Bathrooms and other humid areas can be a breeding ground for mildew. Here are some tips for keeping this unsightly and unsanitary fungus at bay:
* Attack the root causes. Good ventilation, which reduces dampness and condensation, is the key to overcoming mildew. In your bathroom, install a quality exhaust fan and be sure it's vented directly outdoors--not into the rafters above. Run it frequently, and crack open the windows whenever you can.
* If you have standing water in a basement, crawl space or other area, you'll need to add a sump pump or take other waterproofing measures. Once standing water problems are solved, consider painting the walls with water-resistant paint. In an enclosed space, keep a dehumidifier running.
* Mildew stains can destroy a paint job in short order. Before you repaint, be sure to kill all existing mildew. Use a one-to-one mixture of bleach and water or a store-bought mildew fighting solution, and clean entire walls and ceilings.
After killing the mildew, it's a good idea to add a coat of shellac or stain-killing primer in order to keep the mildew from growing again in the same spots. For extra protection, consider putting an anti-mildew additive in the paint or choosing a paint that specializes in its mildew resistance.
Even with proper paint, your battle is not over. Keeping your rooms clean and dry is the best way to keep mildew from coming back.