MILDEW is that annoying mold that lives on fabric, wood, wallpaper or any area exposed to a lot of water – especially in areas with poor ventilation or direct sunlight. We’ve all seen the powdery white spots that appears on cardboard boxes stored in damp rooms or attics or the black gunk that lives in the corner of the shower. A small amount of mildew won’t cause too much hassle but if you don’t deal with it early on, it’s bound to spread. It can ruin household valuables and worse – trigger and allergic reaction. The following is our guide to dealing with this pesky problem in the home:
1) Painted Walls – In areas with poor ventilation, mildew can quickly begin to grow on walls. To deal with it at the first sign of growth, mix 5 litres of water with 200ml of bleach and apply to the growth with a soft scrubbing brush. Let the mixture penetrate for about 15 minutes before rinsing with fresh tap water. Dry thoroughly with a fan or a hairdryer for about 30 minutes. If the stain comes back, you may have dampness behind the wall and the hard wall should be replaced.
2) Wood – Wood is an ideal home for mildew. If you find growth on your wood cabinets, panelling or furniture, start by vacuuming the loose spores with a soft brush attachment. Using a well-wrung cloth dipped in a few squirts of washing up liquid and about 5 litres of water, clean the area as best you can. Don’t “drown” the wood as you could cause it to warp. If a cloudy film forms, wipe the area with a small amount of paint thinner.
3) Paper – There’s nothing worse than losing one of your old books to mildew. To rescue them, first air the pages outside on a sunny, breezy day for 3-5 hours. Once they’re dry to touch, brush off the mildew with a dry cloth. You may find some remaining stains so to remove this, gently wipe the pages with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of 1 part chlorine to 4 parts water. Make sure to wring the cloth out well first. Go over the same area again with a fresh soft cloth, this time dipped in fresh water. Remember not to over saturate the paper. All that’s left to do is to pat the pages dry. If you wish to speed up the drying process, simply sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on each page to absorb the left over moisturiser, then wipe it off with a soft, clean paintbrush.
4) Washable Fabrics – Towels left in that too-little open gym bag can be the ideal place for mildew to grow. To get rid of it, take the towel outside and brush off the mildew spores with a stiff brush and left it sun-dry with 4-5 hours. hen, machine-wash whites with chlorine bleach or pre-soak coloured fabrics for 30 minutes in liquid non-chlorine bleach. Rinse and dry. This method also works on plastic shower curtains and liners; just skip the first step and launder in warm water using the gentle cycle.