Home Improvement Special Section: After the storm: Dealing with exterior mold and mildew

Published on Wed, Sep 28, 2011
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After the winds have subsided, the rain has stopped and flood waters have receded, many homeowners find themselves facing the real challenge of a heavy rainstorm: the clean-up. Even if you are fortunate enough to escape major property damage, you may find your home’s exterior is covered with dirt, grime, mold and mildew, which is common after a storm.

“It’s not unusual for mildew growth to be one of the unfortunate aftermaths of a severe storm like a hurricane. It’s also common after flooding or a season of heavy rain and high humidity,” said Dirk Sappok of Rust-Oleum. “Mildew can make the exterior of your home look dirty and unattractive. If left unchecked it can damage paint, wood and siding, so it’s important to remove it as soon after the storm as possible.”

Removing mold and mildew used to mean countless hours of scrubbing or power washing, Sappok said. Fortunately, those days are gone.

Thanks to products specifically formulated to effectively kill mold and mildew while removing dirt and grime, cleaning your home’s exterior is easier than you think. Here’s how:

• Are the black spots on your house just dirt or are they really mildew? Since mildew is usually black and can look a lot like dirt, do this simple test: Apply a drop of household bleach to the discolored area. If it disappears, it’s mildew and must be removed with a cleaner specifically formulated to kill mold and mildew.

• If the spot is mildew, use a house cleaner that contains a United States Environmental Protection Agency-registered mildewcide, like Zinsser JOMAX House Cleaner and Mildew Killer. It will kill the mold and mildew and loosen dirt and stains without scrubbing or power washing. And unlike bleach alone, which can effectively kill mildew but also damage wood, etch aluminum siding and damage shrubs, plants and grass, this product is formulated to kill mildew without damaging your home or surrounding foliage.

• After you’ve cleaned your home and killed the mildew, consider repainting with a high quality water-based paint. Try a paint like Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Exterior Paint. It’s guaranteed to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the paint film for five years and is backed by a lifetime guarantee to keep your home mildew-free long after the storm.

For more information on removing and preventing mold and mildew or for other home improvement tips, visit www.zinsser.com.