Get Rid of Mold/Mildew Problem in Closets

Mildew is a thin, often whitish to bluish-green growth produced by molds on many surfaces. Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multi-cellular filaments. Although molds are always present in the air, those that cause mildew only need moisture and a certain temperature in order to grow.

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Closet mildew causes more than foul odor. In addition to an unpleasant musty odor, molds and mildew cause considerable damage if permitted to grow. Any dark area is prone to mildew growth. Mold and mildew can grow on closet walls and your clothing. Mold and mildew are health hazards to everyone exposed.

Preventing it is much easier than dealing with mold and mildew removal and is the best mildew policy. If things are kept clean, well-ventilated and dry, your chances of having mildew are greatly lessened.


1. Keep Things Clean: Make sure your clothing, linens and shoes are completely dry before placing them in the closet. Items such as thick towels, comforters, heavy jackets, shoes and boots can take a while to dry after getting wet. Putting away wet garments and shoes is the perfect place for mold and mildew growth to begin.

2. No Excess Moisture: The first step in mildew control is to try to control the dampness inside the home. Cooking, laundering and bathing, without adequate ventilation, add three gallons of water to the air every day. Dampness in any structure is caused by condensation of moisture from humid air onto cooler surfaces. Leave the closet door open for ventilation and allow the dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture from the air. In bathrooms, leave the door to the linen closet open whenever possible to allow light in and air to circulate.

3. Dry the air (mechanically):

• Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. Properly-installed air-conditioning systems remove moisture from the air of the living space by taking up warm air, cooling it (removing the moisture) and circulating cool, dry air back into the room.

• If your closet is in a room that is prone to dampness buy a dehumidifier for either the inside of the closet or place it close to the closet. Leave the closet door open for ventilation and allow the dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture from the air. In bathrooms, leave the door to the linen closet open whenever possible to allow light in and air to circulate.

4. Dry the air (chemically):

• Use baking soda for closet mildew. If closet mildew is clinging to the walls, mix ½ cup baking soda with a gallon of warm water. Apply the mixture to the affected area of wall or ceiling.

• Use other products that absorb moisture from the air such as small silica gel sachets. Be sure to keep silica gel out of the reach of children and pets.

• Another moisture-absorbing chemical is anhydrous calcium chloride. It is available in small, white granules that hold twice their weight of water. Because it liquefies as it absorbs moisture, do not let this chemical touch clothing or household textiles; it can make holes in them.

• You can also keep an open box of chalk, charcoal briquettes or cat litter to absorb the extra moisture in the air which can lead to mold and mildew growth.

5. Install a light in the closet: A light can provide enough heat to dry the air enough to inhibit any mold and mildew growth. Do not use compact fluorescent bulbs in the light because they do not generate heat and will not help to prevent a mold problem.


The mildew spots have to be removed immediately. Brush off surface growth outdoors to prevent scattering the spores in the home. Wash mildew-stained articles once with soap and water, rinse them well and dry them in the sun.

Use a cleaning solution that will kill the mold and mildew in your closet. The cleaning solution consists of 1 cup of chlorine bleach for every gallon of warm water. Wait several minutes before you rinse the bleach solution from your closet (the solution will get into the wall and kill the mold and mildew).

To remove mildew stains sponge rugs and carpets with thick, dry soap or detergents suds and wipe clean with a damp cloth, or clean them with an electric shampoo machine. But if the pad under the carpet is wet, the entire carpet and pad will have to be removed. This is necessary so the sub-floor can dry, which in many cases prevents it from buckling.

People can have negative reactions to mold. Use mask that will shield you from fumes and gloves that will protect your skin from chemicals.

You should know that some moldy surfaces cannot be cleaned. Moldy drywall will have to be cut out and replaced. It is a good idea that wood surfaces affected to be sand to ensure the mold is completely removed.

Mold spores can be breathed in easily and can cause a lot of problems: breathing; congestion; asthma attacks; coughing and more. Mold and mildew are in areas that do not get a lot of sun and are colder, so they will be the moist places in your home. Closets are especially vulnerable to mold.

Mold removal is essential to ensuring a safe home and can be done quickly and easily.

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