Any area with poor airflow can be affected by mould. If you have noticed a musty smell on clothing, or spotted patches of white on dark clothes, it is possible that mildew has developed in your wardrobe. Mildew can damage the fabric of your clothes, causing unpleasant stains, and may also cause an allergic reaction on your skin if you wear affected items of clothing.
Unfortunately, mildew is a common sight in wardrobes, but there are things that you can do to stop it growing.
Mildew is related to mould and grows well in similar conditions. Mildews thrive in cool, moist environments with poor airflow.
A common cause of mildew is condensation. Moisture in the air from bathing and cooking can build up in the air, and form condensation when it contacts cool surfaces such as exterior walls. If you position a large item of furniture such as a wardrobe against an exterior wall in your home, you create a large area that is not well heated because little air will move around the furniture. The stale air behind a wardrobe gives the delicate mildew spores plenty of time to grow on the cool walls where moisture builds up.
Unseen, mildew can develop into large spreading colonies over just a few weeks without you knowing about it – often people only discover mildew because of the musty smell that it releases as it matures.
Mildew can easily spread from walls into the wardrobe itself where it will grow on clothing.
Unless you have a severe allergic reaction to mildew, it is usually safe to clean, although it can be messy, so you should wear old clothes along with eye protection. If mildew is growing on a wall, spray a fungicide or dilute bleach onto the affected area to kill the mildew and then wipe away the residue with a cloth. You will need to rinse the area after cleaning and leave it open to dry. If mildew is growing on clothing in a wardrobe, you will need to wash all the clothes on a higher temperature and wipe down all internal surfaces to remove the mildew.
Mildew, like mould, can leave a stain on walls and clothing, so you may need to repaint walls after cleaning, and some clothing may need to be disposed of.
Improving air flow in affected areas can reduce the risk of mildew. Leave at least two inches between bulky items of furniture and the wall to allow air to move more freely – this will lessen the ability of mould and mildew to get a foothold on walls and can also help to reduce the build-up of condensation. Leave space between items in your wardrobe to allow air to move around. If you pack clothes too tightly into a wardrobe, it is much easier for mildew to spread.
Most treatments for mildew are only temporary, and if you want to prevent it coming back, you may need to improve the ventilation to reduce the condensation that creates the damp patches where mildew grows. The most effective way of improving the ventilation throughout your home is with a whole house positive input ventilation system such as Atmos. This will draw in fresh air from outside and distribute it into your living spaces to displace the moist air that causes the condensation which leads to mildew growth.
Our ventilation specialists can visit your property to conduct a free home survey that will identify the causes of condensation and mildew in your home. If you have discovered mould or mildew on walls, or in your wardrobe, simply enter your postcode below to find a local specialist who can provide you with advice about the best way to stop condensation, damp, and mould for good.
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