How we got & got rid of mildew

As promised…

How we got & got rid of mildew

Mildew and mold is a tricky and potentially dangerous thing to deal with. We spent a lot of time researching how to get rid of mildew that I figured we might as well share what worked for us!

First up – how we got mildew. As I’ve mentioned a few times, Hunter recently had a small tail accident, which resulted in surgery and stitches. Understandably, he was on some antibiotics there for a bit to attempt to fight off any potential infections. He’s all kinds of fine and dandy now, but unfortunately when he was on antibiotics he got sick in our basement.

No big deal though, along with all other pet owners (and parents!) – this family has had our fair share of poo and throw up removal. We visited our local grocery store and rented a Rug Doctor along with the necessary cleaner and spent a portion of our evening cleaning our entire basement carpet.

Sadly, our carpet cleaning journey was far from being over. When we got new carpet last year, we purchased Berber carpet for its thickness and durability. However, the Rug Doctor did an absolutely terrible job pulling the water back out of the carpet. As you can imagine, the Berber kept the water trapped and within a few days – our entire basement smelled like mildew.

We tried all kinds of tricks over the course of a week and a half. Without going into every single failed attempt – here’s what worked for us:

We ended up going to Lowe’s and renting a Bissell Big Green Machine, which I highly, highly recommend. The BGM pulled up almost all of the water that it spewed out, leaving our carpet almost completely dry.

Here’s what worked: First we went around with HOT water (about 2 gallons) mixed with 1/4 cup of Borax in the BGM. Borax is a laundry and household cleaner that you can find at your local grocery store.

Next, we mixed about 2 ½ cups of white vinegar with the tank of HOT water. The vinegar kills the mildew and actually acts as a deodorizer as well. Once the vinegar smell dissipates (depending on the size of the room, this could take a couple of days), there are no more traces of mildew lingering about.

In addition, we bought a dehumidifier (found on Craigslist for only $50) and an extra fan from WalMart. We set out the dehumidifier and set three fans around that side of the room. We completed one section of our basement – let it dry overnight and then finished the other side the next day (switching all the fans to that side).

 No more mildew. Lessons learned:

  • Never rent a Rug Doctor
  • Do not use the “shampoo” that’s sold at stores. It leaves a soapy residue in your carpet
  • Instead – use Borax and other household cleaners to get the dirt out of your carpet
  • Make sure that your carpet isn’t saturated with water when you’re finished shampooing/steaming
  • Air circulation is KEY
  • Vinegar kills mildew, even deep within the pad of your carpet!

Happy Cleaning!


10 thoughts on “How we got & got rid of mildew

    • That would definitely work too! We had just purchased brand new carpet less than a year prior and spent a lot of money on high quality carpet. Our last option would have been to replace it, so I’m glad with found another less expensive alternative!

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  6. Thanks for excellent advice. Just finished step one with the Borax and hot water. Next step is to start fan and dehumidifier (which I was lucky enough today, to find on Craigslist for $50.00 LOL). I will tell you though for the sake of readers in Applicable Lowes markets…… Not all Lowes carry the Bissell Big Green Machine….hopefully that will change in the near future since I had to drive almost 15 miles out of my way to find a Lowes which did carry it. Thanks again!!

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