How do I Stop Mould in My Walk-In Wardrobe? 7 Simple Tips

“How do I stop mould in my walk-in wardrobe?” is certainly not an uncommon question but, although there’s a ton of information available regarding mould prevention and cleaning methods, most of it concentrates on the type you find in bathrooms and kitchens.

When it comes to wardrobe mould, the simplest solution is to prevent it from forming in the first place.

So let’s take a look at what this kind of mould is, how you can clean it and what you can do to stop it from ruining your clothing before it even appears.


What is mould and why does it grow in wardrobes specifically?

Mould is a type of fungus that grows in poorly ventilated spaces. It is more prevalent in winter or during rainy months but can occur at any time of the year and will cause an unpleasant, musty odour that will consume your entire wardrobe.

You will notice it by changes in the colour of your garments where it has eaten through the material, and it is more predominant on items made from cotton or linen because they contain cellulose. It is also common on leather items like shoes and belts and can completely destroy them.

Here are two reasons for wardrobe mould:

  • Condensation: An increase in humidity levels in a wardrobe is a common cause of condensation, which in turn promotes mould. Lack of ventilation is the main contributing factor to this and can occur if your walk-in is close to your ensuite. This is exacerbated by clothing and accessories that haven’t been worn in a while and don’t get aired as much as they should.
  • Wet Clothes: After doing the laundry, people often put their clothes away before they have properly dried. This dampness causes moisture to accumulate in places that don’t get ventilation or natural light, creating the perfect conditions for mould to grow.

How to identify if you have a mould problem?

Odour is the easiest way to identify mould as it will cause your walk-in closet to smell musty and unpleasant.

Should this happen, remove all your possessions and have a good look at your clothes and surfaces - it will appear in patches of black or green discolouration.  

how to stop mould in walk in wardrobes
how to stop mould in walk in wardrobe


The health risks associated with mould exposure

It's crucial to keep an eye out for mould in every part of your home, including locations you might not typically check such as the inside of your walk-in wardrobe.

Given the wet climate in the UK, it is not uncommon for mould and moisture to collect in these areas. And once discovered, it is important to keep it under control.

Breathing in the mould for long periods of time can have a number of negative health issues including tightness in the chest, coughing, or even asthma. People who suffer from mould allergies are at risk of having a more serious reaction.

What can you do to get rid of mould for good?

It is never pleasant to discover mould in your wardrobe and, as it can be difficult to get rid of, it is crucial to clean it out completely to stop it from coming back.

It is also important to note that bleach, even when diluted, is unsuitable for cleaning mould in any wardrobe as it can badly damage clothing, delicate woods and finishes. Instead, take a more gentle approach. If you are going to use a shop-bought product, follow the label instructions and conduct a small-scale test first to make sure it doesn’t have any adverse effects.

Our experts recommend the following cleaning method:

  • Before you start, block off the affected area to prevent the spores from drifting 7 into other parts of your home.
  • Mix equal quantities of white spirit vinegar and water together and apply the solution to surfaces that are affected using a clean cloth. This will get rid of the visible layer.  
  • Although the mould may appear to be fully gone at this point, it is possible that there may still be spores hidden deeper. To treat this, apply undiluted vinegar and leave it to dry completely for at least 30 minutes.
  • Next, rinse the affected surfaces with cold water and then towel dry. This should completely eliminate any residual mould that might be forming inside your walk-in wardrobe.
  • For clothing that has been affected, brush all the visible mould off with a toothbrush and then treat the area with a fabric stain remover. Leave your garments to soak for 30 minutes before washing them in hot water. Make sure you hang everything out to dry completely before packing them away.

Prevention tips to keep your walk-in wardrobe mould-free

Here are some tips on how to keep your wardrobe mould-free:

  1. Never store wet clothes in your wardrobe: Prior to putting your clothing back into your walk-in, it is imperative to ensure that it is completely dry. If it is wet outside, hang them near a radiator or some open windows for as long as possible.
  2. Make sure your wardrobe is free of any dampness: If you have condensation in your wardrobe, it is crucial to find out where it’s coming from and then research ways to lower the humidity levels and keep the interior air circulating as much as possible. This could include options like using a dehumidifier, opening windows and doors to increase airflow or using a fan.
  3. Avoid overfilling with too many items: If mould is a recurring problem, then declutter by removing some of your clothing. This will help to increase air circulation and stop the mould from spreading from one garment to the next. Tightly packed items can exacerbate the problem.
  4. Dry up any moisture: If your walk-in wardrobe gets damp in any way, dry it up as soon as possible and take measures to ventilate it more than usual for a couple of extra days.
  5. Check your shoes, belts, leather clothes, and luggage regularly: Mould tends to spread more quickly on shoes and other leather goods, especially in areas that have been exposed to human sweat. And since moisture normally comes from the floor, it’s likely that a mould problem will start with these items and spread to the rest of your walk-in if not caught in time.
  6. Include vent plates: Adding vent plates to the top and bottom of your wardrobe is an excellent idea, especially if you notice that the mould keeps coming back despite your best efforts to completely eradicate it. Correct ventilation makes it much more difficult for mould to grow.
  7. Install an extractor unit: A good air extraction system will help improve airflow overall and get rid of a lot of the humidity and condensation, thereby reducing the chances of mould growing in the first place.

Although mould is a nasty thing to have in your walk-in wardrobe, it can be prevented by using some fairly simple methods, allowing you to keep all of your treasured possessions safe and well-maintained.

Should you need any further advice on how to look after your walk-in wardrobe and its contents, contact one of our knowledgeable designers today.

With over three decades in the interior industry, the FCI London team is on hand to answer your questions seven days a week. 


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