We often don’t know how to get rid of moldy smell in our home, and this is a very common problem. Mold and mildew require special attention. Walls, closets, clothes, carpets, floors, among other places are subject to suffer from it, so we need to know how to identify and deal with this situation.
Mold is the fungus in its initial stage, when it forms that raised layer of grayish hue. In this case, you can easily remove it by wiping with a damp cloth or brushing. Mold is very common on wood, Formica, ceramics and fabrics. Mold, on the other hand, is the fungus in an advanced stage, which leaves a few black dots in place. It is very difficult to get off when found on fibrous surfaces, especially tissue. Mold can start as just a small stain and quickly become a health hazard, especially for people who have allergies and asthma.
How to Prevent Mold in Closets and Wardrobes
According to personal organizer Ingrid Lisboa, the first thing we have to think about when we talk about mold in closets is the location. “It’s important that it be a room that has an incidence of sunlight, even if it doesn’t hit the furniture directly. When there is no sun, there is more possibility of humidity, and this ends up causing mold”, she explains. Ingrid also remembers that you must be careful with the wall where the furniture is placed against so that it does not border humid places, such as the bathroom, for example.
An important tip is to let the closet and the room breathe. “Letting the closet breathe is not just about opening the door, it needs to have air in and out in the room as a whole. Open the window and the door for the air to circulate, at least two days a week”, recommends the professional. Don’t forget to open the drawers too.
In the case of the wardrobe, a mistake that helps mold formation is the excess of items inside it. A crowded closet leaves no room for air to circulate. For prevention and cleaning, Ingrid says it is important to avoid products that make water, because if the packaging leaks, it can damage clothes and bags. She takes the opportunity to indicate some homemade recipes that can help:
– To remove the smell: use a mixture of half water and half white wine vinegar. This recipe also removes that “white powder” that characterizes the fungus. A mixture of water and detergent can also be used to remove the dirt, but it will be necessary to use the mixture with vinegar to remove the smell.
– To avoid mildew: blackboard chalk can be used. Place inside a tulle bag or wrap in gauze. Reminder: cannot use loose chalk. You can also use silica, but it’s harder to find. Anti-mold inserts inside cabinets can also minimize the problem.
Bathrooms, kitchens and service areas deserve special attention
The bathroom, without a doubt, is the wettest place in the house. Therefore, it is very susceptible to mold. It mainly attacks faucets, grouts and the shower box. The kitchen and service area, especially in apartments, are also often major targets of this problem, as they often suffer from humidity and lack of ventilation. To clean these environments, try to wear eye protection, gloves and a face mask to avoid contact with the spores released by the fungus. Also open windows or use a fan.
The manager of the Dona Resolve brand, Paula Roberta Silva, suggests this recipe: “in a bucket, put a liter of water for 100 ml of bleach and spread it around the environment affected by the mold, leaving it to act for 30 minutes. This should make it easier to remove the stain with a clean cloth. If the stain is persistent, it is possible to repeat the operation”. You can also use a stiff bristle brush to scrub very dark areas. Afterwards, rinse the area with the help of a damp cloth.
If this method doesn’t work, there are products specially formulated for mold and mildew on walls and glass that are stronger. You can also use a surface cleaner that has chlorine in its active composition. But remember to test on a small area of the wall first and never mix cleaning solutions as this can lead to dangerous chemical reactions.
To prevent the proliferation of fungi in these places, some attitudes can help:
- – Roll out towels, curtains and bathroom mats to dry. If possible, wash them at least once a week.
- – Keep humid environments well ventilated and dry.
- – To prevent long-term mold formation, consider installing an electric dehumidifier in the most severely affected areas.
- – You can also use anti-mildew paint, found in most construction stores. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and check if the product is recommended for your type of wall.
- – Well-coated walls and ceilings will also be less affected by condensation and hence mold.
- – Fix leaks upon discovery to prevent moisture from seeping into cavities and below the floor.
Fabrics and upholstery
Fabrics and upholstery are also susceptible to mold and mildew, and in these cases, cleaning the stain is a little more difficult. Unlike walls, they cannot be cleaned with bleach. The best option is to use a neutralizing shampoo, which can be spread with the help of a vacuum cleaner with a water filter. Then wipe with a dry cloth and let the sofa dry in an airy place in the shade. Do not expose the furniture to direct sunlight, as drying in the sun can damage it. Another option is to use a homemade recipe of half a cup of white vinegar and two teaspoons of baking soda to a quart of water.
Leather upholstery, one of the most mold sensitive materials, can be cleaned with white vinegar. According to Paula, there is no mold that can resist vinegar, it is the greatest ally for removing any type of mold.
In the case of leather clothes, avoid covering them with plastic covers, as this fabric does not sweat. The ideal is to store them in vacuum packaging and expose them to the sun every 3 months. To remove mold stains from jackets and other leather clothing, the ideal is to use apple cider vinegar, as it has a more pleasant smell. After cleaning, a good tip is to spread almond oil with your hands. Remove the excess with a dry cloth and you will give an extra shine to your piece.
In the case of cotton and linen clothes, the duration of the mold and mildew stain on the fabric will determine whether it can be removed or not. Recent stains can be removed in a simple way in the common washing of clothes, adding bleaches with or without chlorine. However, if the stain is on the fabric for a long time, the number of times we will repeat the operation to remove the mold will be large, which leads to the fabric weakening, and there may be a loss of strength and rotting of the piece. Therefore, the tip for very old stains is to opt for dyeing the clothes, which can even gain a new color. To avoid mold in these types of fabrics and delicate clothes in general, the ideal, according to Paula, is to store everything in TNT or cotton bags.
Special tip for towels
To avoid the strong smell of mold on towels that dry indoors, stay tuned for another recipe from the manager of Dona Resolve.
Step by step instructions:
- 1. Put the towel in the washing machine, ideally washing up to 3 pieces at a time. Add the amount of liquid or powder soap as usual and fill the machine with water as indicated.
- 2. When the machine reaches the water level, add 1 cup of white vinegar, leaving the towels to soak for 30 minutes.
- 3. Beat towels in the machine normally. After rinsing, wait until the machine is at the water level indicated. Add the fabric softener and another 1 cup of white vinegar.
- 4. When the spin is finished, remove the towels immediately. We recommend not leaving them in the machine for too long, otherwise the bad smell will return and all work will be lost.
- 5. Then hang the towels on the clothesline, preferably exposed to the sun.
- – Instead of white vinegar, baking soda can also be used, which will produce the same effect. But never use the two together.
- – To enhance the smell of towels, store them with scented sachets.
- – And finally, never leave wet towels in the bathroom. The most suitable is to leave them exposed in an airy place to eliminate the bad smell.
Carpets and floors
PHOTO: REPRODUCTION / HOUSE SHINE
Mold is very harmful to carpets, as it compromises the fibers and is quite difficult to remove, so vinegar once again can be a great ally in this cleaning. Although this ingredient does not kill all species of fungus, it can slow their proliferation and still prevent stains. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and apply to the moldy area. Use plain vinegar and allow it to soak in for about an hour. Then scrub the spot with a stiff brush. Remove it with water and make sure you rinse it well to prevent the smell of vinegar from remaining.
If your carpet is removable, take it outside and leave it in the sun to dry for 48 hours. Drying must be complete so that no moisture remains. Otherwise, the mold returns. Also apply the antifungal solution on the part of the floor where the rug is located and let it dry. If the carpet is glued to the floor, turn on the room lights and dry it with a fan, dehumidifier or the “blow” function of the vacuum cleaner. Then apply a mildew spray to the carpet.
Baking soda also helps remove odors, and you can mix it with warm water and make a paste to apply to the stain. Allow it to be absorbed and remove the paste after some time. There are also cleaning products for rugs and carpets.
For hardwood floors, use a scraper or blunt knife to remove mold from the top of the wood, then vacuum. Then sand the area and apply an antifungal product, following the label directions. Let the area dry briefly, sand it and apply the antifungal again. Finally, wait for the area to dry completely and wipe off any residue that remains with a clean, dry cloth. The same goes for wooden furniture.
The power of silicone
You might be wondering if silicone helps fight mold, right? But, in fact, products to fight mold, when the fungus has already taken hold, do not have silicone in their composition. The power of this substance is in its preventive action, which helps to prevent moisture and, consequently, the appearance of this problem.
According to Irineu Bottoni, coordinator of the Sectorial Committee on Silicones of the Brazilian Association of Chemical Industry,
Abiquim , the water repellents (a product that repels water) most used to reduce water penetration and moisture are based on silicone. “When in contact with bricks, blocks, cements, wood, among others, the water repellent silicone makes these substrates impermeable to water, reducing their moisture and, consequently, eliminating mold and green or black stains generated in these environments due to problems arising accumulation of water over the life of the construction”, he explains.
In addition, silicone is also present in the formulation of many types of paints, causing the walls to reduce water absorption and protecting them against mold, right after being painted. Regarding sealing, silicone, when applied to windows, doors, expansion joints, shower stalls, bathtubs, tiles, concrete floors and in bathroom and kitchen dishes, prevents the appearance of mold.
“To find out if you are purchasing a product with silicone in its formulation, the consumer must observe whether names such as silanes, siloxanes and silicones appear on the label, as well as commercially described these water repellents”, warns Irineu.
Make your mold yourself
PHOTO: REPRODUCTION / NINA BRAZ
An alternative for those who cannot buy molds in stores and supermarkets is to make their own product at home. It’s easier than you think! Just buy the ingredients at chemical stores. Let’s go to the recipe:
Okay, your mold is done. Super easy and cheap! Now, just put it in the closet and change it when the pot fills with water. The procedure is simple: remove the water, discard the calcium chloride, wash the container and repeat the entire process. Each pot costs around R$ 2.00 (two reais) and the chloride refill, on average R$ 0.90 (ninety cents). The large chloride bag costs R$ 10.00 (ten reais) and yields about 12 refills.
But what about that protection that comes before the lid on ready-to-eat products found on the market? Well, the use of this protection has pros and cons and should be evaluated by you.
While it has the function of making the product last longer, it also makes it less effective, as it absorbs moisture little by little. If you don’t use this protection, absorption will be much faster, but you’ll have to replenish more often. So choose the best option for your use. If you choose to use the protection, put on a piece of paper towel or coffee filter. Both make the same material effect of the original product.
Hire a specialized company
If you have a serious fungus problem, it may be best to seek help from an expert. In the case of rugs, for example, if mold has reached the back of the piece, it will be very difficult to recover. In this case, the ideal is to hire a specialized company. According to Lilian Esteves, executive director of House Shine , a company that offers residential cleaning services, the focus of professional cleaning is the reduction of dust mites and allergens in the domestic environment.
The service is performed by equipment that retains up to 99.97% of the microparticles it absorbs, extracting these substances from mattresses, rugs, pillows and sofas, releasing only clean air into the environment. “This specialized service is complementary. It must be performed at least once a month or whenever the client needs it. The equipment extracts mites and other agents that cause allergies, as it has three times the suction of a normal vacuum. One of the differentials is the union of cleaning that House Shine offers, and that many people already know and trust, with the power and functionality of this machine”, highlights Lilian.
To perform the service, only a trained professional is needed and the cost may vary according to the franchised unit. It can be hired from R$99.00 (ninety-nine reais) per hour, while the half-day package is around R$249.00 (two hundred and forty-nine reais). “During this period, it is possible to sanitize approximately two mattresses, a rug, upholstery with up to three seats and four pillows, but the unit is always responsible for defining the necessary time, since each residence has its own characteristics”, he advises Lilian.
Suggestions for products that fight and eliminate mold
Below, you can find a list of products that can help you fight and prevent mold.
So, what did you think of these tips? With a frequent cleaning routine and the right products, the removal of mold and mildew from environments becomes very easy and practical. But never forget: prevention is the best medicine! Properly follow the experts’ instructions to prevent these problems from arising right away. And, of course, don’t wait for the situation to get worse before taking action.