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Tips on how to fight/avoid mildew on clothes this monsoon

The met-department has predicted a normal monsoon this year. While it's reason to celebrate there is also reason for concern. Monsoon brings with it a host of problems and mildew on clothes and leather goods is one of them. How do you prevent fungus, mildew and mold from ruining clothes and leather goods? Take a look at top solutions for mildew, fungus and mold.

The smell of the first few raindrops hitting the parched dry earth nourishes my soul. I love the sudden drop in temperature and the cool breeze that sets in, as rain clouds begin to close in. I am always mesmerised by the roaring thunder and the dark grey clouds, as they hang threateningly up above me. Oh! How I love the rain. I could write a sonnet about my love for rain, but regrettably, that is not what I intend to do. There are other vital aspects associated with rains that I do not much care for.

Mildew is one of them. Mildew, moulds and fungus have a nasty way of ruining an otherwise beautiful season. They are a big nuisance that distract me from some of life's, small pleasures that every shower brings with it.

The monsoons or unexpected wet season can cause greenish black, foul smelling substance to grow on fabric and leather. This growth is not just unpleasant; it is a health hazard as well. This pesky little substance can cause mild to severe allergies in susceptible individuals, it causes ugly stains on clothes and leaves them with a bad odour. Luckily, there are ways to tackle this menace.

What causes mildew to grow

The excessive moisture in the air raises the humidity levels all around, even indoors. Freshly laundered clothes do not become bone dry, they remain limp with moisture. Even washed and ironed clothes kept inside cupboards and drawers absorb the ambient moisture and become damp. This is the kind of environment that mildew thrives in. Rainy weather is conducive for its growth and once the mildew sets in, it spreads rather quickly, if left ignored.

How do you control this problem? Here are a few handy tips that actually work –

Use silica gel

Home improvement stores sell fragrant and plain silica gel sachets. They can also be bought from popular online stores. You will also find silica gel sachets inside packing material of most electronic goods. They are there inside chewing gum containers too. Collect and place these sachets inside your cupboards or wherever else you store clothes and shoes.

Silica gel granules soak the moisture and keep the immediate environment dry. Use the sachets liberally, keep them between clothes and in all the shelves in your cupboard for mildew free monsoons.

Sun clothes often

Count your blessings if you find the sun peeping out during the rainy season. It is time to open all the doors and windows in your house and let sunlight in. While you are at it also open all the drawers and cupboards where your clothes and footwear are stashed. Run the fan, to create better air circulation. Doing so allows the air inside your home to warm up and lose its moisture.

If you have the time and the patience sun your clothes and footwear in the open - in the balcony, on the terrace or just hang them on the window grill. The heat from the sun will soak up the moisture in your belongings and leave them dry and fresh. Remember, to make the best of sunny days. If you cannot sun your clothes for any reason then air them as often as you can. This will discourage the growth of mildew on your clothes.

The combination of sunlight and fresh air in your home will act as a deodorizer and leave it fresh and clean. You will say goodbye to mustiness.

Use a light bulb

Install a light bulb inside your cupboard. Now, this might seem like a weird suggestion, but it is one that works like a charm. I lived in Lonavala, where the weather was wet, wet and wet! And when we first moved in someone suggested we get light bulbs fixed in all the cupboards. I ignored the advice and a fortnight later was dialling electricians to get the lights fixed.

Use a low voltage bulb, enough to generate slight heat. Keep the bulb switched on for few hours in a day, and you will be able to keep the moisture at bay. Once the moisture is taken care of, the mildew will disappear/not grow.

There is mildew, mould and fungus on your stuff

In case you take stock of the situation a little late after the mildew has affected your clothes and leather goods, what do you then do! If the mildew is not controlled it will keep spreading. Your clothes will begin smelling distinctly musty and if left ignored the mildew will stain the clothes. Keep in mind that mildew is a fungus and will gradually destroy the surfaces it infects. Check these effective remedies to remove mildew and all kinds of fungus on fabric and leather.

Rinse clothes with vinegar

Clothes that have mildew growing on them can be soaked in vinegar. Vinegar is a potent agent against all kinds of fungi. Pour ¾ cup of white synthetic vinegar in a bucket of water and soak mildew soiled clothes in it. The vinegar will remove the stains and the musty smell associated with mildew.

The clothes can then be rinsed in normal water and dried.

Remove mildew from leather

Swab all leather goods with a cloth soaked in diluted white vinegar using 2 parts water and one part vinegar. First, wipe off all traces of the fungus from the leather goods. Sun the goods and keep them in a dry place.

Polish leather goods

Polishing leather good with wax polish creates a protective sheath over them which keeps moisture at bay. Use neutral leather polish on handbags, boots, belts, wallets, jackets etcetera to prevent fungal attacks.

Removing mildew stain from clothes

Apply a mixture of fresh lemon juice and salt directly on visible mildew stains. Leave on for five minutes, before rinsing and washing as normal. Lemon is acidic in nature and will also lighten the colour of the fabric. So, do not keep it on for longer than five minutes.

Sanitise the inside of your cupboards

Even if the clothes are washed and dried, the spores inside the cupboards and drawers will pose a risk of another attack. Soak a piece of cloth in a disinfectant liquid and wipe the inside of the cupboards and drawers to remove all traces of the spores. If you can pull out drawers and shelves, do so and sun them. If not, use a hairdryer to create heat inside the cupboard. Air the inside of the cupboards, on warmer days.

Use borax powder

Borax powder mixed with water can also be used to disinfect the interior of your cupboards. It is effective in destroying active spores that can cause mildew.

Neem works like magic

Keep some dried neem leaves inside the cupboard or wherever else you stack your clothes. Neem is a natural fungicide which will prevent any kind of fungal attacks. Make sure to wash and dry it before lining the cupboard shelves with neem.

It is better to act before the problem sets in. So, take precautions and order silica gel sachets right away. Don't wait for the monsoon to play spoilsport - instead look forward to the season, the way I do.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao28 Apr 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Good article by Ms. Juana.

Just I want to add a point. Silica gel sachets are very good for moisture adsorption. But you should see the life also. Once the silica gel is saturated with moisture the color changes. Once you notice this change, you need not throw it out. You can take out that bag and keep in the microwave for few seconds and it will come to original color . Then you can use it again. Your sachets should be transparent to see this co lour change or you can get unpacked silica gel also which can be used. In place of silica gel there is another very commonly available chemical called calcium chloride which also can be used.

Bulb in the cup board is a good suggestion. Instead of ordinary bulb, if you use a small IR bulb it will be very useful. The cost will not be high and you can get these bulbs from big electrical or lab equipment sellers.

Author: Juana28 Apr 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Thank you for adding value to my article through your valuable comment.

Indian monsoons do not last long, and commercially available silica gel sachets last through the season. Silica gel is safe, as it is also included in edible items (chewing gum containers).

I just read up on calcium chloride and found it can be hazardous to health. It can, for instance cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. Apart from that the salt is corrosive and not suitable for metal cupboard.

It is of course a good alternative to silica gel if used in sachets/bags. I have not come across any in regular stores. However, I had a quick look at online stores and they are available there. Thank you for the tip.

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