Mildew Inside Home
Problem: High humidity levels
re-suit in mildew growth, which causes damage and
potential allergic reaction.
Background: Mold growths that develop under
favorable conditions are often seen as a discoloration,
ranging in color from white to orange, and from green to
brown to black. If mold can’t be seen, it may be
recognized as a musty odor. Mold growth can cause soiling
and deterioration of appliances and other items in a home.
The build-up of mold in air cooling and humidifying units,
plumbing fixtures, condensation trays, and drains can
cause serious and often costly mechanical problems. Mold
can discolor paint, weaken fabrics, and degrade food
stuffs. It can also lead to odor problems.
What to do: Relative humidity levels above 70% are
optimal for indoor mold build-up. Controlling the problem
in a home usually involves three steps 1) eliminating
moisture from inside and outside sources; 2) re moving
mold colonies and spores, and 3) installing a mechanical
ventilation system. One method of deter mining whether
your home has a potential problem is to measure the
relative humidity inside your house.
Optimal levels are 15% if outside temperature is -20°F,
20% if -10°F, 25% if +0°F, 30% if +10°F, and 35% to 40% if
+20°F. Also visually inspect for mold colonies, including
areas of stagnant water, and room corners.
Regularly clean appliances that have water pans or use moisture.
Other steps to reduce humidity include turning humidifiers
down or off, using range and bath exhaust fans while
cooking or bathing, cooking with covered pans, installing
a fresh-air intake duct to bring in drier outside air,
venting dryers to the outside, sealing cracks in house or
vapor retarders, and not using un vented kerosene or gas
Special advice: To remove existing mold, clean
affected areas with a homemade solution of cup cleanser
(such as Ajax or Comet), ½ cup no phosphate detergent, I
quart 5% sodium hypocblorite (such as Clorox or Hilex),
and 3 quarts warm water. Brush solution onto affected area
with a medium-sized soft brush. After cleaning, rinse
thoroughly with fresh water and, if possible, paint area
with a mold- resistant paint.
Helpful hint: If a
member of your household is allergic to mold, adding an
air cleaner can help remove mold spores present. (Heating
ducts need to be cleaned before adding an air cleaner.) If
carpet, upholstery, ceiling tiles, or other porous
furnishings are contaminated, it is best to discard them
rather than attempting disinfection because mold spores
are likely to remain.