There are two stages to effectively removing mildew odours. The first is to remove the mildew that causes the unpleasant smell. Mildew is actually another term used to describe fungi growth. In other words, it’s mold. The second is to remove the cause of it, which is down to getting rid of the conditions in which it thrives. But first let’s deal with the smell.
A Word of Warning
If you have a sensitive stomach, chronic bronchial infection or the mold growth is extensive, you may want to consider a mold removal company to deal with it. If you do decide to go ahead, wear a full set of clothing and don a face mask and a set of rubber gloves before you start. Remember to read the instructions on all cleaning materials too.
Remove the Mildew
The general idea is to remove as much as possible and kill the rest.
- Fill a bucket with tepid water and add a cup of vinegar or borax. You can experiment with combinations, but no more than one cup in total please. Soak a cloth in the mixture and wring it out just enough to prevent drips.
- Work from the ceiling down (the job is messy), and remember to rinse your cloth regularly in a second bucket of tepid water. There’s no point in moving mildew around so wring it out thoroughly each time before soaking it in the mixture again.
- As you go along get rid of all soft furnishings including curtains, upholstery and carpets. Forget about cleaning them. They are permanently stained and will haunt you with their smell if you try to keep them.
- Hire a few commercial-grade oscillating fans and leave them running until everything is bone dry. Smell the difference. Unfortunately the job is not done yet because the next generation of mildew is waiting to take up residence.
Prevent a Recurrence
Mold and mildew occur naturally in warm climates with high humidity. Your first step is to buy a decent dehumidifier and get the ambient moisture level down. While that’s happening cast an eye around for any water intrusion. This could be from a dripping tap, or from groundwater that follows cracks in the walls and floor.
Use the grid method to make sure you don’t miss the slightest water stain. Start with the ceiling, then the upper walls, then the middle walls and so on. Be mindful of the season. Basements seldom leak in summer, but the evidence is there all year round.
Assuming there are no leaks, you can complete the job by installing bright lighting (mildew hates this) and redecorating all painted surfaces with mildew-resistant paint. Do not waste your time doing this if you suspect a groundwater leak – even if this is dry at the current moment. The chronic water leak will just cause the mildew smell (and mold) to return.
If you have questions about removing mold from your basement or repairing a basement water leak, feel free to contact us here. If you’re located in the Greater Toronto Area, we can arraign a free, in-home inspection.
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