You Can Win the Battle Against Mildew

You Can Win the Battle Against Mildew


Mildew is a form of mold, a plant that is part of the fungi family. When mildew begins to build up within the home, significant damage can take place. A musty odor, unpleasant to most people, can be unhealthy for others, causing such allergic reactions as a runny nose, difficulty breathing, headaches and fatigue according to the State of Rhode Island Department of Health. [1]

You can win the battle against mildew and mold, and do so without the aid of a professional. Certain home remedies can be beneficial, enabling you to eradicate the problem before mildew gets out of control.

Remove dampness – A damp house is a mildew incubator. You can quickly remove excess moisture in one of two ways: turning up the air-conditioning or turning up the heat. Naturally, choose the option appropriate for the season, especially in summer and winter. With air-conditioning, you’ll need to ensure that all windows and doors are closed. If using your heating system, turn up the heat to 90 degrees for about 30 minutes then open windows and doors to let out the moisture saturated air advises the University of Missouri Extension Service. [2] If mildew is present in your basement, use a dehumidifier to remove dampness.

Mildew on furniture – Mildew on upholstered furniture can be eradicated by wiping it with a cloth moistened with diluted isopropyl alcohol – use 1 cup of denatured or rubbing alcohol to 1 cup water. Dry off the furniture thoroughly.

Carpeting and rugs – Rug shampoo or thick suds should be used on floor covering that has mildew. Use a sponge if a carpet cleaning machine isn’t available and then apply a clean, damp cloth to remove moisture. If possible, allow a rug to dry outside in the sun. Use a fan or electric heat source to dry the carpeting.

Bathroom walls and floors – Tiled bathroom walls and floors in bathrooms can be a magnet for mildew. You can remove mildew by scrubbing surfaces with a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite or other chlorine bleach. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup (.23 liters) of liquid household bleach to a gallon (3.8 liters) of water. Follow up with a clear water rinse and dry. Windows should remain open while applying the solution and until the surfaces have dried.

Other surfaces – Mildew on books can be removed by applying baby powder and shaking the powder out once the book has dried. Use a solution of trisodium phosphate – 8 to 10 tablespoons to a gallon or 3.8 liters of water to handle wood surfaces. Or, you can use washing soda – sodium carbonate – instead.

Of course, keeping your home clean and dry is the best prevention against mildew and mold. If your problem is beyond your ability to resolve it, then professional assistance may be required to get your mildew problem under control. [3]


[1] State of Rhode Island: Department of Health; Mold Health Risks

[2] University of Missouri Extension Service: How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods

[3] Service Magic: Mildew Removal: Investigate, Eliminate, and Anticipate



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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".