How to Kill Mildew With Bleach

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Mildew is a fungus which thrives any place where there is limited ventilation, high humidity and a porous medium on which to cultivate. Airborne spores allow mildew to spread quickly in this environment, so prompt action is needed to kill and prevent future mold growth.

Things You'll Need

  • TSP or commercial quality soap
  • New spray bottle
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Water
  • Clean the area with trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP, or an equally effective commercial soap. If your surface is dirty or soap scum covered, mildew will be more difficult to kill. Only when the surface is clear of dirt and scum will you be able to kill the fungus.

  • Make a mixture of 50 percent chlorine bleach and 50 percent water. In a well ventilated area, use a spray bottle to generously apply the bleach mixture to your surface. While it may be tempting to recycle a sprayer that was previously used for cleaning products, this can be dangerous. Use only a brand new sprayer to avoid the possibility of chemical interaction between the bleach and any remaining product residue.

  • Allow the bleach mixture to sit on the mildewed area for two to five minutes until the black mildew disappears. Rinse the area with thoroughly with clean water. This step may need to be repeated two or three times depending on the severity of mold growth

Tips & Warnings

  • Utilizing a bathroom exhaust fan or increasing ventilation by opening doors and windows will help prevent future mold growth. If you plan to add an exhaust fan in an older home, be sure that it exits to the outside rather than the attic. Moving damp air to the attic will just transfer your mold problem from the bath to the attic space. Mildew increases the porosity of medium on which it grows. Even after a thorough cleaning with bleach, mildew will return if walls are not repainted with a paint that is treated with mildewcide. If mildew is a problem in bathroom caulk, the caulk may ultimately have to be replaced with latex fortified grout.
  • Always work in a well ventilated area when using bleach or any other chemical. Open all available windows and turn on ceiling or exhaust fans to avoid breathing in dangerous chemicals.

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