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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Need Tips on Interior Mold
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-25-2002 09:10 PM
MaryBeth
Need Tips on Interior Mold


I myself have never used the Amazon products, but have had rave reviews from customers who come into the store glad to see the stuff there. If you also have a quantity of teak aboard, Amazon''s acid-free teak cleaner works quite well. I recommended it to a couple that had small children and a dog on their boat, giving them the information I had gotten from others about the other Amazon products. It worked so well for them, with so much less of the skin aggravation you have when you use other teak cleaners, that they came back and bought 3 more bottles to keep in store.

You are correct, one should never, ever use Clorox bleach (or any mix of chlorine bleach, not necessarily the wonderful brand name without which I would not be able to do my laundry or clean my toilets or disinfect my dogs'' kennels) to kill mold other than in very small quantities or in an open air environment. Exposure in a tight air space to even the cleaners like the Clorox "Clean-up" can release enough fumes to cause hemorrhages in the eyes and brain tissue (yuck, but true). Thus, the warning, "Use in a well-ventilated area."

And, as mentioned before, if storing for the winter, or for any length of time, please use the dehumidifier products available. They really do work with a minimum of effort.

Best Wishes,
MaryBeth
06-23-2002 05:04 PM
staceyneil
Need Tips on Interior Mold

Someone mentioned the toxicity of the mildew itself but I would like to comment on the toxicity of the things you''re all recommending to get rid of it.....

I am quite allergic to mold and mildew, so, obviously, this is a big concern for me. However, I am also very concerned anout toxicity (particularly carcinogens, as I am a cancer survivor) of cleaning products. When we bought our new boat, which we intend to live aboard, it was a veritable mildew farm. No dorade vents, can you imagine?! The first thing I did was scrub it down. On other boats I have used the diluted bleach solution. However I recently read that chlorine bleach is a known human carcinogen (the vapors that are given off during use.) So I looked into all of the commercial mildew killers. i went so far as to get the companies'' toxicity disclosure statements (forget what they are called) that they file with the gov''t. Well, they all say on the labels "use with adequate ventilation, do not allow skin exposure,etc." but the statement go into more detail about how frighteningly toxic they are. Also carcinogenic. There was one product, MDR Amazon''s Mildew Stain Away, which was not listed as toxic other than giving you some skin irritation if you, like, took a bath in it. I wore a respirator anyway (''cause I''m allergic to the mildew) and rubber gloves. I have to say that mildew has not reappared yet in the places I used it, although it has in the areas where I ran out and used the dilut bleach. And the boats been closed up with the same mildew-infested cushions still in it, for 2 months.

Hope that this is helpful. It''s just that after having gotten a cancer (out of the blue) which is being linked to environmental chemical exposure more each day, I am extremely wary about the millions of toxic chemicals we expose ourselves to all the time. Apparently it is a cumulative effect, so little bits over a lifetime are the real concern.

good luck!
06-18-2002 04:27 AM
Starlite
Need Tips on Interior Mold

I tried a ''Hints from Helonise" solution for my annual mold problem this year, and found it worked particularly well -- white vinegar. Cut a quart into a gallon of water, and was amazed how quickly things cleaned up.

The difficult part is keeping the mold from coming back. It''s very pervasive, hiding behind everything. The key is after getting as much of it removed, keeping everything dry. Improve ventilation (even when closed up), and put a few containers with ''Damp Rid'' about to keep the humidity down.
05-28-2002 11:11 AM
RichH
Need Tips on Interior Mold

Paraformaldahyde is sold a "Mildew-Gasz", etc. BoatUS, West Marine, etc. Takes a long time for the gas to attentuate and kill the spores, etc. Crystals are used for long term storage - months.
Sodium Silicate based: Tuff-eNuff (Florida Manufacturer) ... go to a hardware store that specializes to the industrial trade and browse.... or a Janitorial supply. What strong caustics do is *dissolve* the mildew cells. If you dont remove the cells (even dead) other lifeforms will use the dead cells as nutrient sources. .... drycleaning will help (to remove mildew edible ''soil'') but if any of the material that is ''infected'' is celulose based - wood, cotton, etc. it will be a nutrient source for the mildew to re-infect (eat).
05-28-2002 08:24 AM
bderosa
Need Tips on Interior Mold

RichH

I am very interested in your comments about eleminatin mildew, as I have discovered the same problem on my boat (diffuse allergic reaction). I have few questions:

Where can I get paraformaldehyde crystals?? How long does it take to eliminete the vapors? I gather that it depends on the ventilation, but are we talking in termes of hours, days?? Would it be realistic to leave the crystals on the boat say for a week or so and then be able to sail the next weekend??

Could you give me the names of a couple of detergernts you have tried containing sodium silicate?? Another post suggests the use of TSP, what is your experience??

Also any suggestion on eleminating mildew from pillows and other upholstery on the boat?? Would drycleaning do the job??

Thank you,

Bill
05-24-2002 05:37 PM
MaryBeth
Need Tips on Interior Mold


Use Starbrite Mildew remover, much easier to handle than Clorox. Just be sure to rinse well, especially along the seams. This can be used on any vinyl or fiberglass surface. If colored, of course test for color fastness in a corner. If this is a boat that has sat for a while untended, the spots you see may not be just mildew but, I now it''s gross, spider poop. The Starbrite Mildew remover will take care of this, too. From experience, the Starbrite is much easier to use in as big a task as this than Clorox is. Still, you will need lots of ventilation. Do a small spot at a time. Don''t get down there and spray all over, please.

Best of luck,
MaryBeth
05-22-2002 08:12 PM
RichH
Need Tips on Interior Mold

The concentration of "consumer grade" Chlorox out of the bottle is 5% Sodium hypochlorite. Diluting it down will require LONGER kill (soak) times needed. Chlorox only kills the mildew, caustics (TSP, Sodium Silicate, lye, and other ''harsh" detergents etc. will **dissolve** the cells. Obviously you DO NOT mix any of these chemicals when using or you risk potentially lethal by-products.
05-22-2002 07:17 PM
joub
Need Tips on Interior Mold

I''d like to correct some bad advice previously offered in this thread.

1 Cup of clorox to 1 gallon of water is probably not enough clorox to do the job below decks. That figure came from my experience with mildew in my non-skid surface on the deck. It seems to clean it up pretty well.

However, I have read subsquent to that posting that it takes a solution of 50% clorox to kill mildew. This could be the case below decks where the sun cannot help do the job.

Sorry for the bad info.

Jim
05-22-2002 05:34 AM
mikehoyt
Need Tips on Interior Mold

Starbrite Mildew remover in spray bottle. Available from any marine store.

Add to all the above advice!
05-21-2002 11:17 AM
RichH
Need Tips on Interior Mold

Mildew removal *can* be dangerous as many species are toxic... to skin, lungs, etc. If and where possible, spray on straight Chlorox and let it soak into the mildew then rinse with water ..... this is just to kill it. Cleaning usually involves direct scrubbing (definitely wear a respirator, goggles and rubber gloves - just in case you''re sensitive to it). Only scrub wetted mildew, never dry mildew as you will release spores into the atmosphere if dry (most dangerous form).

Commercial cleaning compounds are available: X-14, Tile-X, etc. I also use full strength Sodium Silicate based detergents - as caustics will dissolve the cellular material - best. To prevent reinfections during the cleaning process consider to use paraformaldehyde crystals: (also toxic, put crystals on top of plastic baggies, etc. close the boat; the gas given off of the paraF will also kill attenuate further growth - MildewGaz, etc. Before entering the boat, open it to ventilate completely and dont breathe the paraF vapors.

Anytime in the future when you long term store the boat.... put in some paraF crystals just before leaving and closing up. Good active ventilation and a dry bilge are the best defense; otherwise, its scrub time!
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