Mildew is a type of fungus that grows on damp surfaces, and it is commonly found in many houses. Most people have a difficult time telling the difference between mold and mildew. Although both are fungi that thrive in damp areas, molds are usually black or dark green, while mildew has a powdery appearance. When mildew starts to grow, it looks as if a whitish or greyish powder has been sprinkled all over the affected surface. As the mildew continues to grow, it typically turns orange or pink, and after some time, it turns black.
Mildew tends to thrive in places with high humidity, and it can pose various health risks to you and to other members of your household. Mildew has been linked to several conditions, including, respiratory illnesses and skin diseases. Mildew can destroy the structure of your house and the aesthetic value of your living space. For these reasons, it is necessary for you to take steps to prevent a mildew infestation from occurring in your house. If you already have mildew, you can get rid of it in the following ways.
Removing mildew from wood and furniture
Mildew can grow on your furniture, cabinets, or shelves. To remove mildew from wooden materials, dissolve a quarter a cup of washing soda – also referred to as soda ash or sodium carbonate – into two liters of warm water. Apply the solution over the affected piece of furniture in a light and even manner. You can then use a brush with soft bristles, or an abrasive washcloth, to thoroughly scrub the affected area and to remove the mildew. After the mildew has come off, rinse the piece of furniture with clean warm water. You can then use a towel to remove water from the surface, and then put the piece of furniture out in the sun and let it dry. If the mildew infection has spread beneath the finishing on the furniture, you first have to remove the paint or the wood varnish before you can clean the mildew off. Don’t try to get rid of mildew by painting over it.
Removing mildew from clothes and other fabrics
For fabrics that can be machine washed or hand washed, a thorough washing can get rid of most of the mildew. However, the mildew smell tends to stick around if you wash the fabric with ordinary detergents alone. To get rid of the mildew smell, you can add one cup of vinegar to every load of clothes or fabrics that you have to wash. If the mildew smell doesn’t come off after you wash the fabric with vinegar, repeating the wash cycle with baking powder, instead of the vinegar, will do the trick. In the case of non-washable fabrics such as silk, you can first try to brush off as much of the mildew as you can, and then leave the fabric out in the sun and let it dry. After the fabric has dried, put 1 cup of warm water and a tablespoon of white vinegar in a spray bottle, and use it to lightly spray your fabric. The vinegar solution will kill the remaining mildew, and remove the bad odor.
Removing mildew from concrete surfaces and tiles
Create a mixture of bleach, warm water, and dishwashing detergent, and sprinkle it all over the affected area. Let the solution stay on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes in order to allow the bleach to kill off the mildew. Use a stiff brush to vigorously scrub the affected surface. You can then rinse the surface with warm water. Whenever you are removing mildew from walls and floors, remember to pay attention to all the nooks and crannies. If you miss mildew spores that are hidden in areas such as corners and cracks, chances are that the mildew will grow back again. You should take your time and try to be thorough.