How to Minimize Mildew in your Home

White and powdery mold and mildew, living in shower corners and damp basements, is both annoying and dangerous. This living substance feeds on wallpaper, wood, fabric, and organic surfaces where there’s too much water, heat, too little to no ventilation or sunlight.

Small amounts of mildew don’t cause sickness, but it spreads if left to grow unchecked. Mold triggers allergies and ruins household items like clothing, wallpaper, and furniture.

Below are ways to clear out the mildew from common areas around the house.

mildew at home

Damp Fabric, Towels, and Shower Curtains

If your kids left a damp towel in their gym bag and you see white speckles, take the towel outside and shake or brush the mildew off then let it dry in the sun for at least three hours. If it’s colored, soak in color bleach for at least 30-minutes and soak whites in chlorine bleach and water. Rinse well and wash as normal. Use on shower liners and curtains made of plastic and wash on gentle.

Antique Books

If you have musty old books, open and place them in the sun, and let air dry for three hours. When pages feel dry, use a dry cloth, and brush the mildew from the pages. If the books have stains, dip a cloth in one part bleach to four parts of water, dampen the cloth and wipe the book gently. With a clean damp cloth, carefully wipe away the chlorine water without rubbing or over-saturating the pages. Pat dry and sprinkle with baking soda or cornstarch to absorb any moisture and brush away using a clean paintbrush.

Upholstery and Mattresses

Vacuum the item throwing away the filter and bag when done. Not replacing the filter and bag disperses mildew spores in the air when you vacuum again.

If stains stay, dip a sponge in one cup of warm water mixed with one cup of rubbing alcohol. Rinse the mattress by wiping a second time with a clean sponge dampened with clear water.

Let the mattress or furniture dry in the sun 3 or 4 hours or dry with a fan blowing on it. To kill lingering spores, spray with Lysol or another disinfectant. If the item still has stains or a musty smell, throw it away.


Walls are a breeding ground for mold and mildew when there’s poor ventilation. When mildew first appears, add ¾ cup of bleach to 1-gallon water. With protective gloves, apply the bleach and water using a brush. Leave solution on 15 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Using a fan, dry for 30 minutes to an hour. If this doesn’t remove the stains, replace the sheetrock.

Furniture, Cabinets, Tables, and Other Wood

Using the brush tool, vacuum loose mildew off wood surfaces. Dip a clean cloth into one gallon of water that has two squirts of dish liquid added. Wring out the cloth and working in small areas, clean the wood. Using a damp cloth, rinse then dry under a fan. Don’t let the wood get over-saturated or it will damage the wood. If a film appears on the wood, wipe with mineral oil and restore the wood by applying a soft wax paste.