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Anyone who has had to deal with the aftermath of receiving a shipment with mouldy goods will know that the issue of mould is not only costly but also messy and contentious. Without a structured, comprehensive approach to mould prevention and control, trying to pinpoint the exact source, cause or stage of occurrence (and therefore responsible party) can result in endless email ping pong and be a major cause of strain on the buyer-supplier relationship.

To help you get to grips with this challenge, we’ve outlined the main risk factors for the occurrence of mould (mold) in the apparel, footwear and accessories industry as well as the methods we use to identify them.

Lack of factory policy/SOP regarding mould prevention and control


  • SOP/policy in place to prevent/manage mould
  • Staff training about mould prevention and control

Humid, damp or unclean conditions at production, incoming raw materials storage and/or finished goods storage facilities


  • Each section has humidity control and mould prevention system/SOP and can provide evidence of:
    • Presence of humidity gauge / thermometre
    • Daily humidity control checks
    • Weekly mould checks – walls, floors and other vulnerable areas
    • Adequate and proper daily housekeeping (Machinery, Floors, Shelves/surfaces) including drying after cleaning
    • Deep cleaning including ceilings, walls, fans, equipment (minimum 2 x per year during least humid times of year)
    • Measures to avoid / properly handle spillage of fluids (incl oils, fuels) within the production facility
    • Organic substances eg food/food consumption kept in separate, controlled environments
  • Occurrence of flooding event(s) and subsequent deep cleaning
  • Relative humidity level
  • Leaks and/or condensation
    • Roof, door or window leaks/excessive condensation
    • Leaking or condensing water pipes
    • Leaking fire sprinkler systems
    • Gutters or drainpipes / downspouts
  • Pressing area equipment
    • Presence of steam ducts connected to pressing tables to remove water vapour from building
    • Good pressing table maintenance - no leakages, cloths/foam changed regularly
    • Use of fans vs air conditioners in pressing area to minimise moisture

Improper ventilation at production, incoming raw materials storage and/or finished goods storage facilities


  • Aspects of facility design that impact proper ventilation
  • Ventilation system, if present, is optimised (to maintain required temperature / humidity)
  • Presence of large fans
  • Presence, and size, of a “dry room” or dehumidified room.

Improper storage and/or handling method of raw materials, cut pieces, partially finished products, finished products and/or cartons in production and/or storage facilities


  • Stored a minimum of 60cm away from walls, 1m away from (outside) windows/doors and 12cm from the floor on stands, pallets (plastic preferred to wooden), racks or in cartons, plastic bags or bins
  • All materials are covered or sealed
  • Organisation level of goods
  • Empty cartons are placed on pallets and covered
  • Raw materials issuing follows FIFO (First In First Out) method
  • Time between sealing polybags and packing into cartons 
  • Time between packing polybags into cartons and sealing the carton
  • Time between entry and exit of finished goods in storage facility

Improper and/or damaged packaging


  • Packaging is properly sealed (cartons and polybags)
  • Cartons are not damaged and are dry
  • Polybags have small punched air holes for ventilation

Improper and/or inadequate preventative measures for packing workers


  • Packing workers wear freshly cleaned/washed clothing each day
  • Packing workers do not use cotton gloves
  • Packing workers wash hands with soap and water before starting/returning to work 
  • Packing workers use only paper towels or dryers after washing hands

Inadequate and/or improper use of anti-moulding materials and processes


  • Usage - and usage level - of silica gel or other recommended desiccant(s), based on product type and volume of container
  • Storage of anti‐moulding materials in original and/or sealed containers before packing
  • Use of UV Heat Chamber for finished goods and packaging materials (to reduce moisture and/or exterminate any existing mould)

High moisture content in raw materials and/or finished garments


  • Evidence of:
    • Incoming raw materials moisture content check
    • Adequate calibration of equipment for measuring moisture
  • Moisture content using moisture meter equipment
    • Finished goods (random check) prior to packing into cartons
    • Per lot, each carton sampled (top, middle, bottom units)

Inadequate ventilation of pressed/finished items 


  • Time between pressing/finishing goods and stacking them 
  • Time between pressing/finishing goods and packing them 
  • Height of goods stacked after pressing/finishing (no. of pcs)

Poor loading environment at factory


  • Container has no holes in walls or roof
  • Container floor is clean and dry 
  • Container has no presence of mould
  • Goods are loaded under a sheltered roof
  • Use /adequacy of suitable desiccant(s) in container
  • FCL Container is sealed

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