Mildew is an unsightly mold growth that can be either white or black. It can grow on different surfaces but thrives best on materials that are in hot, damp and enclosed places that do not allow air to freely circulate and in those places that receive poor lighting. Mildew can also grow on fabrics and clothes made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, linen, silk. It can also grow on wood, paper and leather and shower curtains.
Mildew can cause damage to items where it develops. It can discolor fabrics or even rot them. Mildew can do the same for paper and leather, as well as leave a musty odor.
Below you will find some tips that will help you prevent mildew from growing.
- Molds that cause mildew grow on dirt and moisture. Wipe off and disinfect kitchen walls especially those above your stove where grease, cooking oil and splashes from sauces can provide a good place for mildew-causing mold to grow. Tile grouts are favorite places for mildew to develop. Clean tile grouts and dry them thoroughly and apply a grout sealant to prevent moisture from seeping into the grout. After a shower, allow the shower curtain to dry by letting it hang open over the tub or shower area. A bunched shower curtain will take time to properly dry out.
- Store clean clothing inside clean closets and dresser drawers. Soil and warm air is fodder for mildew. Wash dirty clothes immediately and hang sweaty clothes to dry if you cannot wash them at once to remove the chance of mildew growth.
- Check your basement for dampness as this is a favorite breeding place for mildew. Look for cracks and leaks and repair as needed. Waterproof concrete walls and paint them with two coats of cement paint. Make sure that your outside drainage is sufficient.
- Air conditioners and dehumidifiers will keep the air inside your house cool with dry air. Warm air has moisture in it. To prevent warm air from entering your house, keep the doors and windows closed when using your air conditioner or dehumidifier.
- You can remove dampness from your house by running the heater for a short period before you open the windows and doors to let out the warm air. Install an exhaust fan in the kitchen and inside the bathroom to force warm air out of these rooms. Louvers installed on door closets will allow air to circulate inside the closets. Use a fine screen to prevent insects from crawling through the louvers.
- Activated alumina, anhydrous calcium sulfates and silica gels inside closets are very good moisture absorbers. You can place several containers inside your closets, usually on the closet floor and on shelves. You can hang bags of these among your clothes. These can be recycled then they have turned pink by drying them in a vented oven set at three hundred to three hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit for several hours until they turn blue again.
- Install a small fan inside your closet to provide cool air and allow the air to circulate. Do not hang clothes on the rack too tightly. Give space between clothes so that air can circulate among the clothes. Store clothes inside drawers only when they are fully dry to prevent mildew from forming.
- Air-dry leather and rubber shoes to inhibit mildew growth. You can also sprinkle the insides of your shoes with baking soda to absorb moisture and remove the musty odor from sweat and mildew.
- Treat outer garments, overshoes, mattresses, draperies and slipcovers with water repellant sprays to keep moisture out.
- On warm, windy days, air blankets and pillows and open windows and doors and let the cooling air inside closets and drawers. Use this time to inspect clothing to check if mildew is forming.
Mildew is very damaging and you have to take every precaution to keep your house clean and dry to prevent mildew from forming.