This #ProTip comes from Nashville Provider, Kurt Rutkowski.
Inform the Client
Mold and mildew are nothing to play around with. Mold and mildew grow in a warm, damp environment. So if you are allowing your client to use garbage bags, items are at a much higher risk of mold and mildew. To avoid the surprise of mold & mildew on items you’ve picked-up, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to ask clients when you call to schedule if any of their items have any visible (or even odor of) mold or mildew present. It’s especially important to ask this if the pickup is scheduled to take place more than 24 hours after you speak with them.
If the client indicates they may have affected items, you should make sure they know these are hard to remove completely, that the removal process requires bleach & high heat washing. It’s important they are made aware before you begin processing that some items may not respond well to mold & mildew removal methods. I would even confirm this via text, just so you have it is writing, from the client, that they completely understand and would like you proceed. Should any issue or complaint arise, this will help show the client that they did, in fact understand the risk and agree to these processing methods.
I would suggest that if you discover mold or mildew to take a picture with your phone and immediately inform the client.
After you have informed the client, you'll need to plan your next course of action…
If the product is cotton or a blend the chlorine needs to be mixed with water. ONLY chlorine bleach will kill mold and mildew. Regardless of the color it MUST be washed in HOT water using chlorine bleach.
The most difficult product that we tend to come across is bar towels from restaurants. These are very tricky. In the industrial laundry, they use harsh chemical, commercial-grade formulas in order to get out the food stains and remove the mold and mildew.
However, here is how you can get the best result possible at home from regular, consumer-grade machines and store-bought products:
Wash on the hottest possible water setting your machine has.
Use 3X the recommended amount of detergent
Use 3X the recommended amount of bleach (preferably clorox or clorox concentrate).
Go through the regular wash cycle and when it is time to rinse, start all over again. more detergent, more bleach, on the heaviest soil setting and then let it run its course.
NOTE: This is a scenario that specifically REQUIRES bleach! Bar towels are 100% cotton so do not apply bleach directly to the fabric.
If the product is 100% polyester, you can apply bleach directly to the mildew - for example a tablecloth for a restaurant.
Here are some tricks if you have mildew in 100% polyester:
Get the tablecloth wet.
Take automatic dishwashing detergent, such as Cascade w/ bleach and apply it directly to the mildew stain (you can also use Tilex).
Take a coarse brush and scrub the stain.
Wash in very hot water with 2x or 3x the bleach.
Check the tablecloth before you dry it.
If it is dry, you close the fibers or set the stain, it is then VERY hard to remove.
Take extra precautions when dealing with mold or mildew as it can become airborne, get into your heating/air conditioning system and become a big issue. You may also consider using gloves and/or a mask when handling items with mold or mildew, just to be safe.