Monday, October 24, 2016

Dealing with Mildew

::dusts off blog, blows cobwebs away from URL, and flexes fingers::

Now, where were we? April?  Ah. Right.

So much has happened since then that I dare not attempt one huge recap post.  I'll just plow ahead.  Carry on.

If you, like me, live in the Pacific Northwest, you may be familiar with mildew and mold. It's so soggy here that even upholstered items which aren't directly in the rain can be affected.  I discovered this first hand last spring, when my beloved double stroller looked like it was freckled all over its upholstery.

I feared that it was irredeemable and resolved to look for a new one on CL.  But that stroller was in good shape otherwise, which in itself is a miracle considering how much it's been used and banged around since it was given to us as a hand-me-up in 2012.   I decided that it was at least worth a salvage attempt.

Naturally, it was a job for Pinterest. I researched several different testimonials/tutorials of cleaning mildewy things and tried a few out. Some worked better than others, but I finally stumbled upon a solution which worked--huzzah!  The stroller is with us still.

It's Respect Life month, and our church donates items to Hope 360, a local pregnancy resource clinic.  One of the items being requested was a new or gently used, recently manufactured infant car seat.  I just so happened to have an extra which was in fantastic shape...at least, it was when I got a hold of it in March.  I was going to give it to someone who was expecting, but they didn't end up needing it.  It sat outside under our covered patio ever since, and when I went to clean it off, it was disgusting.  The straps were greenish, the fabric black-bespeckled, and full of pine needles and cobwebs.  Time to try out my super-duper method and breathe new life into it.

After vacuuming out all pine needles, dust, and cobwebs, I removed the upholstery and then gave all the plastic parts and the straps (which can't be fully removed) a good scrub with Lysol wipes.  After it was dry, I spritzed it down with a mold remover mixture that I made (I think I got the "recipe" from Tsh Oxenreider's book Organized Simplicity.)  It's a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tsp. tea tree oil, which I have in a trusty Dollar Tree spray bottle.  I think it smells nice.

For the upholstery, I gave it a wash in hot water with bleach and Shout and dried it in the dryer.  It did some to help, but not enough.

Time for the magical step: straight bleach and a hair dryer.

After donning latex disposable gloves, I used some cotton squares (the kind for removing makeup) and rubbed undiluted bleach on the problem areas.  Even applying the bleach helped, but blowing hot air from the hair dryer sealed the deal.
Compare the top half with the bottom half...wow!

After getting every nook and cranny taken care of, I gave it one last wash (cold water cycle, no bleach) and dry and put it back on.  It looks great and I hope it will be of help to a mom out there who doesn't have the funds to buy her baby a car seat.

That's my trick.  The best part is that the cover doesn't even have to be removable (although if it is, I'd still give it a wash before and after just to be sure). You can apply the bleach and use the hair dryer.
"Won't it affect the fabric and lighten it?"  I think it depends, and I *think* that's why using the blow dryer helps.  It did lighten the fabric on my stroller upholstery somewhat, but did not lighten the car seat upholstery whatsoever.  Then again, the car seat fabric is kind of that water-resistant type, so that could explain it, too.  I think it's worth the effort if it's something you don't want to throw away.  It's worth a try.

That's all I've got for now.  One of the reasons I get bogged down on blogging is the feeling that I have to go back and update every blessed thing that I haven't written about.  Then I get overwhelmed at the prospect and put it off.  Of course, the more time passes, the more there is to write about, and the more overwhelmed I feel.  This is a constant issue for me and it's the same with house projects.  Maintenance is better than marathon sessions of anything, but maintenance requires more discipline, and sometimes it feels as though I have that in sadly short supply.

All that to say that I'm letting myself off the hook of "having" to put in all the cute pictures that I should could and just let this post be short and sweet.  Besides, I have to pick Ruby up from school soon...in our new-to-us minivan, about which I could not be more grateful.  It is a gift among gifts, but I'll have to save the story of it for another time.  :)


1 comment:

  1. Yaaaaay for your triumphant return! And I like that your time away remains shrouded in mystery--less likely we'll figure out your alter-ego this way.
    And I like this little trick of yours! Filing it away...

    ReplyDelete