Asked on Jun 11, 2013

Mildew on Curtains

Donna J
by Donna J
I followed the advice of so many hometalkers and made outdoor curtains from drop cloth I purchased from Lowes. After several days of rain and damp weather I noticed that the curtain on the right side is covered with mildew. Any ideas on getting rid of it and preventing it from coming back? Someone suggested scotch guard but how long would that last? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
The panel on the right is exposed to the weather. The one on the left is shielded by the wall.
The panel on the right. Totally exposed to the elements.
  13 answers
  • Rita C. - Panoply Rita C. - Panoply on Jun 11, 2013
    That's terrible! I can see you worked hard on making those curtains looks so fab. Here's an article I found from the Univ of FL - pg 6 shows what to do when it's discovered. Then, from Pinterest, I found this product (Mold Armour) to help prevent, but you'll want to read about the chemicals contained within it before you decide to use... good luck!.
  • The drop clothes are absorbing moisture which is their job to do. They are designed to soak up wet messes when painting etc. The issue arises you used one product to do the job of another. Wash the drop cloth in hot water and soap. Then dry fully this should remove the mold. A bit of Oxy Bleach may help as well. Once done you can get a scotch guard product that can be added to the washer to make the cloth more moisture resistant. Scotch guard in spray bottles is another method of preserving the cloth as well. You can also go to a camping store and purchase tent sealer and water proofing products that can be washed into the fabric or sprayed or brushed on. All of these prevent the canvas of tents from becoming moldy when put away damp after camping.
    • Katherine Katherine on Jun 04, 2018

      That didn't help mine...I have some that it never came out can I paint them??

  • Phyllis Wenzel Phyllis Wenzel on Jun 12, 2013
    Go to sporting goods store and purchase a product to spray tents which makes them waterproof. It comes in a spray can. I used this on our 2 patio umbrellas and it worked. Any sporting goods store that sells tents would have it.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jun 12, 2013
    brush off the mold, hang in sun all day. Use table salt and lemon and scrub, hang back out in sun. use borax and laundry detergent and wash hang back out in sun. if you can use bleach in your water use it. mold spores grow and I infect other areas of clothing. the sun can do amazing things
  • Junk Gypsee Junk Gypsee on Jun 13, 2013
    Doesn't smell so nice...but after it dries the smell goes away. I use a quart spray bottle with white vinegar and 40 drops of tea tree oil. I do this weekly...I would allow it to touch plants or anything green because vinegar is also a weed killer. I just spray in the folds and areas that are prone to collecting moisture. xoxo
  • Olga King Olga King on Aug 05, 2014
    When is the best time to spray mildew blocker treatment on to drop cloth curtains, after it rains or before it rains? I bought one at Home Depot called Mold Armour Mold blocker.Thanks much!
  • Mercedes Mallery Mercedes Mallery on Dec 29, 2014
    Olga, I bought the same product and it did not keep the mold from returning! I sprayed before and it reappeared, so sprayed again. Sorry it will return. I am going to try the suggestions above about using same product used on camping equipment and tents.
  • GrandmaCarol Speight GrandmaCarol Speight on Dec 29, 2014
    Might want to, AFTER you get it cleaned up, open the curtain after a rainy spell and allow the drop sheet to dry BEFORE you hook it back in place? They also have many out-side weather resistant material available to achieve this effect...albeit they maybe are 5-times the price as a drop-sheet. You did do a lovely job......
  • Capernius Capernius on Apr 18, 2015
    If it was my curtains/drop cloths, first thing I'd do is hang them in the sun, full sun....spray them down with vinegar....let them dry...launder them.....then hang them in the sun again....when they are dry, use a 3M water proofing product....when they dry, hang them up as normal.... if this happens only in the summer, check them every year for mold/mildew, & if there is any, follow the directions stated earlier. If there is no mold/mildew, spray the curtains with a mold/mildew preventative just to be ahead of the problem. Someone mentioned something about spores? Vinegar will not only kill the mildew/mold itself, but it will kill any spores/eggs/what they are called. The vinegar will kill it all.
  • To avoid such a situation you should have called in an expert mold or mildew remediation expert to get rid off it much earlier. This would have prevented the spread of the mildew and thereby the damage you have been experiencing. Hope now everything is fine. You can get some tips from my blog. Hope it helps.
  • Jody Jody on Oct 13, 2015
    I had this same problem. When I purchased the drop cloths I washed them and then sprayed Vectra on hanging panels (both sides). The first rain came and everyone of my panels looked filthy dirty. They were open the whole time so they could dry out also. To clean them I put 2 at a time in my washer with detergent and lots of clorox. Started the washer for about a minute to mix up the detergent and clorox, made sure all the fabric was under the water and then stopped the washer and let it sit all night. Then in the morning started it washing till it finished the cycle. They came out clean again. I'm guessing the drop cloth fabric cannot hold up to the moisture. I will be putting them out only when it is dry weather from now on.
  • Glenda H Glenda H on Oct 24, 2020

    I sprayed my drop cloth curtains that had mold on them with shout and then re-wash them with bleach and borax but it did nothing to get the stains out. But sitting next to me was a bottle of SPOT SHOT PROFESSIONAL CARPET STAIN REMOVER And Wala it took almost every bit of the mold out, it left a hardly noticeable little streak. Worked great for me maybe give it a try.

  • Dmholt4391 Dmholt4391 on Dec 30, 2021

    Painting is a good idea. But if you do manage to get the mold out, you might use one of the Scotch guard products on them to prevent it happening again.