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Keep Mildew at Bay

The best way to fight mildew is to prevent it. And the most effective method of prevention is to deny mildew what it craves: moisture. In the bathroom, start by turning on the exhaust fan to eliminate excess dampness. Then take the following precautions.

1. Damp towels smell musty when they are bunched and can't dry quickly. Spread them out over two hooks to dry, or hang from rods or drying racks.

2. Install a shelf to hold essentials such as shampoo. Don't keep too many containers in the shower -- the fewer there are, the easier it is to clean around them and keep the area free of soap buildup.

3. A rustproof wire basket allows air to circulate among the items within, and keeps the accumulation of moisture to a minimum.

4. Shower curtains should dry quickly and launder easily, because mildew also feeds on soap residue; a homemade curtain of ripstop nylon works well. Curtains and plastic liners can be cleaned with laundry detergent in the washing machine, on the gentle cycle.

5. Caulking between tiles may support mildew growth if the water is allowed to puddle on it. Each day, use a spare towel or squeegee to wipe off excess moisture after the last shower.


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