Mold and mildew (mold in its early stage) are fungi that happily and quickly grow anywhere there is moisture. They serve an important purpose in our environment by helping to destroy organic materials such as leaves, thereby enriching the soil. But that same attribute can cause a serious health issue for people living in a moldy home: respiratory problems; sinus congestion; eye, nose, or throat irritation; and headaches. Infants, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals, and people with existing respiratory conditions are at a higher risk for these problems.
Check for areas in your home where there could be high humidity or water damage, such as a damp basement or crawl space. Mildew and mold can grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpets, drywall, fabric, plants, foods, and insulation. These growths can begin to develop on a damp surface within 24 and 48 hours and produce spores that travel through the air. They will break down and destroy whatever they're growing on and can cause mild to severe health problems for you and your family.
The problem won't go away on its own. Learn how to remove -- and prevent -- mold and mildew with these simple tips.
Planning on doing battle with mold and mildew? Make sure you have these cleaning tools on hand.
Few rooms in the home see as much moisture and humidity as the bathroom. Be sure your bathroom stays well-ventilated. An exhaust fan will help circulate the air and remove moisture more quickly. These additional actions will help keep your bathroom fresh and mold-free.
If you're dealing with a mildewed shower curtain made of durable fabric, follow these steps for cleaning it.
Wash using a solution of 1/2 cup liquid disinfectant to 1 gallon of hot water.
Rinse with a mixture of one cup lemon juice and one cup salt to a gallon of hot water.
Wash with detergent and bleach (using color-safe bleach on color fabrics).
Rinse in clear water.
Avoid sending mold spores into the air and throughout the house by first taking fabric and upholstery that's mobile outside. Brush off as much of the mildew as possible. Then treat these pieces individually as follows.
Start by thoroughly vacuuming the affected carpet to remove as much of the mildew as you can. After you are done, either throw away the bag or clean the canister outside. Then proceed as follows.
Briskly mix 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry soap and 2 cups of cool water.
Apply the suds to the stained area with a damp cloth, sponging lightly.
Repeat until the stain is gone, then rinse.
Dry the area completely.
Help keep your home free of mold and mildew with a few preventive measures.
If the mold and mildew on your fabric, upholstery, carpet, or furniture is beyond cleaning and drying, throw it out or call a professional cleaning service. Don't take a chance with the potential health risks that mold and mildew can cause you and your family.
Learn how to treat hundreds of stains with our free tool, Stain Fixes.