Rescued from floodwaters? Throw your clothes away

- One of the first things many people rescued from the floodwaters in the Houston area might want to do is wash their clothes-- but don't. Clothes soaked by the nasty floodwaters are like super petri dishes for toxic mold.

You have only one option, and it isn't the washing machine. Throw those clothes away.

"It's not safe," said Dr. Noreen Khan Mayberry, a toxicologist.

The problem? Strains of pathogenic mold spores grow in clothes contaminated by floodwaters. You can't get rid of those mold strains by washing your clothes.

"Anything you were rescued in, you pretty much should throw away," Dr. Khan Mayberry said. 

Floodwaters are full of runoff, chemicals, sewage and more. When your clothes and shoes are soaked by them, mold spores take over. You might not see them, but washing flood-soaked clothing even multiple times won't get rid of them.

Despite what you may have heard, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar won't kill the spores, either. Bleach might, but you'd have to use so much of it to get rid of the mold spores that you would likely ruin your clothes in the process. The only safe option is to throw them away.

What if you've already washed your clothes, or volunteered to wash someone else's? Clean your washing machine. You'll need to run a cycle with bleach to get rid of any mold spores that might have been transferred from the dirty clothes during the wash process. If your clothes went into the dryer, you'll need to wipe that out with bleach as well. 

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent


FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):

Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories