The heat and humidity of the summer often finds us with an unwelcome houseguest, that slimy black mold growth we know as mildew. Mildew may be natural, but that doesn’t mean we want it in our homes. Before the season starts, learn how to prevent mildew naturally by taking these steps and trying one of these environmentally-friendly remedies.
Wipe after you wash. Where there’s moisture, mold produces mildew. To prevent mildew in your shower, wipe down the walls, shower doors and faucet. Spray shower curtains with vinegar, and a few drops of an essential oil to cut the harsh scent, and spread them out along the line. Wipe out the sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen frequently, and be vigilant about keeping damp surfaces around your home as dry as possible.
Run a cool mist humidifier. Cool air produces less moisture than warm air, so these products are a natural mold and mildew killer.
Watch for — and fix — leaks. If you see standing water – or any signs of damp where there shouldn’t be – take immediate steps to find and stop the leaks. Run a fan on damp surfaces like carpet and hardwood, which will prevent mildew spores from growing.
Waterproof. Basements are prime breeding grounds for mildew. Add insulation or another waterproof barrier found in a hardware store, to prevent too much moisture. Above ground, try two coats of waterproof paint for your concrete walls, and apply waterproof barriers to your brick siding.
Keep air circulating. Run ceiling fans in your home, keep inside doors open and hang clothes with spaces between them in your closet. Use the bathroom fan when showering or running bath water. Good air flow prevents mold spores from settling, therefore preventing mildew from forming.
Dry fabrics. After that trip to the beach or pool, hang your swimsuit up to dry before dumping it into the hamper. On warm, dry days, you can even hang clothing outside to air dry. Thoroughly dry all wet fabric before laundering, which will prevent mildew on your clothes. Be sure your winter garments are clean and dry before you store them in a trunk or closet.
The key to preventing mildew naturally is preventing its favorite living conditions – dark, hot and humid – from occurring in your home. Let the sun shine in and keep cool air flowing. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the ideal relative humidity for a home is between 30 and 60 percent; consider purchasing a humidity monitor at a hardware store to keep your home’s levels within that range.