Mold in T@B — part two

Specifically, this blog prepared on Friday, May 9th, 2014, 7:00 PM. 


The following is just a portion of an article titled

Practical Sailor tests 14 mildew stain removers….

There are numerous products that claim to prevent or remove mildew. Sodium hypochlorite, or bleach, can kill fungus and mold spores if used correctly. Less-toxic chemicals like ammonium chloride are less effective at eliminating resistant molds but are less harsh on fabric and humans.

Once mildew appears, Practical Sailor recommends first trying a mix of mild soap and water to remove the mildew. The second line of defense is a chlorine-free mildew cleaner. Because some materials—like vinyl and stitching—can be damaged by repeated exposure to chlorine/bleach, it’s always a good idea to try removing the stains with less aggressive cleaners first (no chlorine or low chlorine). If that doesn’t work—and the material being cleaned isn’t affected by chlorine—try a more potent chlorine-based cleaner or a solution of 10 percent household bleach and 90 percent water to spot clean the stain; rinse thoroughly with fresh water and dry the area.

Some chemicals that eliminate mildew are considered pesticides, and may contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals, or the environment. For this reason, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs regulates pesticides in the United States to protect public health and the environment. Typical pesticides found in mold and mildew removers are chlorine and alkyl ammonium chlorides. These are known as fungicides and can be very caustic, ruining some fabrics or stitching, and harmful humans.


Your best defense against mildew is prevention, but once those black stains appear, act fast. To avoid the possible damage that repeated exposure to harsh cleaners can cause, try to clean the stains first with soap and water, then a non-chlorine product.

Testers’ favorite bleach-free cleaner in this test was the Spray Nine. A top performer with the best price, Spray Nine also notched Budget Buy honors. Another top chlorine-free cleaner was Nautical Ease.

If the mildew problem is too tough for mild measures, advance to a diluted bleach-and-cold water solution—usually the cheapest approach—or a chlorine-based cleaner.

The hands-down top performer in this test was the bleach-based Klean-Strip. It stood out from the rest of the pack, easily cleaning the vinyl cushion and making a significant impact on the life jacket. It’s thePractical Sailor Best Choice for cleaning extreme mildew stains, but with caveats. This is a highly concentrated product—it has 19 times more sodium hypochlorite than common bleach—so be sure to read its label carefully and be selective about what surfaces and materials you use it on. We do not recommend using it undiluted for cleaning sails or fabrics.

Reading the safety precautions on a product label before using a cleaner is a must. Many will recommend wearing gloves and eye protection.

My preference is a natural product; I found these web sites: The Thrifty Couple, and Thrifty Fun.

Natural productsThe suggestions (on the web) are numerous: Home Guides Natural Mold & Mildew Remover, and Green Mold & Mildew Remover.~~ Some of you will remember that I am extremely sensitive to odors (cigarette smoke in Shelby, NC, and moth balls in Waxhaw, NC). I **know** I must approach this project with caution. (I recently purchased products for a homemade cleaner.)

2 comments on “Mold in T@B — part two

  1. Nina Dobyns says:

    White vinegar works if it is not too bad and will help prevent. I leave shower open overnight so it can dry out well,. Am allergic to chlorox but it works

  2. carol says:

    Lorraine – believe it or not one of the best odor free mildew killers and cleaners is plain (cheap)vodka.

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