How to Eliminate and Prevent Mold and Mildew
by Ruby Bayan
Eliminating and preventing the growth and spread of mold and mildew in the home is a constant challenge. The presence of moisture in the bathroom, kitchen, attic and basement, makes these areas of the house the ideal breeding ground for fungal growth. Unabated, mildew can eat up walls, furniture and fabric, and cause allergies and various ailments to members of the family. Here are important tips on how to eliminate and prevent mold and mildew at home.
What you'll need:
Warm to hot water
What to do:
1. Do a routine check for mold and mildew. Especially during the rainy or wet season, visit all the rooms, the attic and the basement regularly to check for leaks, moisture build-up or signs of mold and mildew. Use a strong flashlight to check corners and crevices, as well as folds in drapes and curtains.
2. Determine and remedy the cause of leaks and moisture build-up. Patch up cracks, leaky roofs and windows, and other sources of water and moisture. Install additional insulation if necessary. If poor ventilation contributes to the problem, consider using air-conditioners, de-humidifiers and exhaust fans.
3. Vacuum the molds off the affected surface. Use the vacuum cleaner's brush attachment or scrub the area with a stiff brush to remove as much of the growth as possible.
4. Mop, sponge or spray the affected surface with a solution of half a cup of chlorine bleach to two gallons of water and rinse with fresh water. Dry the area thoroughly.
5. Paint affected and stained walls and floors with mold-resistant paint.
6. Air affected furnishings, furniture and upholstery outdoors and expose to the sun if possible.
7. Wash affected or stained fabric with hot water and laundry bleach, being careful to follow the item's washing instructions.
8. Remember that the best way to prevent mold and mildew is to always keep the house clean, dry, and well ventilated.
A greener alternative to bleach is 30 or 35 percent hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal amount of water. Wash the affected area with soap and water, then spray the peroxide solution. Let the solution sit for an hour and spray again. No need to rinse; just let it dry. No bleach odor to deal with.
A musty smell is a sure sign of the presence of mold and mildew. Check all the nooks and crannies and inspect for leaks and watermarks that may not be easy to detect.
Regularly wash rags and mats that often get wet. Remove carpeting that tends to become moist, wet or soaked.
Always wear a mask or respirator before vacuuming or scrubbing off mold and mildew. Always wear gloves when handling bleach solutions.
Immediately after vacuuming molds and mildew, clean out the vacuum cleaner, dispose of the collection bag, and wash or replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
EPA.gov: Mold Resources
NYC Housing Authority: Mold and Mildew Prevention & Treatment
Contributed to eHow.com by Ruby Bayan, Home & Garden Topic Expert 2007-2010
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