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Banishing Molds and Mildew from Your Environment

Mold and mildew may seem like minor players on the stage of hazardous environmental threats, but some molds can cause major health problems. If you want a green, clean home, you need to prevent or get rid of mold and mildew.

Moisture’s a tricky thing because it can work away silently in a poorly ventilated corner or even wick its way up inside a wall, creating the ideal conditions for mold and mildew to grow. The best defense against mold and mildew is to ensure that your home is well ventilated. Condensation buildup on windows and other surfaces indicates that your home may not be exchanging its indoor air with the outdoor air often enough.

If you’re renovating to make your home more energy efficient, assess ventilation, seal ventilation leaks, and install more airtight doors and windows if sealing leaks doesn’t solve the problem.

To clean up mold and mildew:

  1. Make up a solution of one part bleach to four parts water.

    Bleach is admittedly a harsh product to use, but it’s the most effective solution to get rid of mold and mildew. More natural solutions may only reduce the mold; you need to completely get rid of it — otherwise it will return.

  2. Protect yourself with gloves, old clothing, safety glasses, and a mask for your mouth and nose.

    You don’t want to breathe in either the bleach fumes or any mold spores you may dislodge when you scrub with the bleach solution.

  3. Scrub away at any icky parts you can find.

Materials that soak up water, such as drywall, carpet, and ceiling tiles are virtually impossible to rid of mold: You’re better off to remove them, place them in plastic garbage bags, and throw them out.

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