the corner of a room with mildew on the walls and the words mildew and paint in a gray box to the left, introducing the topic of dealing with paint and mildew.

What's Mildew?

Mildew is a type of fungus that grows in moist and humid environments. It appears as discolored growth on surfaces and is often accompanied by a musty smell. Mildew can grow on various surfaces inside and outside the house, including walls, ceilings, bathrooms and  basements. If left unchecked, mildew can cause discoloration, damage to surfaces, and even health problems. It’s important to regularly inspect your home for signs of mildew. In this article, we will look at how to deal mildew and painting as well as the steps to remove it.


Bathrooms are often the dampest and most humid areas of the home, making them ideal environments for mildew to grow. Look for discolored growth on walls, ceilings, and around sinks, toilets, and shower stalls. Ventilate your bathroom after use by opening windows or turning on a fan, and clean regularly to prevent mildew from growing. Basements are often damp, dark, and poorly ventilated, making them breeding grounds for mildew to grow. Kitchens are often humid due to cooking and dishwashing, making them another common area for mildew to grow. Look for tiny spots on walls around sink areas, and be sure to routinely clean around them. The biggest step in prevention is to keep these three areas ventilated.


Gutters are the most common mildew attracting points because thy carry water every rainfall. Look for green, discolored spots on the fascia and trim as this will show mildew from the gutters. Mildew will only cover wall areas that are closest to points of moisture. Look for outdoor water outlets, sinks, and the corners of the house where gutters converge. Wall spaces behind AC units collect mildew as well as the areas behind shrubbery that do not receive direct sunlight. 

Interior removal

A person in a blue safety suit, cleaning mildew from a wall and demonstrating the cleaning techniques such such as mixing a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and using a brush when dealing with paint and mildew.

For interior surfaces, start by mixing a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar or water and bleach. Then, use a sponge or cloth to apply the solution to the affected area and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. After the designated time, rinse the surface thoroughly with water and let it air dry. If the mildew is stubborn and doesn’t come off easily, you can use a scrub brush to help remove it. Or you can use RMR 141, which uses ammonium as its active ingredient to kill microorganisms and eliminate mold.

Exterior cleaning

A pressure washer spraying a wall and removing mildew, demonstrating the importance of make sure to clear the area of any loose debris and use a proper cleaning solution.

For exterior surfaces, pressure washing is the best method for removing mildew. Before starting, make sure to clear the area of any loose debris and protect surrounding plants and landscaping. Mix a cleaning solution of water and a mildew-removing cleaner. Connect the cleaning solution to the pressure washer and start with a low pressure setting, gradually increasing the pressure as needed. Make sure to keep the nozzle at least 18 inches away from the surface to avoid damage. After pressure washing, rinse the surface thoroughly with water and let it air dry.

What paint should I use?

The paint you choose depends entirely on the surface you are working with. Remember to never simply paint over a mildew damaged area because the growth will eventually eat thru the paint. That is why a good prep job is important because it kills the mildew and creates a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. Another tip is to avoid using alkyd and oil based paint as this will only feed the mildew with its organic substances. If you are color theming your interior, here is a guide that will help with that.


Rust-Oleum Zinsser Perma-White is an exterior, self priming paint that is an excellent option for homeowners who do not have the time to do a full prep job in removing mildew. One coat is enough to cover discolored areas and is resistant to dirt and moisture. It not only prevents mildew but also mold. This is the best option for those who are too busy to prime and paint as this is a paint and primer in one. Check out our extensive guide to exterior painting and paint selection right here!

Galvanized metal

Fiberlock Aftershock is a fungicidal coating that kills any mildew or mold microorganisms that have survived the chemical cleaning prep work. It is 100% acrylic and was formulated to prevent future mildew from growing again. It works for not only galvanized metal but also interior surfaces such as drywall and wallboard.


Zinsser Perma White Mold & Mildew is specifically designed to withstand high moisture areas such as spas and bathrooms. It also has the ability to stick to any surface without sanding and does need a primer prior to painting. For the amount of value that it offers, Zinsser Perma White Mold & Mildew is only $17.98!


KILZ Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint is a paint designed for porous surfaces like brick, stucco, and concrete. It not only works for basements but also exterior porous surfaces that are exposed to moisture and lack of sunlight.It can be used on cinder blocks and retaining walls as well, thanks to its ability to resist water infiltration, preventing mildew from forming in the future.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, mildew is a pesky issues that can wreak havoc on the look and smell of your home, as well as its structural integrity. With proper care and maintenance, however, you can keep these unsightly invaders at bay and maintain a healthy, beautiful home. From identifying and removing mildew to using mildew-resistant paints, there are simple steps you can take to protect your home from the damaging effects of moisture and humidity. So don’t let mildew and mold get the best of you. Take action and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a clean and protected home.

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