Cleaning Mildew

by Emily McBride
(last updated July 26, 2010)

Most homes today have occasional problems with mildew. Wherever it is hard to keep an area dry or keep air circulating, you may see this mold start to grow. Mildew is a type of mold that can either be black or white, and it usually spreads in thin layers. You can find mildew in gardens, in basements, in bathrooms, and on windowsills, but most commonly, you will struggle with mildew in bathrooms. Not only is mildew obnoxious, but it can be harmful. It is important to continually get rid of your mildew so that it can eat away at the surface it is on. The toxins in mildew can also cause allergies or respiratory problems.

The best way to keep your home mildew-free is to try to prevent and stay on top of it. Here are some suggestions on how to prevent mildew:

  • Clean your house regularly—even though it can be a pain, don't ignore the chore of cleaning the bathtub or wiping down the windowsill for too long. Keep your home clutter and dirt free.
  • Another way to help prevent mildew is to keep air circulating within the room. Install an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.
  • Use materials that are made to suck moisture out of the air (such as silica gel and molecular sieves). You probably won't find these materials at normal household stores, so try going to an industrial cleaner supplier.

While it is best to try to prevent mildew, sometimes it grows anyway. And because mildew is a growing organism, once it is growing, you cannot just clean it—you have to kill it.

  • The least expensive way to kill mildew is by using chlorine bleach. Make up a solution of three parts water with one part bleach. Let it sit on the mildew for at least ten minutes, and then scrub it. After you have completely scrubbed the mildew away, wash the area with water. One disadvantage to using bleach is that it is a harsh chemical that will make your bathroom or your bedroom smell like bleach for days.
  • You can also buy household cleaning products designed specifically for mildew. You usually use these products the same way that you would use bleach.
  • You can also use vinegar the same way as bleach. The benefit of using vinegar is that it is not as harsh of a chemical.

These tips should help you get rid of most mildew. Unfortunately, however, if the caulk in your bathtub is moldy, you will have to replace it because you won't be able to get rid of it by scrubbing.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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