Prevention Tips for Mildew Growth

Mildew grows where moisture gathers.
Mildew grows where moisture gathers. | Source

What's the difference between mold and mildew? Well, they're kind of the same thing. Mold is everywhere, it's a plant that wants to take hold where there is food to thrive on, and will be left alone to grow and fester.

Mold can grow on most any kind of material as long as a few very important things are present. It needs to be out of the direct sunlight, poor to no air circulation, and it needs a tiny amount of dirt or dust. If you kept this same exact environment and added a little water or moisture, you would get mildew instead of mold.

Mold and mildew is ugly, smells bad, causes allergic reaction in some people, and if left untreated can be dangerous to those around you.

In this hub, we will cover the following topics:

  • What is the difference between mildew and mold
  • Kill mildew smell
  • Allergies to mold
  • How to prevent mildew

Showers and tubs are perfect breeding grounds for mildew as the ventilation is usually very poor.
Showers and tubs are perfect breeding grounds for mildew as the ventilation is usually very poor. | Source

What is the difference Between Mildew and Mold

Generally speaking, mildew and mold are basically the same thing - there are many types of mold and mildew, which are fungi.

Mold can grow on a variety of different surfaces including rotting surfaces like on oranges that have gone bad. Mold will grow on most surfaces with moisture on it. It can also be identified by it's colors; blue, green, black and red.

Mildew can most often be found in showers, tubs, window sills, and where ever condensation will pool. Mildew can be identified by it's color; gray or white and will have a powdery or fuzzy texture.

If water or wetness is missing, but moisture in the air is present, mold will thrive.
If water or wetness is missing, but moisture in the air is present, mold will thrive. | Source

Kill Mildew Smell

Obviously, if you get rid of the mold or mildew, that stuffy or musty smell will go along with it. Knowing that mold and mildew can grow on almost anything, it's important to go right for the source to eradicate the problem.

If it's an item, get rid of the item, or clean it with a quality cleanser that will kill the spores of the mold or mildew. Whether it's clothes, a piece of furniture, shoes or carpeting remove it from the room and start to dry out the room. Open windows and blow fans. By circulating air in the room, and blowing fans into areas and corners where air doesn't normally flow, you will make it hard for mold or mildew to grab hold.

If you would like to use a less toxic cleaning alternative than the store bought items or bleach, you can try using vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is perfect for the job - you'll need to use full strength in a spray bottle, and let it sit on the area for a few ours. You can then use baking powder to scrub into the area. When the vinegar smell dissipates, the musty smell will no longer be there.

Moisture and mildew has stained and peeled back the paint where the tub meets drywall.
Moisture and mildew has stained and peeled back the paint where the tub meets drywall. | Source

Allergies to Mold

It's important to use proper protective wear when cleaning mold and mildew. That musty smell usually means that mold or mildew - or both, are present. When mold or mildew is present in a room, you may find yourself feeling sick if you are in the room for any time. If the particular room happens to be your bedroom, these symptoms might make you think if it's the possible presence of mold or mildew making you feel this way.

Some of the symptoms that mold and mildew may cause you to have:

Headaches, sinus pressure, sneezing, runny nose, cough, itchy-watery-red-eyes, skin rash or hives, asthma attacks, difficulty breathing and a reduced lung capacity.

Orange colored mildew grows where water is left unchecked.
Orange colored mildew grows where water is left unchecked. | Source

How to Prevent Mildew

Bathrooms are usually fitted with exhaust fans that are not large enough to move any moisture. Always try to blow a fan into the bathroom, open a window, and pull any objects away from the walls so that the air can easily circulate throughout the room.

If your bathroom or room is too cluttered, it may prevent the circulation of air - if the air is unable to circulate, mold or mildew spores will settle and begin to multiply. Keep your windows open as often as possible - especially after the initial clean up - utilizing ceiling fans and oscillating stand-fans to help push air.

Open cupboards and cabinets to air out every now and again. Clean and keep under-sink cabinets clear so that air can circulate. Inspect leaky pipes that may cause damages or re-infestation of mold or mildew.

Keep your home clean of dust and dirt. It only takes a small amount of dirt or dust for spores to settle on and grow. Nip any trouble spots as soon as you notice any new growth, this will help to keep it controlled.

De-humidifiers are a great source when needing to remove moisture in the air. This will also help to curb mold and mildew spores from growing.

What's your favorite go to remedy for cleaning up mildew?

What kind of chemicals do you normally attack mildew with?

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Comments 12 comments

KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 2 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks so much for your comment, and good luck with the battle on mildew/mold. Peace. Kawi.


Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 2 years ago

Interesting article, with very useful tips. Thanks!


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment alocsin, always a pleasure to hear from you. Yeah, its a Northwest thing - a yearly event until we get those much needed few months of sunshine before it all starts all over again... sigh. My wife is in So-cal now, I'll be flying in on Saturday just for a day or two. I need a Hawaiian plate lunch fix! So-cal has the best next to Hawaii. Peace. Kawi.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

This was a major problem in Seattle and I wish that I had this hub then. Here in the much drier climes of Southern California, this isn't much of an issue. Voting this Up and Useful.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment RTalloni, it's all my wife uses when taking on little trouble-spots in the bathroom. Peace. Kawi.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Vinegar really does the job. Living in the south means fighting the effects of humidity. When I learned how well vinegar works to destroy mildew/mould as well as keep it at bay I felt I had found gold!


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

Thanks for your comment CyberShelley, I'm glad this helps. Peace. Kawi.


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 3 years ago

Thank you for tips and the assistance to naturally rid damp places of mould. Up, interesting and useful.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

HI Nan, yes, taking a step away from the chemicals is always a step in the right direction. Elbow grease is key in this set-up with vinegar and baking soda - but at least you won't have the chemicals to contend with. Peace. Kawi.


KawikaChann profile image

KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place Author

As always Mhatter99, your comments are very welcome. Peace. Kawi.


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 3 years ago from Illinois

Excellent how-to directions and I will use them with the vinegar, and baking soda.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this.

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