Living Environment

How To Get Rid Of Mildew

Is your house a breeding ground of molds and mildews? Do you find yourself staring at black specks on your ceilings and walls? Are your shoes covered with a musty layer of green coating? If you have observed these things around your house, then you’ve just entered the stinky world of mold and mildew.

You can say goodbye to all that. With the right equipment and knowledge, you can eliminate these household problems in no time.

The Suspects

Mold and mildew both belong to the fungi family. They thrive in areas that are dark, damp, airless, cold, and sometimes humid. Molds and mildew vary in appearance as they can manifest in thousands of types. However, all molds and mildew have designated missions:

  • To devour organic material around them.
  • To find areas that have some moisture so that they won’t have difficulty using their digestive enzymes.

Common areas with moisture around the house are bathrooms, basements, wardrobes, and steam rooms. They also love to hang out near overflowing washing machines, around roof leaks, wallpaper and drywall backings, kitchen cabinets and sink and areas where severe moisture and flooding are common. They love cellulose-based materials so also grow on draperies, towels, rugs, shower curtains, wood, linen, silk, wool, paper, and leather shoes.

Molds are not plants nor animals. Scientists classify molds as microscopic organisms that contain enzymes and spores. Molds use the enzymes for digesting and decomposing organic materials while the spores are there for reproduction.

Molds have a major role in nature. They decompose dead animals and fallen vegetation. Without them, our planet would be covered with piles and piles of dead stuff. However, they are a nuisance in your household especially if they’re chomping at things that destroy the look, smell and structure of your house. Molds and mildew need to devour something to survive and they have a ravenous appetite. Can you imagine how happy they would be if you just let them eat your house?

There are species of molds that only eat everyday dirt and dust that accumulate in any moisture-prone area of your house. These types don’t gobble on your home, but they create a horrible and stinky ambiance. These molds mar your walls with growths that resemble spiderwebs and clusters of unsightly black specks. They’re very slippery and pose a lot of danger on staircases.

There are only two magic words you need to remember to have a mold and mildew-free life. The two words are treatment and prevention.

Treatment

Before you can actually control mold and mildew, you have to prioritize materials that are already infested.

  • Buy a good cartridge-type respirator. You can find these at any medical or safety equipment supplier. Many advise the Willson triple-seal respirators that come with P100 filter cartridges. It’s important you get a high-quality respirator because simple dust and particulate masks don’t provide adequate protection from harmful spores. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles if you’ll be scraping, especially if you’re allergic to musty particles. Many people get health problems by ingesting spores during mildew removal. Wear a good respirator.
  • If your basement is flooded, it’s best if you can get your floor dried up within the first 72 hours to ensure that mold and mildew won’t establish themselves upon contact on the floor. Drill some holes in your drywall and take out the lower sections so that the inner walls can dry out as well.
  • Before you sort out infested materials, shut down the furnace so that the blower won’t get in the way by spreading the dust and spores around your house. You have to temporarily seal the ventilation grills with some duct tape or polyethylene sheeting.
  • Relocate furniture, lamps, pictures and virtually anything that can be found inside the room you’re working on.
  • The door of your working room must be covered. Tape polysheeting on all four edges across the door opening. Create a slit in the middle from top to bottom by using a cutter then tape another flap across the top.
  • It’s best if you can affix box fans in the window blowing outward.
  • Lightly mist insulation, carpets, and other materials by using a garden sprayer containing water and hand-dishwashing detergent.
  • It’s important to move slowly and deliberately so that you don’t stir up more spores while working.
  • Make sure that you double-bag and double-wrap the materials you’ll be disposing.
  • If you’re going to scrub hard surfaces, it’s use a ½ percent household beach solution.

Prevention

  • Simply keep your house clean. Grease and soil provide nourishment for molds and mildew that want to settle down.
  • Leaving the wet shower curtain bunched up in one corner is a common mistake. Be sure to dry all damp fabrics before folding them or placing them in the laundry hamper.
  • Get some moth balls like Paradichlorine crystals and place them in your closets and wardrobe armoires. Air the garments by placing them under the sun every once in a while during very warm weather.
  • Make sure your leather shoes won’t be the breeding ground for mildew by coating them with wax. There are also commercial aerosol sprays that are chemically designed to fight dust mold and mildew.
  • If possible, change your old ways by using mildew-resistant paint on wood.
  • Ensure good ventilation by opening windows if there’s a nice breeze outside. It’s best if you can buy an electric fan to allow air circulation inside studio-type rooms. You can also open the wardrobe doors and aim the fans to refresh the air inside the cabinets. Make sure your clothes hang loosely and not too close.
  • You can resort to chemically-drying the air by using silica gels or anyhydrous calcium sulphates. The key is really just getting rid of dampness because many household activity creates moisture, such as cooking, bathing and laundering. Control dampness to control mold and mildew.
  • If your home is tightly sealed, it’s best to get mechanical ventilation such as an air-to-air heat exchanger.

Different people have different degrees of tolerance to mildew. Studies show that in the United States, about 10 percent of the population is severely allergic to mold.

Mold and mildew spores are often compared to great basketball players as they both have what they call the “hang time”. Spores can remain suspended in mid-air for hours at a time and too much inhalation can have very hazardous effects on your health.

Stay healthy. Get rid of mold and mildew now.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of mildew.

About the author

Nicole Harding

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