I have a small leak and my carpet is wet and it takes forever to dry and is causing an odd smell. My building said they fixed it but obviously not because it recurred. Anything I can spray on it in the interim? Anyone use anything in particular that works?
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Air and sunlight
Fresh air and direct exposure to sunlight will eliminate mildew, so portable items like clothing can be hung on a clothesline or placed outside. Just be sure to bring it in before it rains, which can worsen the problem for items that aren't washable.
If your mildewed bathroom or basement has a window, open it up and place a fan inside the window to get some air moving in the space and let in light. Then, get ready to attack the mildew with natural solutions like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and baking soda.
Vinegar and essential oils
White vinegar is a safe, natural and very effective mold and mildew killer. A study by a microbiologist at found that vinegar is 90 percent effective against mold, and 99.9 percent effective against bacteria.
You can either soak a sponge in full-strength vinegar, or fill a spray bottle and thoroughly soak affected areas. Let it sit for a few hours, and then scrub it with a brush or a coarse scrubbing sponge.
The smell of the vinegar will dissipate within a few hours, but if it bothers you, you can simply add some of your favorite to the spray bottle to make it more pleasant. Virtually any essential oil will work, but there are some that boost vinegar's mildew-killing power. Not only will grapefruit seed extract tone down the scent of vinegar, it has anti-fungal properties of its own, so it's an ideal addition.
may just be the greatest natural mold and mildew killer of all. While it has a strong scent and is not nearly as cheap as vinegar, it has powerful fungus-killing abilities. You can either add two teaspoons of tea tree oil to two cups of water to spray onto affected surfaces, or add a few drops to your vinegar mildew-killing solution.
Baking soda and peroxide
Baking soda is mildly abrasive, so it's ideal for scrubbing away the remnants of mildew and mold. It works especially well in tough spots like grout, where mildew can leave stains behind even after it's killed. Make a paste out of baking soda and water and simply work it into the surface with a scrub brush or sponge. Rinse with white vinegar to eliminate the white residue that baking soda leaves behind.
Hydrogen peroxide is another way to kill mildew naturally. Just apply it full-strength directly to affected surfaces, let it sit for at least ten minutes and then wipe the mildew away.
Mold and mildew preventatives
The best way to prevent mold and mildew from growing in the first place is to be vigilant about leaks. Just a little bit of water leaking from pipes, a sink, a water heater or the roof can lead to a big battle.
To prevent mildew growth in the bathroom, you can keep a spray bottle of full-strength vinegar handy. Spray down shower, bathtub and tile surfaces after each shower or bath and allow it to dry.
Another natural solution for the prevention of mold and mildew is a new product called . This non-toxic spray uses an anti-microbial by-product of crab shells to create an invisible, long-lasting shield. Sprayed onto a surface after it has been cleaned of mold and mildew, the Clear Shell product prevents future outbreaks.
Ensure that dark, dank basements and other mildew-prone places stay as dry as possible with a de-humidifier, which can pull moisture out of the air and rob fungi of the conditions they need in order to thrive. Choose an Energy Star dehumidifier, which will do the job without consuming excessive amounts of energy. Many de-humidifiers have 24-hour timers that allow you to run them at certain intervals throughout the day.