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Savvy Saver: Six Ways to Prevent Mildew

Stick with these six tips to eliminate the need for expensive mold and mildew services.

With our 2011 rainfall well above average for this time of year, some of us might have issues with excess moisture in our homes.

Outside of hiring a waterproofing professional to come in and charge you half of next month’s salary, here are some simple and affordable ways to get your home back to a healthy state.

Ceiling Fans

For our family, moving into an old farmhouse meant adding some extra fixtures. One of the first investments we made was the purchase of a $70 ceiling fan for the kitchen. A house this old had some interesting smells. It’s an initial expense, but the value in keeping the air circulating--cool in the summer and warm in the winter--has made it well worth the money on multiple levels.

Our ceiling fan looks great, and it also keeps the air moving along floors, walls and ceilings, which is critical in our fight against mildew. We plan to add a few more!

Dehumidifiers

The stone basement in our 150-year-old farmhouse tends to get a little moist this time of year (especially after an excessive 20 inches of rain). Without a dehumidifier, we’d be in serious trouble.

Despite the initial cost (usually around $200), the long-term value of a dehumidifier is well worth it. Without one, mold, mildew and smelly odors would quickly accumulate, requiring intensive cleaning by a specialized mold/mildew service. Prevention is key!

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

My husband is a stickler for using the bathroom exhaust fan. “Turn on the fan!” is often heard echoing throughout the house as soon as one of us starts the shower.

Moisture from a bath or shower quickly builds up, which leads to damp walls, dripping mirrors and wet windows. Over time, mildew starts to build up throughout the bathroom, which is not only unsightly but can be unhealthy as well. Turn on those exhaust fans when you hit the shower!

Desiccant 

Most people are familiar with the little white packets of silica gel that are often found in boxed electronics and shoes. These absorb moisture.

DampRid is a brand offering a similar concept and comes in a grocery-sized plastic bag, which can be hung in closets or other moist areas in the home. Moisture is absorbed by the bag, which emits a pleasant odor and according to the advertisement, “creates healthier, indoor air!” Four packs in a box cost $8 to $9 at retailers such as Home Depot and Walmart.

Bleach

A quick fix to preventing mildew is good old bleach. It’s a sure-fire way to keep things mildew-free. If you have an area prone to mildew, try to spray some Clorox and a little water once a week. Your mildew will not be happy. Make sure to use ventilation and gloves.

Cleaning

Let’s face it. Cleaning is a fact of life, and if we can stay diligent with our household efforts the mildew has less of a chance for survival. Cleaning is FREE, so ask yourself this question anytime you’re pondering whether or not to scrub that bathtub: “Which do I dislike more--cleaning or nasty mildew?”

Hopefully that will give you some inspiration to pull out the sponges and bucket.

Adam Hoeksema November 01, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Seems like mold and mildew issues are popping up everywhere today. There are ways to prevent mildew. Here are a few tips to prevent mold after flooding or water damage - http://www.moldyclothes.com/2011/09/how-to-prevent-mold-after-a-flood/

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