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Got mould all over spare pillows and duvet

Misty Avich

I have ADHD
V.I.P Member
We have some spare pillows and duvet that have been sitting in the spare room for quite some time, and the pillows have mold on and the duvet smells of mould but I can't see any mould on it.

I've hung the duvet over a door to air it out, and I've scrubbed the pillows with hot water and white vinegar but it doesn't seem to have gotten rid of the mould smell, the apartment just reeks of mould and vinegar mixed together. It's making me feel sick.

The duvet is too big to go in the washing-machine and I'm not sure if the pillows can go in there. I'm not sure what they're stuffed with, it's not feathers. Maybe some sort of fluff? The duvet is quite thin (perfect for summer) and not sure if that's stuffed with fluff too but I hope there's no mould inside it.

The thing is we can't afford to buy new duvets and pillows, nor go to the launderette or dry cleaners. We can't put the pillows and duvet outside because everywhere has overgrown and it's the landlord's job to maintain the environment around the apartment but they won't bother, even after sending them emails reminding them to. I'd do it myself but I can't afford a lawnmower or a strimmer.

See what happens when you have no spare money and your landlords neglect the place? :rolleyes:
I have a relative staying this week and I want to get the duvet and pillows clean of mould before she comes, because I do not want her sleeping with mouldy bed linen as that's totally unfair and cruel.

Ah, help! What to I do?
 
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Sometimes mold can affect entire apartment blocks or buildings and be in the walls and such, making it difficult to treat any moldy spaces where the source of the mold isn't localized with one's own apartment or housing space.

I'm not sure what to suggest. You seem to have already done the right thing with the hot water & white vinegar in terms of cleaning.

Some people would move from a moldy space, but you do mention money being an issue so I guess that is troublesome that you cannot afford to either have it repaired somehow or to move to another place?
 
You're not going to want to hear this, but they might be beyond saving. I would say the pillows are done for, you're probably going to need to donate one of your pillows to your relative and make do with a cushion or folded up clothes while they stay. The duvet might be usable for a couple of weeks if you give it a decent clean at a launderette and use the dryer until it's bone dry, but the spores tend to just stick around, and humans tend to create humidity. You'd need to play it by ear. Would it be possible to wash it yourself in the bath, squeeze out as much as you can, then take it to the launderette for a spin cycle (if they have a separate spinner, some do) and into the dryer? Might be a bit cheaper...
 
Mould can be pretty invasive once it gets a hold and it's not easy to get rid of. Depending on what species is most dominant it can cause a lot of health problems too. I imagine that in your climate you'll have carpet on the floor, mould grows under the carpet where you can't see it and so it seems to always come back quickly whenever you try to get rid of it.

Most things that are toxic to mould are also highly toxic to humans, and it will live through a wide range of temperatures. Drying it out doesn't kill it, it just makes it go dormant. There is one thing that will kill it completely though - PH shock.

Rapid swapping back and forth between acidic and alkaline. Wash with vinegar as you did, when it's dry wash with carb soda, let it dry then wash with vinegar again.
 
Do you have a laundry nearby? To fix the duvets etc you need very hot water, what we used to call in the olden days a "boil wash". If you can't get the duvet into the machine, I think your best plan is trying to find a lady/laundromat nearby, though they are getting kinda rare these days. They tend to have huuuuuuge drums that will easily accommodate the duvet and probably your pillows in one load.

You need to get them in a good 90 degrees, probably a good idea to use biological washing detergent, however some people can have a skin reaction to this. The other option is to wash the bedding in bleach if the laundry allow you to put it in the machine. Once they are done put them in one of the big dryers at the laundry and get them thoroughly dry.

Whatever you do, don't try to force them into your washing machine if they won't go in fairly easily. I learned this the hard way when it hit the spin cycle and the friction caused the door to shatter into pieces :oops:

You can get scented bleach that will make the laundry smell like lavender or lemon etc. Generally bleach won't leave a smell if it goes through a wash cycle.

Bleach kills proteins and I've not found a better way to get rid of mould. You probably already know that bleach shouldn't be mixed with other chemicals as it can be dangerous.

This is just what I would do if time was a big factor. I'm not sure, but Vanish etc is also a bleaching agent, but I'm not sure about how effective it is with mould.
 
People are suggesting the launderette as part of the solution to her issues, but Misty has stated that she cannot afford the launderette in her opening post.
 

What to Throw Away​

Belongings that are:
  • Porous: carpet, cardboard, upholstery, mattresses, bedding, and stuffed animals*
  • Made from paper: documents, books, photo albums, etc.
  • Food-based or used to prepare food: basically, anything you’d eat or items that come in contact with food
  • Submerged in water: items that have soaked are at higher risk for deep mold absorption and should be thrown out

What You Can Keep​

  • Items made of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass
  • Fabric that’s been cleaned well and disinfected
  • Electronics and electronic appliances**
  • Belongings that look clearly compromised (permanent spots and stains)
  • Items that hold a funky smell after cleaning

 
Do you have any friends or family nearby where you could hang the washing on a line? At this point my only solution would be to wash the duvet etc in the bath with hot water and detergent, then to put it into a water tight bag to transport it somewhere to let it dry. Though that has its own issues as we've been getting frequent rain all over the UK :-(
 
Thanks guys. I think I'll go with the bathtub solution if I can't get the smell out of the duvet. Then I'll find somewhere to hang it so it can dry thoroughly.
As with the pillows, I think I'm going to have to throw them away and I'll give her one of my pillows with a couple of sofa cushions underneath, and I'll put a couple of sofa cushions under my remaining pillow.

I really hate mould, it's the bane of my life.
 
I hope that the bathtub solution works if you need to use it :) When I've done it I used a rolling pin to stir and agitate the water and get it throughout the duvet and kinda gently thumped the duvet with the end of the rolling pin. It took a couple of tries to rinse it. The other thing is that it got quite heavy when saturated with water, but I kept on folding it and pressing on it to squeeze the water out inside of the bath. Then it's just a case of drying it. Hopefully it won't dribble too much water whilst it does. Good luck! :)
 
That really is a pain, I hope it works out. But the problem that caused the mould is still there and that's not good. 🤔 Too much moisture in the air. Sounds like a structural problem with the building, maybe poor ventilation too? It's often caused by a ventilation problem. Mould really is not something that should be ignored.

Does your landlord really refuse to fix these problems? I think legally landlords have to fix it because it's a health issue. And the UK have strict rules and regulations for these things. Landlords that do not comply face hefty fines and other penalties. Renters do have certain rights that landlords can't ignore.
 
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That really is a pain, I hope it works out. But the problem that caused the mould is still there and that's not good. 🤔 Too much moisture in the air. Sounds like a structural problem with the building, maybe poor ventilation too? It's often caused by a ventilation problem. Mould really is not something that should be ignored.
I know, we do have a dehumidifier but using it makes the electricity bill much higher. We've been opening the windows now that it's warmer to help ventilation.
Does your landlord really refuse to fix these problems? I think legally landlords have to fix it because it's a health issue. And the UK have strict rules and regulations for these things. Landlords that do not comply face hefty fines and other penalties. Renters do have certain rights that landlords can't ignore.
The landlords are terrible. I've taken pictures of what needs maintenance from them, and sent via email to their provided email address, politely asking them to come and sort it out. But I never get a reply nor any action. The kitchen is falling apart, we've had several leaks from upstairs, the windows are still single-glazed and are rotting around the wooden bits and desperately need replacing, and I suffer chronic rhinitis and my husband suffers chronic asthma and COPD. We're on the waiting list now for a new place but I don't hold out much hope. On top of all that, I have to permanently rely on earplugs or headphones because of the family living above with no sound insulation in the floor at all. It's a nightmare. I want to feel happy and comfortable in my own home. Everyone else I know does. I can't even sit outside in the sunshine because it's so overgrown out there with nettles and weeds almost as high as our windows. Complete neglect by the landlords who are supposed to be maintaining the place, that's what we pay rent for.
 
The landlords are terrible. I've taken pictures of what needs maintenance from them, and sent via email to their provided email address, politely asking them to come and sort it out. But I never get a reply nor any action.

That's outrageous, I assume you have seen this?:


Maybe especially step 3. There is help you can get if a landlord doesn't follow the rules.
 
That's outrageous, I assume you have seen this?:


Maybe especially step 3. There is help you can get if a landlord doesn't follow the rules.
Thanks, I shall save to my bookmarks and me and my husband will look at it together.

This has contributed to my feelings of anger and depression in recent weeks, because our living environment is a major importance to our lives and can affect a person's mental health as well as physical health.
 

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