Eliminating Mold and Mildew

Keep the dark patches away for good with these expert tips

Mold and mildew can be a real source of frustration for homeowners. It not only ruins paint jobs with ugly, discolored spots but can also cause severe respiratory issues for many people and pets. Come to the rescue for these homeowners by eliminating their mold and mildew problem.

Dennis Fiorilli, Director of Product Excellence at Sherwin-Williams, recommends following these six expert tips for success when repainting an area affected by mold or mildew.

  • Don’t just paint over the mold or mildew. Covering up the problem won’t solve the problem. Sure, it might not be visible right away, but the mold or mildew will grow back eventually and ruin your repaint. Cleaning it now will save you from a costly callback.
  • Prioritize your crew’s safety with PPE. Neither mold nor the chemicals used to fight it are safe for your crew to directly contact. Fiorilli recommends painters wear waterproof gloves, protective eyewear and clothing, and possibly a respirator when cleaning away mold and mildew.
  • Clean the mildew away with a bleach solution. Use a bleach test to confirm the discolored area is mold or mildew rather than dirt. Once confirmed, thoroughly scrub the affected area with a solution of 1 part liquid bleach and 3 parts water. Let the solution remain on the surface for 10 minutes before rinsing the area with water and letting it fully dry.
  • Rinse the bleach away before repainting. Fiorilli says, “Make sure you rinse appropriately to ensure all the cleaner is removed before applying a new coat. Failing to fully rinse that off could affect things like the adhesion or coloring of the topcoat.”
  • Identify the source of any mold. While mildew can be easily cleaned away with a bleach solution, mold can be trickier. Because mold often comes through a surface, surface-level cleaning solutions may be insufficient to solve the problem. Consider working with a specialty contractor to resolve the root of this problem before moving forward with the repaint. 
  • When repainting, choose a mildew-resistant coating. Many Sherwin-Williams coatings include mildewcides and anti-microbial agents designed to prevent mold or mildew from returning. For exterior jobs, consider WoodScapes® Rain Refresh™, Emerald® Rain Refresh™, and Duration® Exterior Acrylic Latex. For interior jobs, Fiorilli recommends Duration Home®, Emerald® Designer Edition™, and Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex for best results.

For more specific recommendations based on your job’s unique circumstances and needs, talk to your local Sherwin-Williams representative. With this expert advice in your corner, you should be equipped to help any client struggling with mold and mildew problems.