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Mildew Removal

Updated on July 23, 2010

OK, how best to sum up mildew and mold in your house? YUK would more or less sum it up for me. Nothing quite says “student accommodation” like a nice outbreak of mildew in the bathroom or, god forbid, in the kitchen. Fairly soon after an outbreak you will start to notice that oh so unpleasant musty smell that screams deprivation! Not only does it look disgusting but if left unchecked mold can be a threat to your health, mold and mildew is a fungi and their spores can become toxic leading to respiratory problems. If you find an outbreak then mold and mildew removal should be a top priority. Let’s begin by taking a closer look at what we’re dealing with before we tackle ways of removing mildew.

As mentioned mildew is a fungi and, while there are types of mold that thrive in dry areas, mildew is a variety that likes the damp and the warm which explains why the bathroom, certain hard to get at kitchen areas and any property with a damp problem are prone to this nasty mould. If left untreated the spores from any kind of mould will become airborne and this can be a real hazard for those suffering with allergies or asthma problems. Particularly at risk are young children so take any contamination seriously.

Prevention is the best remedy

I suspect you’re here because you already have a problem and want to get on removing mildew which is fine; we will get to that shortly. Before we do, let’s look at ways of preventing the buildup of mildew in the first place so that you never have to deal with it in the future. Mildew feeds on organic matter and thrives in a damp environment so there are three key tips for keeping it at bay.

1. Keep things clean – Dirt and soil on clothes and food or greasy deposits in the kitchen or bathroom are like dinner for fungi. Often your kitchen surfaces and much of the material your clothes are made from are synthetic which are not natural breeding places for mildew. So keeping these surfaces and clothes clean and free from organic matter will protect you from any moulds
2. Lose the damp – Take away warm damp areas and you deprive the mildew of its favorite home. Keep your home well ventilated and go to the extra trouble and cost of bringing in a damp proofing expert if your walls and foundations have a basic damp problem. If you have damp walls you will always be prone to outbreaks of mould and this will invariably decrease the value of your home. Get it fixed.
3. Dry out the moisture in the air – It’s a pretty basic fact that cold air carries less moisture than warm air and there are a couple of options to keep your air cool. A good air conditioning unit is a must in hot clammy climates not just to keep you cool and dry but also the whole of your house. Dehumidifiers are another great way to suck the moisture out of your living space and are a better and cheaper option if a full on air conditioning unit is unnecessary.

Mildew Cleaning products and their application.

The most common place we find mildew is in the bathroom and kitchen and removing the affected area really isn’t too difficult. There are plenty of hard working cleansing agents available either online or from your local supermarket or hardware store (if you want a stronger solution). Follow the instructions on the bottle and the mildew should come off easily. If after cleaning you are left with a mildew stain that’s more stubborn then you might need to clean again with a grout cleaner.

When mildew gets going it turns up in other places and wreaks havoc with your clothes, upholstery, wood work and even books and documents. All organic materials you see. Let’s take a quick look at ways of removing mildew from some of these areas.

1. Clothing and movable fabrics – The first thing to do here is take the offending items outside and scrape or dislodge as much of the mold as possible. Do not do this inside as you will only spread the spores into the atmosphere. After this the safest bet is to hand wash with detergent and dry the items outside if possible. If there is staining then use bleach but be careful when using this with colored garments unless they are colorfast.
2. Furniture and upholstery etc – In many cases if mildew has got deep into your home furnishings it’s time to call in the professional cleaners. If the situation isn’t too bad then remove mildew outside if possible or use a hover. Dry the item as well as you can make use of heaters, strong sunlight or even a hairdryer. Using a cloth soaked in a diluted alcohol solution and wiping over the affected areas should help to kill the bacteria.
3. Wood work – If wood work is painted and well sealed then you shouldn’t have a problem. If this isn’t the case then scrub the area with something like washing soda or disinfectant, both easily available from you local supermarket. Once thoroughly dry it is highly recommended that you do seal the area with a mold resistant paint or varnish.

Getting rid of that musty smell.

Once you home is mildew free the last thing to do is get rid of that awful damp moldy smell. The strong smell of disinfectant or bleach might not be to everyone’s taste but is probably a good one off procedure. Give your rooms a thorough going over and then open all doors and windows on a fine day and let your home get a good airing. If there’s poor circulation in your house then place fans around your various rooms to get the air moving. And finally, don’t let mildew get back in again.


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    • davesnell profile image

      davesnell 6 years ago from 5437 Cedarmint Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28227

      Fantastic tips on how to remove mold and mildew. Great information.