Removing Mildew Stains

by Amy Gordon
(last updated May 13, 2013)

You may have noticed musty odors or mildew-y smells coming from areas of your house. When there is a lot of moisture in the air, and the moisture gets trapped in places, you get mold and mildew. Mildew is a fungus that attacks the fibers of fabrics, and this can ruin and weaken your fabrics, including carpets and rugs.

A very common location for mildew in the house is in your bathroom. If you have mildew in your shower stall, bathtub, or on your tiles, try scrubbing the mildew away with diluted chlorine bleach solution. Use rubber gloves to protect your hands, and scrub or wipe the tiles, shower walls, and tub with a solution of one part chlorine bleach to three parts water. An old toothbrush is the perfect tool for cleaning the grout between the tiles. Dry the area carefully with paper towels. A vinegar solution can work well on a fish tank or aquarium, and a vinegar solution may be sufficient to clean the bathroom.

To remove mildew stains from fabrics you should start by brushing or beating the article of clothing or linens outside. You need to be gentle and not scrub the fabrics, since the mildew has already weakened the fibers. Then, if the item is machine washable, run the stained item through the washing machine as you would normally. Do not put the garment or sheets in the dryer—hang them to dry outside, making sure they are completely dry before bringing them in. Sunlight will kill off any mildew.

Check for stains. If the clothes are still stained, try rinsing the stained area in a mixture of lemon juice and salt before putting the clothes into the washing machine again. If the clothes are colorfast, add chlorine bleach to the washing machine load. If the stain remains after this, try using hydrogen peroxide on the mark. Use a clean cloth to dab some hydrogen peroxide on the spot, until the spot is saturated. Run through the washing machine again, this time without bleach.

If you would not normally wash the stained items, take the items to the drycleaners, and point out the stains to the cleaner, to make sure they notice them.

To remove mildew from carpets and furniture upholstery, first brush or vacuum away as much of the mold and mildew as possible. Make sure to throw away the vacuum bag or garbage bag immediately, as you do not want the mold or mildew to stay in your home. Shampoo your carpets with a carpet cleaner. If possible, dry your carpets and upholstery with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to prevent more mildew growth. Or, for rugs or furniture, move the items outside to dry.

To prevent mildew, keep areas well-ventilated and as free from moisture as possible. Wipe down the bathroom or run a fan after showers to keep your bathroom free of mold.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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