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BeachcomberStt
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January 8, 2015 2:05 pm  

Here goes with more problems with clothes in closets. I have a very large walk in closet. The majority of the time the door is ajar a couple inches. I am having problems with usual stains on clothes that I haven't worn in a while that are folded and put up on the shelf.  

If I scratch the stain with my fingernail, I end up with a hole. This latest stain was on a pair of shorts made of 100% cotton thick t-shirt type material. The stain was grayish in color, but sometimes the color can range to brown. It always happens on cotton or cotton blend fabric. It looks like something peed or did #2 on the clothes.

Mostly the clothes have a musty smell, but not always, because sometimes it happens on clothes that I do wear on a more regular basis on the shelf, mostly t-shirts, but not like my clothes that are hung up with hangers. It does sometime happens on hung up clothes that I haven't worn in a while. Brown stain on the sleeve of a light beige expensive t-shirt.
It looks like something peed on it.

What could it be? Bugs? Silverfish? Clothes Moths? Spiders? Carpet beetles? (I do have a few throw rugs around my apartment.)

A gecko that sneaks in and likes to hang out in my closet?

I lost the war with brown stains on my light colored clothes, usually 100% cotton or a cotton blend fabric, and white towels. I couldn't get the brown stains off no matter what I did. This happened in three different closets. 

I posted this thread about it in the past:  https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,196675,196675#msg-196675

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!


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ms411
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January 8, 2015 2:29 pm  

I have learned to love polyester after living through hurricanes and what the climate does to fabrics.


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OldTart
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January 8, 2015 2:35 pm  

Not a clue unless (given that your clothes often smell "musty") it's a mold problem. You could try putting a plug-in bar heater in the closet. Have you asked your LL if anyone else in the unit has had a similar problem?

Another possibility is that it's not the closet at all but your washing machine. If you have one or use of one, check to see if it has any rust spots. I had that problem recently and quickly found that the bleach dispenser and various spots around the tub were rusting and casting off flakes during the wash cycle. A quick scrub to remove the flakes and an application of spray Rustoleum for appliances quickly solved the problem.

Sorry not to be of more help but that's all I can think of.


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vicanuck
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January 8, 2015 2:52 pm  

A dehumidifier perhaps?


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BeachcomberStt
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January 8, 2015 4:32 pm  

Concerning rust from a washing machine, I use a laundromat. No home washing machine or dryer 🙁

Clothes hanging do not have the "musty" smell, even though I didn't wear them in a long time, but I do get those brown spots on some white or light colored clothes on those that are hanging.

The "musty" smell does seem to only be on the folded, stacked clothes that are on the shelf above the hangers in the master bedroom closet and second bedroom. 

The one wall in the master bedroom closet is adjacent to the bathroom. Actually one shower wall, plus it holds my hot water tank, on that same wall, which has an on/off switch. I hardly if ever use hot water. The water is warm enough coming out from the faucets.

In the 2nd bedroom, the "musty" smell, brown stained, holey clothes or sheets is also the items on shelf above the hanger. That closet has sliding doors. Not near the bathroom.

The third closet, which is my linen closet, the brown stains seem to be only on the very bottom white towel. No musty smell in that closet and it is closest to the bathroom. It's wall is adjacent to the shower. Actually the shower head.
That closet has a regular door.

Did I mention that I have those white wire shelves in all three closets?

I could say I live on part of the island where it is more on the dry side. I don't live high up.

A dehumidifier - WAPA bill increases. Really can't afford that at this time.

The clothing hanging are pretty much close together, so I'm at a loss. :S

What could be causing the different color stains that when scratched at ends up with a hole? And sometimes, I will pull out a t-shirt and there will be holes on the clothes in different places. 

Do we have moths on island? Sometimes when out shopping I will smell someone that smells of moth balls. A West Indian friend says they use them(camphor balls, that's what they call them), so the clothes won't smell "musty" and to keep away bugs(I don't know what kind). I don't want to smell like moth balls! 😛
Brings back childhood memories too.
Lol 😀

Like I said it only happens on cotton or cotton blend fabric. 

I'm the first tenant in this new apartment, so I don't know how much my landlord can help.

I wish I could post pictures of the stains and holes.

Speedy, why don't you wear cotton clothes? Reasoning?

Thanks for the suggestions, so far.


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Alana33
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January 8, 2015 4:59 pm  

It's probably a combination of heat, humidity, lack of air flow, etc.
I'd suggest getting those zip lock vacuum bags for your favorite items. They work great and saves on space.

I had problems with items stored on shelving that weren't used for a length of time, yellowing on the fold, even rugs and table cloths.

Not a fan of those wire closet shelving as they tend to get dusty and attract mold. I've replaced the majority that were in my closets with white painted wood shelving. Now I don't have to drag everything out of all the closets every 6 months to clean and put everything back. That got old quickly.

You can place a couple fabric softener sheets in the closet between clothing on each shelf or peel an orange or 2 and hang the peel to dry in the closet to knock out the musty odors.

If there holes in your clothes, you may have silverfish or other bugs similar that eat clothing. May be time to take everything out,wash it all and call the exterminator to spray before putting everything back..


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ms411
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January 8, 2015 5:58 pm  

Um, speedy didn't post in this thread.


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STXBob
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January 8, 2015 7:03 pm  

A few thoughts:

Maybe the white metal shelves are rusting.

Maybe you're not completely drying your clothes before storing them.

Maybe you're using too much detergent. If it's not all rinsed out, the detergent can attract moisture, causing mold, mildew and a musty smell.

Do the stains appear only on exposed surfaces, or also on hidden areas? The answer might narrow down the possible culprits. For example, if it's on hidden areas, then it's not a lizard or a rusting shelf.

How long does it take for this condition to appear? Weeks? Months? Just about everything in the tropics gets cruddy if you wait long enough.


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vicanuck
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January 8, 2015 7:48 pm  

Those wire shelving units do attract a black mold. I have a few in my guest house and after a few years, they all had this black mold growing on them. This doesn't seem to happen with wood shelving.


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Gator's Mom
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January 8, 2015 8:56 pm  

Do you use lots of sunscreen? Sunscreen will get on your clothes, mix with laundry chemicals and then eventually cause stains as described on your clothes.


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ms411
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January 8, 2015 9:55 pm  

I don't use sunscreen and some of my cotton clothes get spots.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 8, 2015 10:04 pm  

Um, speedy didn't post in this thread.

Sorry ms411, I now realized it was you. What is your reasoning about cotton clothing?


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BeachcomberStt
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January 8, 2015 10:28 pm  

Do you use lots of sunscreen? Sunscreen will get on your clothes, mix with laundry chemicals and then eventually cause stains as described on your clothes.

No, I don't use a lot of sunscreen at all while wearing these clothes and I don't mix any of these clothes with towels or other items, from beach outings, that may have sunscreen on them when washing my laundry.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 8, 2015 10:40 pm  

Those wire shelving units do attract a black mold. I have a few in my guest house and after a few years, they all had this black mold growing on them. This doesn't seem to happen with wood shelving.

I do not see any mold or rust on the wire shelves, but I do plan on emptying out my closets now and lining the shelves with something, but haven't figured out with what as of yet. Any ideas that won't attract bugs or mold?


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CruzanIron
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January 9, 2015 12:33 am  

Cacaroach dem.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 9, 2015 12:41 am  

A few thoughts:

Maybe the white metal shelves are rusting.
Checked again more closely and YES they are starting to RUST in a couple places in the closets. The color is so light. I really had to look hard, plus I have really got to get my eyes checked.

Maybe you're not completely drying your clothes before storing them.
Definitely know I am completely drying my clothes, etc. before storing them. I make sure of that.

Maybe you're using too much detergent. If it's not all rinsed out, the detergent can attract moisture, causing mold, mildew and a musty smell.
Now that may be a cause. I have been cutting back on using too much laundry detergent. I see some people at the laundromat using too much detergent and it looks like the washer is going to explode and suds are going to spill out everywhere. I use some Fabuloso during the wash cycle and then a little during the first rinse cycle. On the second rinse cycle, I use fabric softener. While drying my laundry on high, I use a fabric softener sheet. I make sure my laundry is dry. Sometimes, I believe I overdry.

Do the stains appear only on exposed surfaces, or also on hidden areas? The answer might narrow down the possible culprits. For example, if it's on hidden areas, then it's not a lizard or a rusting shelf.
Now, if we are referring about the stains that end up making holes, if I remember correctly, it is mostly on exposed areas, but it does happen on hidden areas, but not on the area that is touching the shelf and sometimes on hanging clothes.

If we you are referring to the brown spots/discolorations, it is on exposed areas and from touching the shelves.

How long does it take for this condition to appear? Weeks? Months? Just about everything in the tropics gets cruddy if you wait long enough.

Usually the condition takes many weeks to months.

New developments, I forgot to mention:

1.) Last night when I went into my master bedroom closet, I picked a very tiny black bug off a shirt that was on the shelf. I took close up pictures of it and it looks like it maybe was trying to make a cocoon because I saw white fuzzy stuff on it's underbelly.

2.) The inside of the closet doors are have been getting discolored(light brown, like the shelves) over the year. I wash them down, but it seems like the rust or whatever it is, is stuck in the paint.

3.) I fetched a small throw blanket out of the second bedroom closet, which has not been used since the last time it was cold, so let's say maybe around February/March and it was in the far corner on top, not close to the shelf, and didn't smell musty at all. But sheets that are closer to the shelf do smell musty and some might end with holes.

We seem to be making progress. Thanks for all the suggestions and advice.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 9, 2015 1:10 am  

It's probably a combination of heat, humidity, lack of air flow, etc.
I'd suggest getting those zip lock vacuum bags for your favorite items. They work great and saves on space.

Sounds reasonable. I am going to buy some of those space saver bags.

I had problems with items stored on shelving that weren't used for a length of time, yellowing on the fold, even rugs and table cloths.

For me it seems more of a  brown discoloration/spotting of exposed areas in the closets.

Not a fan of those wire closet shelving as they tend to get dusty and attract mold. I've replaced the majority that were in my closets with white painted wood shelving. Now I don't have to drag everything out of all the closets every 6 months to clean and put everything back. That got old quickly. 

I'm not a fan of them either. I plan on lining the wire shelves with something, but I don't know what. Any ideas?

You can place a couple fabric softener sheets in the closet between clothing on each shelf or peel an orange or 2 and hang the peel to dry in the closet to knock out the musty odors.

I have been putting fabric softener sheets on the shelves, but it doesn't help with the musty smell. I also put my empty cologne bottles up there too. Sometimes I buy the Damp Rid hanging bags for the master bedroom closet and it smells good for a short time, but three bags don't last long because the closet is so large and they are costly.

If there holes in your clothes, you may have silverfish or other bugs similar that eat clothing. May be time to take everything out,wash it all and call the exterminator to spray before putting everything back..

I have come across a couple silverfish once in a while in my apartment, but not in the closets. At least, I didn't come across any as of yet.

I plan on purging and cleaning all my closets soon, when I have time. I do have an exterminator come once a month, but they don't spray inside my closets. I have too much stuff on the floors. I didn't realize how much one can accumulate after living on island for many, many years. Thanks!

Thanks!


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BeachcomberStt
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January 9, 2015 1:21 am  

Cacaroach dem.

Fingers crossed, I haven't seen any of them for the longest time in my apartment. Knock on wood.


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Scubadoo
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January 9, 2015 1:55 am  

Any leaks or stains in the ceiling?


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ms411
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January 9, 2015 7:40 am  

Cotton and silk need ironing, colors can fade, attract bugs, and mildews. I've seen similar spots on some of my clothes, and figure they're from some critter, but I've never seem them on my polyester clothes.


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stjohnjulie
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January 9, 2015 9:16 am  

I know that I've had similar problems with all natural fibers (100% cotton and silk seem to be the worst). I think my problem had to do with clothes moths. I never see the little guys in the house, but I have seen their cocoons at various places in and outside of my house. I've also seen cockroaches do that kind of damage. And I will give another thumbs up to the space bags! Great way to save space and keep stuff protected that is not in frequent use.


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Juanita
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January 9, 2015 10:32 am  

I have a couple of radical suggestions. Sounds like you might have a lot of clothes, since you don't wear many of them often. Why not do a major clean out, get rid of anything you don't actually wear regularly. Special things can be stored in the space bags. Then, get the stuff off the closet floor. If it's mostly shoes, do you wear them? Get a hanging bag or rack of some sort. Have the exterminator spray the closet.
You may be using too many products at the laundry. I don't understand the fabuloso in the rinse. Isn't that a cleaning product? That means you, basically, are rising your clothes in soap...right? That's not good. That will attract bugs. I've read that you can/should only use about half the amount of detergent that the bottle says. Better for your clothes, better for the environment.
You can get ready made shelves at Home Depot, but they may be expensive. You can also get a thin sheet of paneling like material and cut to fit your shelves, then line those with a scented liner.
Hang cedar blocks in the closet. You can get those at Kmart. They smell great, particularly in a closet that doesn't get opened often.
Good luck. Let us know how it goes.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 9, 2015 12:30 pm  

Cotton and silk need ironing, colors can fade, attract bugs, and mildews. I've seen similar spots on some of my clothes, and figure they're from some critter, but I've never seem them on my polyester clothes.

What's an iron? 🙂
I have one stored in the closet along with a full sized ironing board and iron, but iron only when absolutely necessary.
That's why they invented Wrinkle Away spray 😀


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BeachcomberStt
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January 9, 2015 12:34 pm  

I know that I've had similar problems with all natural fibers (100% cotton and silk seem to be the worst). I think my problem had to do with clothes moths. I never see the little guys in the house, but I have seen their cocoons at various places in and outside of my house. I've also seen cockroaches do that kind of damage. And I will give another thumbs up to the space bags! Great way to save space and keep stuff protected that is not in frequent use.

Another plus for Space saver bags. I got to go buy some.
What did you do to eradicate your bug eating clothes problem and now doing to prevent it, if anything?


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OldTart
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January 9, 2015 12:38 pm  

If you buy space saver bags, buy the best quality. The cheap ones quickly crack and split in this climate. My choice is stackable plastic containers for better durability.


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