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University of Illinois Extension


Treat stains as soon as possible after staining. The older the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.

All stain removal methods should be applied prior to laundering washable garments. Stains that have been laundered and dried are almost impossible to remove.

Washable Fabrics

Steps to Clean

Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Detergent
  • Bleach
  1. Shake or brush the item outdoors.
  2. Pretreat darkest stains with heavy-duty liquid detergent.
  3. Launder in hot water with a heavy-duty detergent.
  4. Bleach as safe for fabric.  Mildew attacks and destroys fibers, so bleaching may not restore fibers to white.


Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Detergent
  • Vacuum
  1. Remove loose mold from outer coverings of rugs and carpets brushing with a broom in the outdoors to prevent mildew spores in the house.
  2. If the surface is vacuumed, remove and dispose of the bag to avoid scattering mold spores in the house.
  3. Dry articles by using electric heater and fan to carry away moist air.  Sun and air will stop mold growth.
  4. If mildew remains, sponge surface lightly with thick suds of detergent and wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Be sparingly with the water on the surface.
  5. Mildew carpets and rugs should be thoroughly cleaned and dried.  Dry in sun if possible. 
  6. Contact commercial cleaning company in extreme cases.  If mold has grown into the inner part of the flooring, contact commercial rug cleaner.  The item may be not be cleanable and will need to be thrown out.

Steps to Clean


What you will need

  • Ammonia

Steps to Clean

  1. If possible, take the item outdoors and brush off as much mildew as possible.  This will prevent scattering the mold spores in the house.  If this isn’t possible, vacuum the surface to draw out more of the mildew.  Afterward, replace the vacuum cleaner bag or remove the canister and clean outside. (To prevent more mold spores in your house)
  2. Mix one cup of ammonia with one cup of cool water. (Caution: Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia – fumes are hazardous)
  3. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the ammonia solution.
  4. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until the stain disappears.
  6. Sponge with cold water and blot dry to remove the ammonia solution.
  7. Dry thoroughly.  Use a fan or a hair dryer on the “cool” setting to facilitate drying.