How Should I Treat Items Musty from Storage?

Alan Spielvogel |

Q: A customer has some garments that have been in storage for seven years and have a musty smell. I haven’t seen the garments yet, so I don't know if they can be wetcleaned. What would be the best way to handle them?
A: The musty odor may indicate that the garments contain mold or mildew. Inspect the garments for discoloration or damage caused by moisture or fungal growth from mold or mildew.
Wetcleaning is the most efficient way to service these garments. To remove the odor, use a deodorizing product — preferably an antimicrobial agent, not a masking agent. Your distributor most likely sells these products. Discoloration caused by mold or mildew can often be removed by soaking the garments in sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate.
If the garments must be drycleaned, use a deodorizing agent that is compatible with your solvent. Some of these agents can be sprayed onto the garments after drycleaning. The garments may have to be ozoned after drycleaning if the odor is still objectionable.

About the author

Alan Spielvogel

National Cleaners Association (NCA)

Technical Director

Alan Spielvogel is technical director of the National Cleaners Association (NCA).


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