Mold and mildew are unsightly,

of course, but those frustrating little deposits can also trigger allergies and respiratory issues. Luckily, it’s easy to fight spores without turning to harsh chemicals. Here’s how.

 

 

  1. Vinegar can kill 82 percent of mold spores when used alone, say some studies, and there’s no need to distill it or add anything special. Just pour some plain white vinegar into a spray bottle, spritz straight over the mold, and let it all sit for an hour. Then, wipe clean and rinse with water. One note of caution: Vinegar can damage certain surfaces over time, so test on a small spot first (and avoid spraying vinegar on natural marble).

  1. Baking soda boosts the mold-fighting power of vinegar, but it’s also a mild abrasive that gets the job done on its own. After testing a small spot to make sure the powder doesn’t harm delicate surfaces, sprinkle a bit of dry baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub away. Or, dissolve about 1/8 cup of powder in a quart of water to make a spray.

For tougher mold spots,

mix a baking soda-water paste, scrub it along the surface and let things sit. An hour later, wipe and rinse the spot clean.

  1. Tea tree oil has natural fungus-fighting properties and a clean scent. Mix 10 drops with water in a small, glass spray bottle and shake to mix. Spray onto mold and mildew and let that soak for a while. Later, scrub any spots that don’t come clean.

 

  1. Hydrogen peroxide also has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral powers, making it an effective mold-fighting weapon. Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide (try a three-percent formula) and spritz it on top of the moldy surface. After 10 minutes, scrub lightly and wipe down the surface to finish the job. Please note: Hydrogen peroxide can act as a bleach, so test a small patch before cleaning entire surfaces.

 

  1. Vodka—just the cheap, bottom-shelf kind—also works well for tackling mold and mildew. Saturate the dirty spots with straight vodka, let that soak for a while, and wipe away with a damp rag.

And then…keep mold from coming back

Once you’ve got mold and mildew under control, what’s the best way to prevent a repeat appearance? A few simple steps can keep mold from forming in the first place. Some ideas include:

  • Run a dehumidifier in basements, bathrooms or other rooms prone to moisture and dampness.
  • Open doors and windows after showering, especially if you don’t have a bathroom fan.
  • Fix minor leaks and plumbing issues before they become bigger problems.

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