It happens to the best of us. Mildew creeps onto our home's exteriors (not just in our bathrooms!) without us even realizing it. That's why it's so important to do routine walks around your Santa Ynez house, checking on the condition of everything. When you notice mildew, don't panic. It's possible to remove, but keep in mind that you'll need to take swift action. Mildew can stain your siding, cause allergies to flare up, and can cause wood to rot. Tackling mildew removal as soon as possible will protect your family while keeping your home's value up where it belongs.
How to Tell If It's Mold or Mildew
Both mold and mildew grow in damp, shady areas, but they are different beasts. Mildew is typically easier to spot. You'll notice it is a gray/white or light brown color. Mildew sits on the surface of your house's exterior and it's powdery in form.
Mold, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. The first sign may be a bad smell. It comes in many different colors and is more on the fuzzy side.
How to Remove Mildew from Wood and Vinyl Siding
1. First cover any plants near where you'll be removing mildew.
2. Wear protective clothing.
3. Choose a commercial mildew remover, or make your own solution of 1/3 cup all-purpose laundry detergent, 1 quart fresh household chlorine bleach, and 3 quarts warm water. You can also add washing soda or a cleaner that has trisodium phosphate for extra help.
4. Test the solution on a small area.
5. Wet the siding with the solution, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then scrub the area with the solution and a soft brush. Start at the bottom and work your way up. When done, rinse from the top down with your hose.
How to Remove Mildew from Brick
Make it a habit to spray your brick with the spray nozzle on your hose once a year. If you notice mildew in between, you'll need to scrub with a solution. Soak the brick first, and then use a solution of one cup of bleach mixed with a gallon of water. With a stiff brush (not wire or synthetic), scrub the mildew.
How to Remove Mildew from Stone
All you need is a mild soap solution to clean mildew from stone. Once you've wiped or scrubbed it away, rinse the stone with clean water.
How to Choose Paint that Is Resistant to Mildew
When it's time to repaint your house, make things a bit easier on yourself and choose a paint that is resistant to mildew. The least susceptible paints are exterior enamels, while the most susceptible are latex paint. Linseed oil base paints are incredibly susceptible.
How to Prevent Mildew in the Future
Preventing mildew from ever showing up in the first place is always a smart move to make.
Keep your trees and bushes trimmed so you can limit the amount of moisture that can access your siding.
Walk around your house at least once a month to inspect for damage. If you find any mildew, attack it immediately before it has the chance to grow.
Wash your siding every fall to prevent mildew from growing.