Is there a way to remove mildew off of a painted wall without bleaching/stripping the paint?
April 9, 2006 1:18 PM   Subscribe

MildewFilter: Is there a way to remove mildew off of a painted indoor wall without bleaching/stripping the paint?

We have old windows in our apartment which allows moisture to build up around the edges, and mildew to thrive. I've tried using Lysol and a mildew remover from Zep, but both stripped off some of the paint.

A wet cloth gets some of the mildew off, but leaves me feeling a bit unsettled about whether or not the area is really sanitized.

I've found a few resources, but none of them guarantee that the paint will not lose its color (and I have every intention of keeping my security deposit).

I'd appreciate any homebrew solutions (no pun intended)!
posted by spiderskull to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're renting then why not put it in the landlord's lap? Mildew is often toxic and the owner of the building should be doing something about it, I would say.

On your question, I doubt that you'll get rid of the mildew without taking paint off. The fact that the wall is damp enough for long enough to grow mildew says that the paint probably doesn't have much solid wall to stick to anymore. You could try a mild solution of vinegar and water but if the wall stays damp the mildew will return.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:28 PM on April 9, 2006

Try a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. I learned about them through AskMe and seriously, those things are freaky amazing. It can't hurt and might work.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2006

What color is the paint? Test some 50/50 bleach/water on an inconspicuous area. I used bleach to clean a bathroom; didn't affect the paint color, which was a bright lime green, but got rid of every bit of mildew overnight. I repainted because the paint was in poor condition, and hideous, but the color was intact.
posted by theora55 at 3:21 PM on April 9, 2006

I have used bleach on a damp sponge to clean an apartment's chronically mildewy bathroom walls (who designs a bathroom with no window or fan?), and there was no damage to the paint.
posted by amro at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2006

wipe it down with a pad, damp with tea tree oil, the oil will soak in and impede the re population of the mildew, You can also mix the oil into paint,worked for about six months in a Morro Bay Ca tub enclosure ceiling.
posted by hortense at 4:30 PM on April 9, 2006

The paint came off with Lysol? Wow, that's some crappy paint. I've use TSP (tri-sodium phospate) with good success to remove mildew, but it'll probably take off some paint too if plain ol' Lysol did.
posted by GuyZero at 6:53 PM on April 9, 2006

The paint is a light beige/kinda yellow, and yeah, for some reason it comes off easily. I'll try weakening the bleach mixture, and that Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

theora55 - I'll have to try that one -- it sounds like it's the least likely one to strip the paint.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by spiderskull at 9:53 AM on April 10, 2006

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