It’s no wonder there are actual products on the market that specifically are made for mildew removal. Bringing up mildew instantly conjures up in ones mind its distinctly unappealing scent. There’s no mistaking that smell. When you get an unfortunate whiff, you usually know to look for the source.
The source is always something that has been soaked with water, and has sat for a while perhaps balled or crumpled in a heap that doesn’t see the light of day and doesn’t get much oxygen or airflow.
Things like the sponges we use to do dishes (when you forget to wring them out), clothes that have sat in the washer too long after you’ve forgotten about them, or that bathing suit you closed up in a dark place before letting it thoroughly dry out. You get the point – it’s happened to all of us and we’re all familiar with it.
Sometimes you can throw affected garments or linens in the washer on a warm and cold cycle and get rid of it, but there are times when it proves much more difficult to get rid of the stubborn smell left by the fungus that causes mildew.
And by the way, mildew and mold are basically one in the same, they just show themselves visually differently. Mildew is often a thin milky white or transparent layer, while mold traditionally shows up in darker colors like black, blue and green. Mildew tends to have the more distinct smell though.
Getting rid of mildew naturally – essential oils that are mildew removers
There are of course unnatural options you can use to remove mildew. These include bleach and detergents. However, most of these are also hard no fabrics and other materials, and we certainly don’t want them to come into contact with our skin if we’re trying to be green. So that turns us to another great cleanser that mother nature has given us : essential oils.
Essential oils have the power to clean a lot of different surfaces and also can act as a household replacement for many of the traditional chemical based cleaners, deodorizers, scent infusers, and good old fashioned household “remedies”.
Mildew-removing essential oils
Just about every essential oil has some anti-fungal properties. Many can even kill mold and mildew when they have been diffused into the air. Mold and mildew particles are airborne in the form of spores, which is why many who allergic to the spores can’t be in the vicinity of a moldy or mildew environment. Not only that, they can act as an air purifier by deodorizing the air and infusing it with a pleasant scent.
The most effective essential oils that are most effective for the removal of mildew and mold are the more “hot, spicy” volatile ones. These include cinnamon and clove.
These two essential oils are great for dispersing into the air, however they must be used with caution since they can be an irritant if they come into contact with the skin, or too close contact with nasal passages (they need to be dispersed into the air, not inhaled directly). If you are trying to get rid of mildew in a material, simply add a few drops of one of these oils to your cleaning water and it will really help get that tough smell out.
Rosemary and mint oil also work well. These are two that actually tend to go well together, and when they are together, they tend to smell pleasant to the human senses because they harmonize well. It’s a very popular combination in many of today’s bath and body products for a reason.
They work well on their own as natural, non-chemical mildew removal agents, and can either be dispersed in the air to eliminate the spores and the scent they cause, or you can also add a few drops (or as many as you need so that you can begin to smell it in the water) to your “bath” you’re giving the affected garment or material you’re cleaning.
The citrus essential oils like grapefruit, lemon and orange are a good option as well. Not only are they cost effective, but they are generally perceived as being the most pleasant smelling to our human olfactory senses.
They also have antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, and are a great option to keep around the home in addition to mildew and mold prevention since they have a variety of other cleaning and disinfecting purposes, such as cleaning many surfaces in the home when diluted with some water.
Grapefruit seed extract is also an excellent mold and mildew killing agent. This is popularly used as a mold prevention agent in bath and body products as well, since anything that contains water can begin to grow mold in relatively short periods of time.
Mold and mildew are a natural byproduct of water. It is completely natural for this reaction to happen over time. However, it should really be addressed if you can smell it anywhere in your home by keeping your home and its contents as aired out as and sun-exposed as possible. Mold and mildew cause many sensitivities, namely or a respiratory nature.
They can trigger asthma attacks in sensitive individuals, headaches and nasal passage irritation, and they are destructive for even healthy lungs to breathe in since they irritate the lung tissue. So it’s important to keep your home as mold and mildew free as possible.