Mould and mildew are fungi that thrive in moist environments. Mould can be good outdoors as it helps break down dead organic matter and rejuvenate our environment, but it is not something you want in your home. Mould tends to be green, white or black and tends to have a thick, fuzzy texture.
Mildew is similar to mould in the way it decomposes dead organic materials and grows in warm, wet condition, but it can usually be more easily found in the home, as it grows in small patches on surfaces. It tends to grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, carpet, and a range of different fabrics. It looks flat and dusty and is usually black, brown, yellow or white.
When mould and mildew develop in your home it can be bad for the structure of your property and fairly hazardous for your health. People who have asthma or allergies will suffer the most, but completely healthy individuals can also be affected.
Here are 3 ways to remove mould and mildew from your home and how to prevent it coming back:
Bleach and Water
Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of warm water, and use a medium bristled brush. Brush the bleach solution over the mouldy or mildewed area and dry the surface off as much as possible. Don’t leave the area with any damp patches, as this will just promote the mould and mildew growth.
If there are any hard to reach places, then put the solution in a spray bottle. Bleach is very effective when it comes to killing off mould and mildew spores, and sodium hypochlorite is actually the main ingredient in most shop-bought mould removal products.
Fill a bottle with undiluted white or apple cider vinegar and spray onto the mouldy surface. Wash the area with a brush and then let it dry out completely. Only use the vinegar on non-porous surfaces such as tiles, as material like wood will absorb it.
Vinegar is a good non-toxic alternative to bleach, and due to the fact it is a mild acid is thought to be about 80% effective at destroying mould and mildew and the particles they create.
Brushes on Fabric
If there is mould or mildew on your clothing or furniture, you may need to take a slightly different approach. Use a brush to scrub off as much of the visible mould as possible, then soak in a stain removing solution and put in the wash.
With leather furniture, brush off the mould and then dip a cloth in a solution made of one cup of water and one cup of denatured alcohol. Rub the affected area and allow to fully dry.
Prevent Mould and Mildew
Mould and mildew are caused by moisture, so if you get rid of your mould but don’t resolve your moisture problem, you are just inviting it to come back again at some point. Clean up any water damaged areas as quickly as possible and make sure they are dry all the way through.
If you have porous materials that have absorbed water and become heavily damaged by mould, then it could be best to just throw them away. If your mould patches are very big, then it’s usually worth getting a specialist in to help.
Make sure you never try and just paint over or caulk a mouldy or mildew covered surface. This is an ineffective treatment, as it will temporarily cover the problem and make the paint peel off after a short while.