1. Baby Powder
If some of your books have been stored in a less than ideal environment and have gotten a bit moldy or mildewed, try this: First, let them thoroughly air-dry. Then, sprinkle some baby powder between the pages and stand the books upright for several hours. Afterward, gently brush out the remaining powder from each book. They may not be as good as new, but they should be in a lot better shape than they were.
Bleach and ammonia are both useful for removing mold and mildew both inside and outside your home. However, the two should never be used together. Bleach is especially suited for the following chores:
- Wash mildew out of washable fabrics. Wet the mildewed area and rub in some powdered detergent. Then wash the garment in the hottest water set-ting permitted by the clothing manufacturer using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach. If the garment can’t be washed in hot water and bleach, soak it in a solution of 1/4 cup oxygen bleach (labeled “all fabric” or “perborate”) in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water for 30 minutes before washing.
- Remove mold and mildew from the grout between your bathroom tiles. Mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle, and spray it over grout. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off. You can also do this just to make your grout look whiter.
- Get mold and mildew off your shower curtains. Wash them — along with a couple of bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) — in warm water with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Let the washer run for a couple of minutes before loading. Put the shower curtain and towels in the dryer on the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, then immediately hang-dry.
- Rid your rubber shower mat of mildew. Soak in a solution of 1/8 cup (3.7 liters) chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well.
- Get mildew and other stains off unpainted cement, patio stones, or stucco. Mix a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff or wire brush and rinse. If any stains remain, scrub again using 1/2 cup washing soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) dissolved in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) warm water.
- Remove mildew from painted surfaces and siding. Make a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 2 cups water and apply with a brush to mildewed areas. Let the solution set for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary.
Why waste good cheese by letting the cut edges get hard or moldy? Give semi-hard cheeses a light coat of butter to keep them fresh and free of mold. Each time you use the cheese, coat the cut edge with butter before you rewrap it and put it back in the fridge.
4. Charcoal Briquettes
Professional librarians use charcoal to get rid of musty odors on old books. You can do the same. If your bookcase has glass doors, it may provide a damp environment that can cause must and mold. A piece of charcoal or two placed inside will help keep the books dry and mold-free.
Cheese is much too expensive to throw away because it has become moldy. Prevent the mold by wrapping the cheese in a napkin soaked in salt water before storing it in the refrigerator.
To remove and inhibit bathroom mold and mildew, pour a solution of 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax, and 2 cups hot water into a clean, recycled spray bottle and give it a few good shakes. Then spray the mixture on painted surfaces, tiles, windows, or wherever you see mold or mildew spots. Use a soft scrub brush to work the solution into the stains or just let it soak in.