundress - Stain Brush, Removes Stains on All Fabrics, Soft Bristles Click here to get the Laundress on Amazon

You can also run the fabrics through a wash cycle once you have brushed the mold away, but make sure to allow them to dry completely before reusing them.


For white sheets and pillowcases, you can add a liberal amount of bleach to the wash cycle to kill the mold and help get rid of mold stains.

For delicate fabrics like silk or satin as well as colored fabric, avoid bleach at all costs.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white Vinegar is an effective way to kill mold and get rid of the stains on colored fabric, delicates, and also non-traditional fabrics such as jute, hemp, or wool.

Simply dilute white vinegar in water and then apply it directly to the areas on the sheets and pillowcases that have mold spots. This will kill the mold and also start to break down the stains which will make it easier to wash.

How To Remove Mold From Pillows

White vinegar and baking soda cleaning essentials for white bedding and getting rid of smells and bacteria

Cleaning mold off of your linens is pretty easy, but when it comes to cleaning your pillows you may need to get a bit creative.

Before using any treatment, check the label on your pillow to see if there are any specific washing restrictions.

Distilled White Vinegar and Baking Soda

To get rid of black mold on your bed pillow, simply combine

  • one part baking soda with
  • five parts distilled white vinegar and
  • five parts water in a spray bottle.

Spray it on the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes or longer until the mold starts to break down. Repeat, if necessary. Wipe it clean with a damp towel and let it dry fully.

You can buy a mold killer for pillows such as Home Armor which is effective for most pillow types. If you have a down pillow or even a memory foam, you may want to try a natural remedy instead.

Home Armor; Mold Armor Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, 32 oz - Pack of 2 Click here to buy Home Armor on Amazon


Bleach can be used on cotton, or polyester pillows to kill the mold, but it is not recommended for other material types. Always dilute the bleach before using it as a spot treatment or adding it to the spin cycle.

Lemon and Salt Paste

Lemon and salt paste is a great way to spot treat mold growth on memory foam and feather pillows. You can scrub the area with a homemade paste and then hand wash the pillow before allowing it to dry fully in the sun.

How To Get The Musty Smell Out of Pillows

When pillows or pillowcases are stored in damp areas, they can take on the smell of mold if they have not started growing mold themselves. This musty smell can aggravate allergies and generally make sleeping on them unpleasant.

You can wash your pillowcases and even your pillows, however, if the smell persists you made need to take it up a notch. The easiest way to remove the smell of mildew is by airing your pillows out in the sun, when possible. The sun will help burn away odors and kill bacteria that cause mildew funk.

Adding white vinegar to the wash cycle is another effective method of getting rid of the smell of mildew from pillows when a sunbath is not fully effective.

Baking soda is equally effective in removing bad odors like mildew from pillows. You can sprinkle some directly onto the pillow before covering it with a pillowcase your you can use Borax powder to reduce the mess of loose powder instead.

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For memory foam pillows that have taken on a musty scent, you may have to get more hands-on. The foam is much denser than traditional pillows, but you can liberally sprinkle it with baking soda to soak up the smells. After the powder has been sitting for a while, use the hand attachment on your vacuum to dispose of the powder and the musty smells.

How To Tell If Your Mattress Has Mold

Black mold on a mattress

Most people don’t pay very much attention to their mattresses, but when it comes to mold, it is important to stay vigilant. If you have mold or mildew on your pillows or sheets, it’s a good idea to check your mattress for mold as well.

One of the most common signs of mold on a mattress are unexplained stains that are multi-colored. Areas that may have developed mold which will change the color of the fabric on the mattress over time. If these stains are new and you are sure there have been no spills, chances are it’s mold.

Anytime there is mold in other areas of your room, it is important to check your mattress at the same time. When you walk into the room and notice a musty, pungent smell but can’t identify the source, it may be caused by mold hiding in your mattress.

Insects and parasites making your mattress their home are also a glaring sign that you may have a mold problem.

A close up of a bed bug in a mattress.
A close up of a bed bug.

How To Remove Black Mold on Mattresses

Mold is a menace but if caught early it is easy to contain. However, if mold has permeated your mattress, you will need to get a bit more aggressive if you want to get rid of it.

Borax is a great option that will kill mold and also brighten the treatment area. You can make a paste and scrub the mold away before allowing the area to dry completely.

Lysol is also an effective mold killer that will also leave behind a pleasing scent. Just make sure to dilute the solution before scrubbing the black mold away. For a more natural treatment, consider using white vinegar to kill the mold or a paste of lemon and salt.

Rubbing alcohol is a great way to kill mold instantly, but it won’t clear up the spots that mold leaves behind.

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