Mold and mildew on any surface of the home can be unsightly and potentially unhealthy. Depending on the amount of the mold and mildew and its location, it can also have a negative impact on the value of your property. If your home smells musty the culprit is most likely mold and mildew. Mold can grow in a variety of places in and around the house. Where there is moisture there might be mold. It grows on moist materials so anywhere you have a water leak you could have mold. Once you have identified where it is, mold removal is the next step. With the right cleaning tips and a little work mold can be removed and the moldy surfaces cleaned to look new. However, if you are uncomfortable with the possible health hazards associated with mold and mildew removal, there are professional companies that specialize in mold removal.
Things You Will Need
A soft bristle scrub brush, possibly an old tooth brush to get into tight areas, Protective gloves, sponge, Chlorine bleach or a Cleaning product such as X-14 or Tilex, Respirator mask if breathing the cleaning chemicals causes any breathing discomfort, Eye protection, Protective clothing, Cloth or paper towels
First, anyone removing mold must protect themselves to avoid any health issues that could result from the removal process. Wear a mask and eye protection in addition to protective clothing. Next, dampen any moldy materials and surfaces. This will minimize the number of air-borne mold spores. Hard surfaces can be scrubbed with soap or detergent and then cleaned with bleach. Make sure to rinse the areas well and dry thoroughly.
Porous materials such as carpet padding and drywall can never be completely mold free once they have been infested with mold and mildew and should be discarded. Wood surfaces may need more than a good scrubbing to completely remove the mold and mildew. Sanding the wood surface may be necessary to remove the mold and mildew.
Areas that have had the mold and mildew removed should be disinfected with bleach or another mold and mildew killer. Generally a mix of 1/4 to 1/2 cup bleach to one gallon of water is recommended depending on the surface to be cleaned. After cleaning and disinfecting, rinse the area with water and dry as quickly as possible. Make sure to ventilate the area to help speed the drying process and help prevent mold and mildew from returning.
You can help prevent future growth of mold and mildew on fabrics by spraying on a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water. A garden pump sprayer is good for applying this. Vinegar will not harm or stain most fabrics but you should test a small area first.
Mildew can be unhealthy especially for individuals with asthma or other respiratory problems. It can also smell bad and look even worse. The methods used for cleaning will very somewhat depending on the type of surface and if a protective finish was ever used to protect the surface. Use a cleaning method that is appropriate for the surface and always test in a small inconspicuous area first to test for colorfastness.
Tips & Warnings
Start with the mildest soap solutions first to see if they will successfully remove the stains before using stronger solutions. Protective gloves, safety glasses or goggles and a mask are recommended when dealing with chemicals.
Bleach and other chemicals used to clean mold and mildew can be poison and the vapors can be toxic to individuals with breathing problems. Some individuals may have allergies that can be aggravated by mold and mildew. NEVER mix bleach and ammonia or ammonia-based soaps because the fumes can be hazardous.