Water Damage Restoration

Get rid of mildew, musty basement odors and black mold

 

How To Get Rid Of Mildew

Knowing how to get rid of mildew is an important skill for any homeowner. Once mold and mildew start growing, you will need to act quickly. 

Three things you need to know about mold
There are three things required to get rid of mildew and musty basement odors: reduce the humidity, lower the temperature and clean.

This is because mold and mildew thrive in wet, warm conditions, and regular cleaning prevents it from having a chance to start growing. This is a very unhealthy sort of water damage.


Get rid of mildew before you get sick

Few things are as damaging to your health as mildew. Once it starts growing in your house, it can be very difficult to get rid of it. Take the time to learn about water damage prevention, restoration and repair.

Lower the household humidity
The areas that are prone to mold, mildew and musty odors are always the ones that have a lot of moisture; the bathroom, basement, kitchen, etc. The amount of moisture determines which solution you need.

If you have standing water in the basement, for example, you will need to do some serious work to eliminate this problem. You might need a basement sump pump, to repair a foundation crack, add some French drains, and so on.

There is simply no way to eliminate mold and mildew if you do not address the moisture problem. It is easier in an area such as the kitchen or bathroom because you can often make a huge difference with just a vent fan. In older homes it might take some ingenuity to run the vent to the outside, but it is essential to remove the humidity.

Lower the heat in the musty room
Everybody likes to step out of the hot shower and into a warm bathroom! Just make sure that the heat does not stay on more than necessary. The warm, humid atmosphere is exactly what the mold and mildew are looking for in a home.

If you build it, they will come! Some homes are chronically overheated, which again provides the ideal living conditions for the fungi. Lowering the heat can accomplish several things at the same time. You will obviously save money, you will probably have less sickness in the family, and the nasty odors of mildew will be gone.

Clean, clean, clean
Years ago I regularly helped an elderly woman in Sweden clean her home. I believe she and her countrymen set the standards for clean, really! It was just normal to take everything out of each room, one at a time, and clean everything.

She aired the rugs and curtains, scrubbed the baseboards, window sills, everything. It was just the way to clean and keep things clean. I've never forgotten those experiences, and in my own little way have tried to be a little bit like that.

Needless to say, she had no mold, musty basement smell in her house, just the fresh, warm odors of the cotton materials and natural wood. She also kept some kind of aroma producing oils around that made everything very pleasant.

To prevent mold growth and learn how to get rid of mildew you must keep things clean. Not the kind of once a week cleaning done on Saturday morning, but rather the regular wiping down and scrubbing of tubs, sinks, showers, counter tops and wherever else the fungi might want to grow. Clean as you go is the idea.

Cleaners to help get rid of mildew
You could always use chlorine bleach on everything, but that is just not a good idea! It is damaging to fabrics, wood, plastics, people and pets! In really severe cases you can use bleach mixed with water, but you must use a lot of caution and care.

Companies such as Seventh Generation and Ecover make environmentally friendly cleaners that work quite well, without the damaging effects of strong chemicals. They are made from plant extracts and are safe for children and pets.

Baking soda removes odors from clothes, rugs, refrigerators and anywhere else odors are present. It also helps eliminate urine odors from pet accidents and even people accidents! I looked to see what the active ingredient was in those expensive magic cleaning sponges, guess what- It is baking soda!

Vinegar is another very safe cleaner that helps remove odors from bathrooms and kitchens. Many delicatessens use vinegar to keep things clean and fresh. I once used baking soda and vinegar to remove skunk odor from my house; it was a lot of work to scrub everything, but it worked very well.

All in all, unless you have a major water damage problem, getting rid of mold and mildew is not complicated or expensive. Some typical places to look are crawl space ventilation, basement water damage, or if your basement is flooded.

More great ideas on water damage and mold

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