Treating Mold and Mildew In The Tropics

Mould is a single-celled, microscopic organism that thrives in moisture, darkness, and organic material. The first sign of mould growth is a musty odour and mildew. With time, mould will permanently damage the materials that support them, even building materials. They cause staining, weakening and warping of fabric, wood, and leather, and scarring and corrosion in inorganic materials.

Tips for avoiding or getting rid of mould and mildew:

  • Dry out moisture in the home. Pay particular attention to closets and drawers. During wet weather, poor ventilation can cause them to become damp and musty, leading to the spread of mildew. Allow air to circulate by hanging/packing clothes loosely. Leave closet doors and drawers open for a time. Ensure all wet clothing are fully dry before putting them away in closets or drawers. An excellent product for addressing mould in closets is DampRid Hanging Closet Freshener/Dehumidifier. This product can be hung in the closet to prevent mould mildew and musty odours. It is available at your nearest Rapid True Value Home Centre.
  • Keep all areas, clothes, upholstery and drapery as clean as possible. Dirt and grease provide nutrition for mould and mildew. Clean all areas prone to grease splashing in the kitchen.
  • In areas where you see mould growth, use a sanitizing cleaner. A good technique is:

Mix one part chlorine bleach with 3 parts water.
Wash the area and leave on for 10 -15 minutes.
Scrub with a soft brush.
Rinse and dry carefully or allow to air dry.

If Bleach is too harsh, try Tilex® or Lysol® as cleaning agents that also destroy mould and mildew. All are available at your nearest Rapid True Value Home Centre.

  • If after removing mould an unpleasant scent lingers try sprinkling the area (especially carpeting) with baking soda. White vinegar is also a good option for getting rid of smells in general.
  • Many paints contain chemicals called mildewcides. These inhibit mildew growth, particularly in humid climates. In bathrooms and kitchens caulk and grout are always good choices since they are mildew resistant and designed for moist areas.
  • Avoid carpeting areas that are normally subject to moisture.
  • Repair leaks right away and ensure that areas normally subject to moisture are kept as clean, airy and dry as possible.