THIRD QUARTER 2018 35 BULLE TIN NO. 491 Mold/Mildew On Fabrics What Is The Problem? Mysterious local dark colored spots and/or small splotches on a fabric. What Does It Look Like? Mildew stains can be any color from black to pink, but usu- ally appear as brownish, gold, yellow, gray, or black spots. Mildew stains appear locally at random and usually look like tiny “spray” splatters. In some cases, the fabric can have a foul, musty smell. Also, many times this type of staining is asymmetrical and will have the shape of a “cross” or “star” wicking out from the edges. What Caused It? Usually, mildew develops over a prolonged period of time during conditions of high relative humidity and/or warm, damp circumstances. Mildew is a fungus that grows on damp textiles in conditions of poor air circulation and little light. Can It Be Prevented? Dirty fabrics should by drycleaned or washed as soon as pos- sible after use and of course never left in a pile or crumpled up (especially while wet or in humid conditions). Unfolding and drying any wet textiles immediately can help prevent mildew growth. It is also important to store clean, dry clothes or household goods at home in an area that is cool with low relative humidity and good air circulation. Who Is Responsible? Responsibility for mildew stains rests with the person who al- lowed the fabric to remain for a long time in circumstances where the fungus thrives. Professional drycleaning or com- mercial laundering does not cause mildew. Is There A Remedy? In some cases, professional cleaners and launderers have spe- cial methods that may be effective on many mildew stains, but not all mildew can be removed safely from all fabrics and colors. By Jim Kirby, DLI Textile Analyst TABS T E X T I L E A N A LY S I S B U L L E T I N S E R V I C E This dress was left in a wet clothes pile and now has mildew and dye stains. This sheet was left wet after use for too long before washing, so black mildew spots appeared.