Mildew prone home? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 10-18-2011, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate this. :(  We had stuff in storage.  The stuff that was in our garage was ruined by mold.  Most of it had to be tossed.  The stuff that was in my parents basement was mildewy but salvageable (I thought).  The other part of our basement definitely promotes mildew growth, though it's not as bad as the garage.  Anything left down there is likely to get covered in fuzz after a while.  I do try to protect stuff in plastic bags and boxes, as much as possible.

 

But our house is old, poorly insulated, and apparently prone to damp.  Our windows "weep", so once cold weather hits I am wiping grime and mildew off the frames almost daily.  (We have wanted to use insulating plastic on them, but I am afraid I will just be setting myself up with multiple mold farms, by doing that).  I am finding books on the shelves that have mildew on them.  This morning I found that one of the baskets in the bathroom is fuzzy with mildew.  These are things that had some minor mildew on them, and I'd washed them with vinegar and thought they were OK.   I am a little worried that the carpets are full of it. :(  We don't have money to be tearing stuff out or remodeling.  Dh wants to keep the carpets because they provide at least some insulation from the below-ground/unheated basement and the rest of the house.

 

What are some low-cost/no-cost ways I can reduce some of this icky stuff?  Are there any?  I am *hoping* that once we turn the heat on, it will dehumidify things a little.  But then we will have the spores being blown all over the house.  One thing I am going to do is get the disposable vent filters, to try to catch whatever is in the ventilation system before it gets into our lungs.  Is there anything else that can be done, that doesn't involve remodeling or ripping stuff out?

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#2 of 12 Old 10-18-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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You have my sympathy. I've had a similar experience in a house in a damp environment. The best I could do was to get rid of as much of the infected stuff as I could, clean whatever was left as thoroughly as possible and afterward try to keep it all as dry as possible. It hurt to throw out some lovely wicker furniture and baskets, but I knew I'd never be happy with them because the mildew would never be eliminated from them. I also got rid of boxes of papers and files that were infected too. Luckily, we had carpeting in only a couple of bedrooms so it was fairly easy to get them thoroughly cleaned. 

 

 

-For cleaning, adding a few drops of oil of cloves to a spray bottle of water, mist onto surfaces (bathroom, windows and sills etc.), wait 20 minutes and then wipe. If it's a really tough job, spray again and leave it for a day. 

-We bought a dehumidifier and regularly maintained it (emptied and cleaned it). 

-We used a commercial product to absorb moisture in cupboards and closets. I remember and can't find the name of it, but it was granular and in a vented bucket. We bought it at a home/hardware type store. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#3 of 12 Old 10-18-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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I'm sorry - mold is awful.

 

This is a moisture problem. An older home probably doesn't have bathroom fans, or a good kitchen fan that exhausts to the outside. If you could add a bathroom fan, it would help a ton. One more more dehumidifiers would also help (they are not cheap, but better than remodelling and tossing stuff).

 

I use window plastic in the winter (it's cold where I live, so there's a lot of condensation). Eliminating the excess moisture is primary, but if you live in a cold climate, the plastic will help protect your window frames from mildew and rot. Since I added a bathroom fan and got a good dehumidifier, our mildew issues have disappeared.

 

Good luck!


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#4 of 12 Old 10-18-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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My good friend has had a lot of luck using a dehumidifier. Depending on the size of the unit you get nd the size of your house, one well placed one can do a great deal to control the problem.

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#5 of 12 Old 10-19-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

 

It is true we don't have a bathroom fan.  Ironically, the bathroom is actually the least problematic room as far as mildew on the window and on stuff. It's wierd..  That particular basket had been infested, and I think I just hadn't cleaned it thorougly.

 

I will have to speak to dh about a dehumidifier.  He may be able to find a working used on, he's "connected". :D

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#6 of 12 Old 10-19-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Thank you.

 

It is true we don't have a bathroom fan.  Ironically, the bathroom is actually the least problematic room as far as mildew on the window and on stuff. It's wierd..  That particular basket had been infested, and I think I just hadn't cleaned it thorougly.

 

I will have to speak to dh about a dehumidifier.  He may be able to find a working used on, he's "connected". :D


You can buy a dehumidifier for around $100.  It is definitely worth it.  You will be doing way more damage to your home by not having one.  You live in PA?  I would go out and get one ASAP.  You'll be shocked by how much water it pulls out of your home. 
 

 

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#7 of 12 Old 10-21-2011, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

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#8 of 12 Old 10-22-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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How often do you open the windows? All windows at the same time- completely! not just a little and for at least 5-10 minutes?

 

Usually it is recommended to do this 2 times a day minimum- more, if you have a lot of moisture because of line drying in the home, cooking a lot or such.

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#9 of 12 Old 10-22-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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I have never seen that recommendation.  1/3 of the year, that wouldn't help here because it's as humid or more outside than in.  The other 2/3 of the year, there are a limited number of days where it would work.  Most of the time though, the air is too dry and cold outside and too dry inside from the heat.

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#10 of 12 Old 10-22-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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In my last house I would pour 4-6 litres out of our dehumidifier every single day. They really do make a difference.


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#11 of 12 Old 10-22-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I feel for you. It sounds like you are describing the house we used to live in! We did not have a bathroom fan, and had almost no money, so Hubby bought a fan kit, and installed an extraction fan himself. He says it wasn't that difficult - he crawled up into the attic and did it in a few hours. It made a HUGE difference. Before we got that fan, anytime someone took a shower, ALL the windows in the house would be foggy. We had no central air, so we bought a window unit and it had a setting for dehumidify. That helped tremendously as well. Our house was right next to a creek in a wooded, damp, area. I have had your exact experience -- throwing away items because of the mold/mildew. I really sympathize with your situation. 

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#12 of 12 Old 10-25-2011, 11:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post

In my last house I would pour 4-6 litres out of our dehumidifier every single day. They really do make a difference.



They do!

We have a ~1,000 sq. foot flat and & 3 dehumidifiers. During foggy season we sometimes get 4 litres out of each one per day. Right now it is the drier season, relative humidity is only at 69%.

 

We also use dessicant thingies in our wardrobes.

 

Edited to add:  Also, for weeping windows. During the cold and wet season when our windows weep, I will often run a shammy cloth over them (and squeeze out as it gets full of water). That helps keeps the pools of water off the window sills.

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