How to Get Rid of Mildew Stains

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Stain Removal

Mildew is not limited to bathroom tiles only.
Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Mildew stains are common, but there are ways to remove them. These stain removal techniques can be used to prevent mold from spreading any further.

Once you have identified the material that is stained, you can follow these tips to remove mildew stains:

  • Non-washable fabrics like Acetate, Carpet (synthetic and wool), Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate, and Wool
  • Washable fabrics such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, and Spandex
  • Household surfaces like Bamboo, Cane, Cork, Linoleum, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, and Vinyl Wallcovering
  • Ceramic Tile and Grout
  • Leather and Suede
  • Wood

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Non-washable Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove mildew stains from Acetate, Carpet (synthetic and wool), Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate, and Wool:

  • Brush off any excess stain gently.
  • Flush with Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Then apply a dry spotter and amyl acetate.
  • Very gently scrape or pat the stain with an absorbent pad dampened with dry spotter.
  • Flush with dry-cleaning solvent and allow to dry.

If the stain persists:

  • Sponge with water and apply a wet spotter and a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Scrape or use an absorbent pad dampened with wet spotter to work the stain.
  • Flush with water and allow to dry.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol and pat the stain with a pad dampened with alcohol.
  • Flush with alcohol and allow to dry. (Do not use alcohol on acetate, rayon, or triacetate.)
  • To remove any final traces of the stain, use an oxygen bleach as directed on the package label.
  • When treating carpets, blot all excess liquid, apply an absorbent pad and weigh it down until no more moisture is absorbed.

Washable Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove mildew stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, and Spandex. Most mildew stains can be removed during regular laundering if they are moistened beforehand.

If a stain remains:

  • Test the fabric for colorfastness.
  • If the color doesn’t change, cover the stain with a paste of lemon juice and salt.
  • On cotton and linen, make a paste from an oxygen bleach, water, and a few drops of ammonia.
  • Let paste cover the stain for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Flush thoroughly with water and launder again.

Household Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove mildew stains from Bamboo, Cane, Cork, Linoleum, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, and Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Wipe the stain with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water to which a few drops of ammonia have been added.
  • Rinse well with clear water and wipe dry.

If the stain is stubborn:

Before using any of the methods below, test them on a small and inconspicuous area. To remove mildew stains from ceramic tile and grout, apply a mildew stain remover according to the instructions on the package. You can also try dampening the stain with water and rubbing it gently with bar soap. Afterward, rinse the area thoroughly, blot excess liquid, and allow it to dry. To remove mildew stains from leather and suede, rub the stain with petroleum jelly. If the stain remains, sponge the area gently with a mixture of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol (test for colorfastness first). For leather, condition with a leather cleaner or saddle soap. Finally, to remove mildew stains from wood, gently remove excess with a cloth dipped in a solution of 5 tablespoons washing soda per 1 gallon of water. Rinse with a clean cloth moistened with clear water, and polish or wax as soon as possible.

FAQ

1. What is mildew and how does it form?

Mildew is a type of fungus that grows on damp surfaces. It forms when moisture combines with organic matter, such as dirt, dust, or soap residue. Mildew stains can appear on a variety of surfaces, including fabrics, wood, and walls.

2. How can I prevent mildew from forming?

The best way to prevent mildew is to keep surfaces clean and dry. Wipe up any excess moisture after showering or bathing, and use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels in your home. Make sure to ventilate areas with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, by opening windows or using exhaust fans.

3. What household products can I use to remove mildew stains?

There are several household products that can be used to remove mildew stains, including white vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Mix these products with water to create a cleaning solution, and apply it to the mildew stain. Let the solution sit for several minutes before scrubbing the stain with a brush or cloth.

4. Can bleach be used to remove mildew stains?

Yes, bleach can be effective in removing mildew stains, but it should be used with caution. Bleach can damage certain surfaces, such as fabrics and colored surfaces, and can also be harmful to breathe in. If using bleach, make sure to dilute it with water and wear protective gloves and a mask.

5. What should I do if the mildew stain does not come out?

If the mildew stain does not come out after using household products, it may be necessary to use a commercial mildew remover. These products are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Follow the instructions on the product carefully, and make sure to wear protective gear while using it.

6. How can I prevent mildew stains from returning?

Once the mildew stain has been removed, it is important to take steps to prevent it from returning. This includes keeping surfaces clean and dry, using a dehumidifier, and regularly washing fabrics and surfaces that are prone to mildew growth.

7. Are there any health risks associated with mildew exposure?

Exposure to mildew can cause respiratory problems, such as coughing, wheezing, and nasal congestion. People who are allergic to mold or have asthma may be more sensitive to mildew exposure. It is important to address mildew growth as soon as possible to prevent health risks from occurring.

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