Q. We are having a mildew problem in a bedroom closet near a shower stall. To meet it we plan to apply mildew-resistant paint to the walls. Would a bigger bathroom exhaust fan help? Would central heating help in place of a wall furnace down the hall? The house is only a half mile from the ocean. Drake Lewis Pacifica, Calif.
A. Anything that reduces humidity in the house will help control the mildew, whether it's a larger fan or a central heating system. However, since the problem of mildew is in only one closet, I'd invest in neither.
Mildew is tenacious. Thus, before applying the mildew-resistant paint, I'd thoroughly scrub the contaminated walls with a mixture of one gallon warm water, one cup household bleach, and one-half cup liquid detergent. This should kill the mold.
The closet probably only needs more ventilation. You can achieve this by installing louvered doors, for example, or by cutting vents at the top and bottom of the present closet doors.
Sometimes a small light bulb burning in the closet 24 hours a day creates sufficient warmth and dryness to inhibit the return of mildew, and the cost is low.