Another way to fight mildew is to start with a clean surface, use a commercial soap scum remover to clean the area.
After the area is clean, take a spray bottle and mix half bleach and half water in it. Then spray your area thoroughly. Let that sit for just a few minutes. You can buy a commercial product that has the bleach and the cleaner in it already. But if you clean the area first and then bleach, you should be able to see better results.
Here are some more tips we found for you when it comes to preventing mildew.
First of all keep things as clean as possible, closets, dresser drawers, basements--any place where mildew is likely to growóneed to be clean and dry. Soil on clothes can supply enough food for mildew to start growing when moisture and temperature are right. In the kitchen, mildew can grow on greasy walls and that in turn can cause mold.
Dampness is the enemy and you have to get rid of it. Dampness is often caused by condensation from humid air onto cooler surfaces. Too much moisture may be a sign that repairs or additional insulation are needed. To cut down on the moisture be sure to replace cracked or defective mortar and make sure the outside drainage is sufficient.
If you want to control moisture on masonry above ground walls, apply two coats of cement paint. You can use cement paint tinted with mineral coloring if you want it to match. You may also consider using waterproofed coatings to seal absorbent brick and other outside surfaces.
Spread a layer of moisture-barrier material over the soil in crawl spaces under houses. Heavy roofing paper or polyethylene plastic film is a good choice also. Whether we are talking about the bathroom, kitchen or smaller places inside the house, good ventilation is a must. If possible, do not enclose the crawl space. In extreme cases, a fan or blower may be needed to move the humid air from under the building.
Did you know that cooking, laundering, and bathing may add 2 gallons or more of water a day to the house. You may consider using an exhaust fan if having good air circulation is a problem. If your clothes dryer is equipped with a vent, make sure the exhaust goes outside so the moist air is not re-circulated in the house.
Did you ever wonder why some older broken air conditioners leak water? Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. Properly installed air-conditioning systems remove moisture from the air by taking up warm air, cooling it (which removes the moisture) and circulating the cool dry air back into the room.
If you have a damp basement you may want to think about getting a mechanical dehumidifier. A gauge called a humidistat can be attached to the unit to control the humidity. One down side to mechanical dehumidifiers is that they can add heat to a room.
When using air-conditioners or dehumidifiers, keep windows and doors closed.
You can also get rid of dampness by heating the house for a short time. When you are through heating it, open the doors and windows to let out the moist air. Try using an exhaust fan to help force it out.
Ventilation and circulation are key in preventing mildew. When the air outside is drier than air inside, ventilation allows the dry air to enter, take up excess moisture, and then be carried outside. When you canít count on a natural breeze, create an artificial one of your own! Electric fans placed in a window, set in a wall, or ducted to the attic will move moist air from the house.
Poorly ventilated closets get damp and musty during the rainy season, and whatever you store in the closets are apt to mildew. Try to improve the air circulation by opening the closet doors or by installing a fan.
Whatever you do, donít hang up wet clothes in the closet. If you child comes home after playing in the rain, make sure the rain coat and boots are completely dry before hanging them back up in the closet. Also, hang the clothes loosely in the closet so that air can circulate around and through them.
Musty odor is a sign that mildew and mold are on the way. By getting rid of musty odors as soon as possible you will prevent further mold growth. Usually you can get rid of musty odors if you make sure the area is well heated and dried.
To get rid of mustiness on cement floors and on tiled walls and floors in bathrooms, scrub the area with a diluted solution of bleach and water as we discussed in our quick tip. Rinse with clear water and wipe as dry as possible. Keep windows open until walls and floors are thoroughly dry.
PRECAUTION: Work quickly and carefully on plastic and asphalt tile to avoid spotting the surface and use a solution of one cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
When it comes to keeping clothes and other fabric mildew free make sure your damp clothes; towels and other items never sit for too long. For example, if you have damp clothes donít let them sit in the hamper for a week. Toss them in the washing machine and dry them right away. If something is dried slowly it may get sour and musty smelling--a sign of mold growth. When it comes to starching clothes, unless you are sure that your laundry starch contains a mildew inhibitor, do not leave starch in fabrics you are going to store; molds feed on starch.
Wash out dishcloths and hang them to dry. Spread out washcloths and damp towels. Stretch out wet shower curtains. A wet shower curtain bunched together or sticking to the wall or tub will likely grow mildew.
If you have never tried it, you donít know what you are missing! If you leave clothing that is stored in closets, outside on a warm dry day, they will return to your closet with a great fresh smell. Not only will they smell great you will be preventing mildew.
Also, inspect cotton, rayon, leather, and woolen clothing stored in garment bags. Between dampness, hot weather and a closed bag, mold and mildew will think they are on a holiday and destroy all your great clothes you are trying to store so carefully!
We hope these quick tips help you next time you are on the prowl to get out mildew.