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Combat Mold and Mildew

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Mold and mildew can be the cause of poor indoor air quality. Bathrooms many times are an area where we find mold and mildew due to amount of excess moisture and humidity that accumulates after showers and baths. If there's one thing we don't want to share our bathrooms with, it's mold and its creepy companion, mildew. If these two culprits are showing up in your bathrooms, it may be because you are unwittingly inviting them in. An untreated plumbing leak is one invitation to mold and mildew, but careless daily habits are another, more common, way they get into your bathroom.

Suggested ways to control mold and mildew are to be aware of the following things that cause their growth.

* Soap Scum: Mildew can grow on the soap scum that creates a ring around the bathtub or settles in the sink. Use a soap-scum remover on a regular basis to easily clean those deposits.

* Moisture in the Shower: Wipe down the shower after each shower. A daily shower cleaner on the walls and tub helps keep showers clean. Mist surfaces right after showering while the walls are wet and warm – no rinsing, wiping or scrubbing is necessary. A squeegee can be used to clean the doors before stepping out of the shower. Wiping down the shower with a towel or rags works well also.

* Condensation Buildup: Use the exhaust fan when bathing or showering. It is recommends a fan should be left on for 20 minutes or more to clear humidity adequately and to ensure moisture and condensation in the fan body or ducting is minimized. If you do not have an exhaust fan and have a window β€” open the window slightly to help reduce humidity.

* Towel Patrol: Mold and mildew love it when towels are left in a pile on the floor. They should be hung up to air-dry after each use. Bathmats, too, should be hung to dry. And all these items should be laundered at least once a week.

For family members with asthma, many of these best practices will help keep mold and mildew, which can trigger an asthma or allergy attack, under control.

Note there are many cleaners on the market especially formulated to remove mold and mildew from hard surfaces such as porcelain, ceramic and tile, as well as, ones specially designed to remove mildew from grout. If you use any of these, be sure to read and follow the directions on the product label. And never, ever mix cleaning products.

Clean mildew from grout in shower and tub areas by cleaning with a solution of ΒΌ cup chlorine bleach and 1 quart of water. This will disinfect and remove stains. An old toothbrush works well to clean these areas.

Keep mold and mildew away by reducing excess moisture in your home.



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(This resource was updated October 2012 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lancaster County
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68528 | 402-441-7180