Mildew is a common problem in many homes and can sneak into just about anything. Live mold spores settle into fabrics and multiply in warm, moist environments on fabrics and become mildew. As mildew spreads it becomes toxic and can ruin carpets, walls and any porous surface. Bleach is very effective for killing mold but is much too harsh to be used on carpets since it will "bleach" out the colors.
The most important factor in preventing mildew from growing is to keep the environment well ventilated and as dry as possible. If mildew is a problem in an area, you may need to install a fan or a ceiling fan to keep air moving in the room. Be sure that there is plenty of ventilation around and under pieces of furniture. Once mildew has formed in a room, it can be hard to kill.
Homemade Carpet Cleaner for Mildew Stains
Sprinkle baking soda over entire carpet. Add 1 cup distilled white vinegar to a bucket filled halfway with warm water. Dip a clean sponge mop into the bucket and squeeze out most of the solution. If desired, a hand sponge can be used, but a sponge mop works well and requires less bending and kneeling. Rub the vinegar mixture into the carpet, working on small sections a time and concentrating more on areas that are visibly spotted with mildew. When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda, it will begin to bubble. This chemical reaction is not harmful and is what helps to remove the mold and mildew spores. Allow the carpet to dry and the mixture to form a hard powdery substance. Vacuum thoroughly; wait about an hour and vacuum again to be sure it has been completely removed.
Carpet Cleaner for Tough Mildew Stains
For hard-to-remove stains, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and white vinegar. Rub the paste into the mildew stains and leave for several hours. This will dry to a thick powder. Vacuum when it has dried thoroughly. Important: Test this on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet first to test colorfastness.
General Mildew Carpet Cleaning Solution
To keep carpets free of mildew or to remove a mildew smell from the carpets, mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water. Put into a spray bottle. Spray on, let sit a few minutes and scrub with a brush or rag. Blot until completely dry. This works well or areas that are not exposed to humidity for prolonged periods of time.
Keeping Carpets Free of Mildew in Humid Weather
To freshen carpets in between cleanings and to keep carpets from forming mildew in humid environments, lightly sprinkle baking soda over entire surface of the carpets once a week. Do this after a thorough vacuuming. Allow the baking soda to be walked into carpet. This will absorb moisture that is in the air that may settle on the carpets and will be vacuumed up during the next vacuuming.
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