How to Remove and Prevent Mildew
How to Remove Mildew
I don’t know anybody that’s a fan of mildew.
I, for one consider it to be on the Top Ten List of things I’d like banned from ever coming into my home.
Mildew can grow on a variety of surfaces given the right circumstances. Colors of mildew can vary from black, white, brown, yellow and grey and there is a musty smell that is unmistakable.
It really doesn’t matter how clean you might be – mold and mildew spores exist in your home, some areas more than others.
If you see it, clean it. Let’s go over a variety of surfaces where it can grow and how best you can tackle it.
What is Mildew
Let me just say again – mildew has no place in the home. But it happens. Mildew can grow on walls, clothing, fabric, paper, and other organic places in and around the house. And, as I stated above, it can be seen in a variety of colors.
Moisture, darkness and warm temperatures create a happy climate for optimum growth of the fungus.
A bathroom is the perfect example of the right kind of environment for mildew to grow. After showering, the bathroom can be a damp place with high humidity and often low ventilation.
Removing Mildew from Clothing
Have you ever had certain clothing items you just couldn’t let go of – your favorite bell bottoms, rock band t-shirts, baby clothes? Maybe you store seasonal clothes in a shed or in a barn because there isn’t room in the house?
I know I have and I’ve stored them safely packed away in tightly sealed plastic containers, trunks and yes, I’ve even stored a dresser and forgot to take what clothes were in there out. Good thing I didn’t love them.
No matter how safely I did store these items, and I stored mine in our shed because at the time I didn’t have room in the house or the garage, it was not enough to keep them from the changing environmental conditions. Rainy, damp, hot, cold, etc. Mildew crept in.
Clothes don’t even need to be stored away in order for mildew to happen. It could be wet items that sat too long in the garage, wet clothes left in a bag too long, or any number of other reasons.
The good news is, before you toss them out, they can most likely be cleaned.
- Take the clothing items outside and wear a paper mask so as not to breathe in any of the powdery mildew dust.
- Either thoroughly vacuum the mildew areas or use an old toothbrush to scrape away the mildew. Whatever works for you. Just remove as much mildew as you can before washing.
- Start filling the washer with the hottest water possible (check the label and use warm water if necessary). Add in recommended amount of Oxi-Clean detergent plus 1/2 cup borax. Let mix a little then add clothes while the tub is filling.
- Wash like colors together and don’t overload the washer, it’s better to do a couple small loads.
- Repeat if necessary and don’t put clothes in dryer until you know all the stain is out.
Removing Mildew on Leather
As mentioned about, take the leather item outside and brush off the surface using a soft rag. If the mildew left no staining behind – Yes! If there is a bit of staining, following the instructions below:
- Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and warm water.
- Dampen a soft cloth to clean the mildew stains.
- Let dry and repeat where necessary.
- When completely clean and dry, follow up with a good leather conditioner.
Note: If the label states that the leather item should only be cleaned by a professional, you may want to consider bringing it in.
Removing Mildew from a Plastic Shower Curtain Liner
Unfortunately, the shower is in the perfect environment for mildew to grow on a shower curtain. It’s hot and humid in there.
Even if you have a mildew resistant plastic shower curtain, at some point (maybe not as fast as a regular old shower curtain) it will get a little mildew on it – eventually.
- Fill the tub about half way with warm water and 1 cup of bleach.
- Let it shower curtain soak a while then come back and use a soft bristled scrub brush to clean the shower curtain. (be careful not to splash the bleach water on your clothes, I suggest you wear old clothes)
- To thoroughly remove the residue from cleaning you can either hold the shower curtain liner and turn the shower on warm or put the shower curtain liner in the washer on a short rinse cycle using warm water (not hot).
- If you rinse in the shower, hang back to let drip dry or put in the dryer on air dry for a few minutes to remove the majority of water before hanging back up.
Removing Mildew from Whirlpool Bathtub Jets
If you have a jetted bathtub then you know how easing into a warm relaxing tub with the jets pulsing can ease your aching muscles.
But have you ever thought about the stagnant water that sits in the jets and how dirty they can actually be? Think about it. Soap, skin cells, body oils. Besides going down the drain they can also get trapped in the jets.
Take a look at this article Cleaning the Bathtub Jets for more information.
Proper methods of storage can stop the problem of mildew before it starts. Do not use cardboard boxes or plastic trash bags to store your clothing.
If you do have to store clothing, keep them out of the changing environment, keep them in a dry place.
Do not store clothing items when they are wet or damp.