It’s not the same as efflorescence.
Although both can be results of unwanted moisture on a specific surface, and some features may look alike, the similarity stops there. While efflorescence is simply salt deposits that are left from evaporated water, mildew is a living thing that grows and reproduces. If unsure about that thing you notice developing on your wall, one differentiator is the musty odor that mildew leaves in your house once it infests it. Another thing is the appearance; efflorescence usually causes the discoloration of paint while mildew invades the painted wall with dark spots.
Note: It is better to know which is which to apply the proper solution to the problem.
In basic terms, mildew or mold is a form of fungus that lives mostly in a damp, starchy and acidic environment and is prevalent in tropical countries like the Philippines. It is made up of enzymes that are responsible for digesting and decomposing, and spores that are in charge of reproduction. Since it needs moisture to survive and thrive, you can find it commonly in bathrooms, wash areas and on kitchen tiles.
But know that its existence is not entirely useless, in fact we need mildew to balance the ecosystem. Since it eats away the dead stuff (dead animals and vegetables), we wouldn’t have to worry about decayed organisms piling up and swamping the only planet we will ever live on, for now at least.
The problem emerges though when it attacks on things we don’t want them to, like your kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles, or your painted walls. And that is where you need to take action.
HOW TO DEAL WITH MILDEW?
Scraping on the affected area can only remove loose mildew that is more visible than those glued on the wall. To deep clean, you can use a brush to scrub the wall with bleach or other disinfectants. Just follow the precise amount of solution needed to prevent harming the surface and wear gloves to prevent harming yourself.
In extreme cases, where either scraping and poisoning mildew won’t work, pressurized washing or power washing comes in handy. It uses high-pressure water spray to remove the accumulated mildew on your walls or any other surface.
But it doesn’t end there, you should know that once mildew infests your wall, it’s there forever. It may be gone for a short while, but it will eventually reappear without your permission.
Still, you needn’t worry because although you can’t completely remove it, you can pretty much control its buildup and prevent further damage on your house and your family’s well-being. It takes periodic maintenance following these simple actions to ensure a healthier home:
Besides damaging your house, mold can cause severe health problems. Prolonged exposure may cause rashes and respiratory problems like asthma and allergic rhinitis. Let the air circulate well in your house to prevent these problems. You can consider installing an exhaust fan or dehumidifier that can help maintain air quality.
2. Fix leaky pipes and waterways
Leaks can complicate the problem further, including mildew infestation, if not tackled sooner. So better observe your house for potential leaks and fix the problem as soon as you discovered it.
3. Let the sun shine in
The cheapest way to prevent the growth of mildew is to let fresh air and sunlight in to your home. Not only do these eliminate the musty smell caused by mildew but these also helps in natural air circulation (read no. 1).
In general, it takes about a year for mildew to be visible on painted walls and it’s almost always a little too late to remedy the problem by then. So the least we could do is to be vigilant about it and maintain proper upkeep of the house by doing monthly checkups in each and every corner of the rooms. As cliché-ish as it may seem, prevention is still much better than the cure.