Posted on July 14th, 2020
Along with barbecues, vacations, and beach trips, summertime brings the threat of increased mold and mildew growth, which thrive in hot, humid temperatures. Homes that lack air conditioning or proper ventilation become especially prone to fungal issues during the warmer months. In this blog, we’ll talk about their dangers and why it’s necessary to resolve them as soon as possible. In addition, we’ll explain how to remove mold and mildew using eco-friendly cleaning products, not harsh chemicals. Plus, we’ll also give proactive tips to stop these unwelcome fungi from returning.
Why Should You Clean Mold and Mildew at Home ASAP?
In addition to being unsightly, mold and mildew have been linked to a number of health issues, including allergies, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. These are likely to occur in young children, elderly people, and those with compromised immune systems. Knowing how to identify mold and mildew and clean them properly is therefore essential to ensuring the health of your family to improve the air quality in your home.
How to Identify Mold From Mildew
Knowing the difference between mold and mildew is critical. Without timely corrective action, a mold infestation can eat through wood, fabric, cardboard, and other materials that contain cellulose. Likewise, while both mold and mildew can cause allergic and respiratory symptoms, mold is more strongly associated with long-term health complications.
The easiest way to tell mold from mildew is by examining its color and texture. Mildew is usually light in color (gray, white, or yellow) and has a fluffy, powdery appearance. Mold, on the other hand, tends to be black or green, with a fuzzy or slimy texture. Both are likely to grow in areas that are frequently exposed to excess moisture, such as:
- In the bathroom
- Around doors and window sills
- Heating and cooling vents
- In the kitchen (particularly under the sink)
- In appliances, like in a smelly and dirty fridge
How to Clean Mold and Mildew Without Putting Yourself At Risk
- Before you start cleaning mold or mildew, ventilate the area by opening the windows for at least half an hour.
- Then, wear a protective face mask to avoid breathing in mold spores while working. (If you have allergies or asthma, you should probably skip this job altogether and call a cleaning professional to handle it for you instead.)
- Use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar, along with some baking soda and a scrubbing sponge. Spray undiluted vinegar liberally on any areas contaminated by mildew, then let the solution “sit” for at least two hours. This will kill the fungi and prepare the surface for further cleaning.
- After two hours, mix water and baking soda together to create a thick paste. Coat your cleaning sponge in this paste and vigorously scrub until all signs of mildew have been removed. When you’re done, rinse your sponge and wipe away any leftover baking soda residue.
Using Vinegar to Remove Mold Naturally
White vinegar can also remove mold from non-porous tiles and mold-prone appliances, such as your coffee maker, dishwasher, and washing machine. To clean these items:
- Run one cup of white vinegar through their regular hot water cycles or four cups if you’re cleaning a washing machine.
- Dip a cleaning sponge in a hot water-vinegar solution and do any additional detail cleaning needed. (E.g., scrub down the seals on your dishwasher and washing machine.)
- Rinse thoroughly with water when you’re done.
When to Use Bleach to Clean Molds?
More porous surfaces, like walls, may require bleaching to get rid of lingering mold stains. You can avoid toxic chlorine bleach by opting for a solution that contains 3-10% hydrogen peroxide instead. Remember, never use a solution stronger than 10%, as these can be hazardous. Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide doesn’t create dangerous fumes or residues.
To use hydrogen peroxide:
- Spray the solution onto contaminated areas and let it sit for at least half an hour. You may need to let it sit longer if the area is badly stained.
- Then, mist the area with baking soda and water solution to neutralize the peroxide.
- Scrub off the mold with your cleaning sponge before rinsing.
Hydrogen peroxide should never be used on fabric or upholstered furniture as it can bleach the dye out of these items.
How to Remove Molds in Furniture or Carpet
To get mold out of your furniture or carpets:
- Apply white vinegar with a spray bottle (while being careful not to soak the area).
- Then, scrub the carpet or upholstery with a stiff brush until mold stains disappear.
- When you’re done, sprinkle with baking soda (this will soak up excess moisture and remove lingering odors), let it sit for an hour, then vacuum it up.
If this approach doesn’t work, you must call a professional cleaning company. Don’t risk using harsher cleaning methods on your own, as you’ll almost certainly damage your carpets or furniture.
Mold and Mildew Prevention: How to Stop Them From Coming Back?
If you don’t address the moisture issues that caused mold or mildew to grow in your home in the first place, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with chronic mold issues. To keep mold and mildew from coming back after you clean, follow these steps:
- Install a dehumidifier. To stop mold and mildew from developing, you must keep indoor humidity levels below 50%. Unless you live in a very arid area, accomplishing this will require installing and properly using a dehumidifier.
- Make sure your bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans are working properly. You should also open the bathroom door immediately after taking a bath or shower to vent excess moisture.
- Don’t store linen, books, cardboard, furniture, or wood in your basement or attic. These areas are poorly ventilated and damp, so they’re hot spots for mold accumulation. Store items that contain cellulose in your garage or a dedicated storage unit instead.
- Keep the grout in your bathroom in good condition. Aged, poorly-sealed grout is much more prone to moisture and mildew problems than new, sealed grout.
Though you can clean a mold infestation yourself if you catch it early enough, the same cannot be said for late-stage mold infestations. Attempting to clean up a large area of mold without the right equipment and respiratory protection will expose you to toxic mold spores, potentially leading to health problems. Mold is also notoriously difficult to get rid of once it’s firmly established: Even if you manage to remove superficial mold on your own, remaining mold spores typically lead to rapid regrowth. For this reason, you should call a professional cleaning company if you see a large area of mold in your home.
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If you’re tired of living with musty odors and stains, DeluxeMaid can help. Aside from addressing moisture from water leaks, scheduling a regular cleaning service can also help keep this common household under control. Book a clean with us today!