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Hot Tips on How to Remove Mold, Fungus and Mildew from Homes and Apartments

Updated on February 6, 2013

The Creeping Crud

Removing Mold and Mildew from Your Home

Homes and apartments are notorious for hosting mold due to cramped living quarters, overfilled closets, unknowingly dirty clothes placed in off seasonal storage and poor circulation of fresh air. Dust, warmth and moisture are its main requirements.

Mold is fuzzy growth which resembles velvet or fur. It can also be slimy, accompanied with a strange, musty and earthy odor. If it has been growing unchecked for a long period of time, it may lead to health problems and various symptoms, including runny eyes, coughing, and much worse.

Mildew has a spotty look about it – mold contains spores. Containing slightly fewer health hazards, it can nonetheless lead to respiratory problems. Since most of us spend quite a few hours in our home, the lingering fungus in the atmosphere can only be inhaled and retained in the lungs. Symptoms of mold and mildew related allergy can include flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath and frailty.

All mold is best removed immediately, since mold can actually causes allergies, especially for children. The person doing the jobs should consider wearing a mask and gloves to protect the eyes, hands and lungs.

Where to look for mold? Damp areas, like a shower curtain, bathtub, faucet, even the refrigerator and dishwasher, can be ideal hot-house locations since they encourage mold growing conditions.

Refrigerators are cleaned by removing all food inside, throwing out any mold infested items, fruits, vegetables, lunch meats. Remove racks and tubs which are cleaned separately. With a bucket of warm, soapy water, wash the inside ceiling and walls of the refrigerator, then rinse, adding ¼ cup bleach to disinfect. An open box of baking soda will help absorb odors and help keep your food storage area fresher.

Among various types of molds, black mold (which can be partially green and blotchy in appearance) can be extremely dangerous. Usually found on basement walls, black mold allergy causes listlessness, fatigue, as well as the inability to concentrate and severe headaches. Hearing and even memory loss are even possible.

If your apartment has ever had a flood it is particularly prone to mold invasion. Even if not directly, your apartment may be affected by one of the apartments on either side of you, above or below you if they have ever been flooded. A leak in the roof or broken pipe are the culprits. Tell-tale signs of flooding include wavy counter tops, warped cabinets and uneven floors, which are all due to water damage.

Non-chemical cleaning options do exist. Although chlorine bleach is a thorough disinfectant and mildew killer, it can be abrasive on household surfaces and harmful to inhale. The procedure is the same, whether choosing undiluted white vinegar or peroxygen bleach, made from oxygen powder. Sprayed from a bottle onto a target site, scrub well with a brush or old toothbrush, let sit about five minutes, then rinse off. White vinegar contains 5% acid, which is adequate to do the job without making eyes and hands suffer. Peroxygen bleach is made from oxygen powder dissolved into water, follow manufacturer's instructions.

Since mildew can't live without moisture, it is wise to dry your target area first. Using a blow dryer, opening a window to let sunlight in during dry weather, and leaving your air conditioner on low for a couple of hours are all ways to assist making your job a lot easier. Wiping-off dried on mildew from walls with poor insulation with an old rag is much easier than spreading around existing mildew.

If you are still not sure that you have removed all the mold from your apartment, call a mold inspector. The telephone directory or the internet are good sources.

More information:

Some Household Tips to Prevent Mold

How to Get Rid of Mold?

How to react to moldy clothes or furniture?

See results

Mold Samples

The looks of mold


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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thanks PaulGoodman67. When we changed to a sunny apartment I could see how my kids' health improved. Now I am a real stickler for getting rid of anything that looks vaguely suspicious, since it goes into the lungs sooner or later. I can only imagine what you found as a housing inspector - could be an interesting Hub, hm? I appreciate your comments, ECAL

    • PaulGoodman67 profile image

      Paul Goodman 6 years ago from Florida USA

      Interesting article. I worked for a while as a housing inspector, so I was trained up on the different sorts of dampness and mould. It's amazing how little people know about these sorts of problems when you consider how common they are!

    • robotmonster profile image

      robotmonster 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I love SF, moved here 2 years ago. I will certainly say hi to the city for you! I've always heard great things about Crotia as well, my siblings in law went there for their honeymoon. Will make sure to have a visit there soon. :)

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Oh, but San Francisco is such a peach of a city- one of the best in the US - lived there myself for ten years as a student and young professional.

      When the sun comes in be sure to open the window and put bedding on the window sill or at least near the sun to help air out bedding. It's worth the effort of living in paradise :) Say hi to the city for me - ECAL

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Great, glad to be of help! You know the old expression, necessity is the mother of invention. In Dalmatia there is plenty of dampness (near the sea) so I had to learn a lot. Thanks for reading and commenting. ECAL

    • robotmonster profile image

      robotmonster 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for great tips! We recently had mold or maybe mildew in our bathroom. It was really gross for sure, thankfully was able to get rid of it with Clorox. It is quite common in San Francisco and that is one thing I have to get used to,

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks for pointing me to your hub. This is useful, I will try vinegar first. I cleaned it off a window frame a couple days ago just with a cloth, but I want to be sure it’s all gone. I hadn’t thought to use a mask, which could be why I’ve had a sore throat ever since, so will definitely wear one when I have another go.