Mildew on Needlepoint Canvases

How do I clean mildew spots and smell off of needlepoint canvas? They are hand painted and have not been stitched yet. Some of them have large areas of yucky looking mildew on them and some of them only stink. My cousin had them stored on the California coast in a shed sitting on a cement floor and they got damp.


They are beautiful and expensive canvases. She was going to throw them out, but I would like to save them. I have them here in Arizona, where it is definitely not damp, and have hung several of them on my patio to air out, but it takes months and I still have lots of them in boxes waiting for room to hang them up to air out. I also have the thread to stitch them and it stinks also. Any suggestions?

By Millie from Yuma, AZ

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April 7, 20090 found this helpful

You could try dabbing with peroxide, rinsing by dabbing with a clean damp cloth, and air drying. It may help a little.

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April 9, 20090 found this helpful

There is nothing better to remove mold and mildew than old fashion vinegar - doesn't hurt the fabric, like bleach can. If it is on something that you can't throw in a washer, then put some vinegar in a spray bottle, spray on, and wipe off what you can.

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April 9, 20090 found this helpful

I would try spraying with vinegar, then machine washing one with the vinegar solution or non-chlorine beach (which is typically peroxide). That way if this process ruins the design you know right away, and you're only out one item.


I think the ones that only stink should be laundered immediately. If the wet wash still smells, go down the line trying borax, baking soda, etc.

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August 9, 20180 found this helpful

I would not recommend machine washing a needlepoint canvas, especially one that already has been hand painted. First, you could lose the painting. Second, machine is much too harsh for the canvas. It will break down the canvas and make it limp, and possibly cause it to fall apart. The cleaning solution suggestions provided may all work on various types of mold and mildew. If there is already some stitching, be cautious not to allow any of the cleaning solution to get near the wool, as it will more than likely bleed or change color, ruining your work. Work slowly and carefully, placing your canvas in the sun to dry. Good luck!

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