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Mildew Issues: How to Avoid the Smells and Stains

Homeowners know that mold and mildew are something to be prevented at all costs. While it’s possible to remove mold and mildew from many surfaces, the smell can linger. Removal can be a difficult process, so it’s far easier to prevent mildew or mold from developing in the first place. In this article, we’ll discuss some options to help prevent unsightly mildew from entering your home.

Keep All Areas Clean

Mold and mildew grow where bacteria and dampness linger. If your home is prone to dampness, keeping it very clean is an important part of preventing mildew growth. Wipe all countertops, baseboards and other surfaces down with a bleach or Borax solution on a regular basis to keep bacteria from settling in. If you notice mildew beginning to form, remove any damp items that are near the growth and clean the area well with bleach to kill any existing bacteria.

Keep Your Home Dry

If you live in a humid area, you may find that your home is simply damp and prone to mold and mildew growth. You can combat this, to a certain degree, by running fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the indoor air. If the air outside is drier than the air inside your home, opening windows regularly and circulating the air with fans may help, as well. When the weather is damp, avoid allowing damp items (umbrellas, rain coats, and boots) to pile up near doorways, as they may cause mildew to develop. Instead, try placing them on a drying rack near a fan.

Focus on Air Flow

If your home is damp, it’s important to make sure air is circulating. Without air circulation, dampness will build up and mildew may develop quite quickly. In wet seasons, focus on circulating air through closed off areas such as basements, closets, and cupboards so that dampness doesn’t have a chance to build up – small moveable fans work well for this. If you have a room or area that stays damp, such as a basement or outbuilding, consider purchasing a dehumidifier for this area to help keep it dry.

Keep All Fabrics Clean and Dry

Mold and mildew grow quite easily on fabric, so it’s important to keep these items clean and dry, with air circulating through them. Bath towels can be especially prone to mildew in a damp home, so be sure you hang towels flat (instead of bunching them up). You may also need to add a small fan to your bathroom to keep the towels, bath mat, and shower curtain from mildewing. It’s important to note that if fabric items mildew, the stain may also spread to other things they are touching, such as the floor, walls, and more.

Once mold or mildew has set in, it may be removable, but the process is difficult. First, you’ll need to spray the affected area with a bleach or Borax solution to kill the growth. If the mildew has grown on fabrics, you can attempt to remove the stain with a stain remover spray, then wash the items with detergent and bleach or color safe bleach. If a mildew odor remains after washing, you can attempt to remove this odor by washing the items again and adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. Hard surfaces can be cleaned with a bleach solution. If mildew occurs on a wooden or painted surface, the area may have to be treated with bleach and then repainted to hide the stain.