Q. How can I rid the house of a mildew smell? C. Aksamit Elmhurst, Ill.
A. Simply by getting rid of the mildew. And how do you do that? Well, it all depends on where the mildew is.
If it is in the crawl space under the house, install a polyethylene vapor barrier to prevent any moisture from rising into the structure. Then kill the mildew under the house with a chemical that is recommended by a local janitorial supply store. Keep the crawl space ventilated.
If the mildew is in the kitchen, bath, and laundry, provide mechanical ventilation to remove the humidity. Wash the walls, woodwork, and tile with a chemical mildew retardant.
Repeat as necessary. Use a paint with a mildewcide content.
If the mildew is on other walls and ceilings, remove it, using a chemical made for this purpose. Bleaches are effective. Repaint where necessary with the same mildewcide paint.
If the mildew problem is under a carpet and pad, remove them and replace with new material as needed. Before relaying the carpet and pad, apply a waterproofing agent to the floor, if it is concrete, or a mildew inhibitor if it is wood.
Further, install a humidifier to reduce humidity. Ventilate the house frequently and change the furnace filter regularly.
After the mildew is destroyed, you may want to deodorize the house, using a professional firm which is skilled in this art. Check the yellow pages under "deodorizing and disinfecting" for such a company.
If all these methods are more than you want to tackle, a professional deodorizing company may like to do business with you.