Your first plan of attack:
takasu/ShutterStock When you want to remove mildew stains, reach for white vinegar first. It can be safely used without additional ventilation and can be applied to almost any surface: bathroom fixtures and tile, clothing, furniture, painted surfaces, plastic curtains, and more. To eliminate heavy mildew accumulations, use it full strength. For light stains, dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle. Plus, there are over 90 vinegar uses (white or apple cider vinegar) that can clean a lot more than just mildew.
To clean furniture:
Photographee.eu/ShutterStock Ammonia is what you need. Clean the mildew off unfinished wooden patio furniture and picnic tables with a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon of water. Rinse off thoroughly and use an old terry-cloth towel to absorb excess moisture. (This same combination can clean painted outdoor surfaces.) To remove mildew from wicker furniture, wash it down with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 gallon of water. Use an old toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach twists and turns. Rinse well and let air-dry. An important safety note before you use ammonia in any part of your home: Be sure you use it in a well-ventilated area, always wear rubber gloves, and never combine ammonia and bleach.
To clean shower curtains:
donikz/ShutterStock Just because your plastic shower curtain or liner gets dirty or mildewed doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Try cleaning it in your washing machine with two bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) on the gentle setting. Add 1/2 cup baking soda to your detergent during the wash cycle and 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle. Before the machine goes into the spin cycle, remove the curtain and let it drip-dry; don’t put it in the dryer.
Chlorine is another option to get rid of mold in your bathroom. Wash them—along with a couple of bath towels—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 by soaking it in a solution of 1/8 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well. (Here’s how you’re cleaning your bathroom wrong.)