From strong winds and rain to dirt and debris, exterior doors serve as the front line of defense against Mother Nature’s attacks. Over time, mold and mildew will join the list of perpetrators wreaking havoc on your doors — and especially if your door doesn’t get much sunshine. These green-gray-black menaces are caused by excessive moisture, such as rain or humidity. Although mold and mildew can cause issues in any geographic location, those in hot, humid climates are especially susceptible.
Beyond being ugly to look at, mold and mildew can lessen the air quality in your home (the spores can actually enter your home every time the door opens. Yikes!). Plus, it may indicate conditions for premature rotting — and that’s worth avoiding for as long as possible! How do you stop mold from harming your doors? And how can you get rid of it once it’s arrived? Ahead, we’re covering our top tips for proper door maintenance in humid climates.
How to prevent mold and mildew growth on your exterior door:
Dealing with mold on the inside of your home is different than dealing with it on exterior doors. Inside, keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or below, using a dehumidifier, and ensuring good ventilation can all help keep mold at bay. Unfortunately, you can’t “turn off” high temperatures or damp air outside.
The best thing you can do to prevent mold growth on your exterior door is to keep it from getting too bad by regularly cleaning and treating it. Additionally, if you don’t already have mold growth, consider a coat of a mildew-resistant stainblocker and primer (like KILZ®).
How to clean mold and mildew off of your exterior door:
Getting mold and mildew off your door will take a little bit of elbow grease, but it is possible.
Step 1: Gather protective gear, including rubber gloves and a protective face mask. Mold spores can float in the air and do damage to your lungs, so it’s best to avoid inhaling them.
Step 2: Pour 1/4 cup bleach and 1 tablespoon of regular dishwashing soap into a spray bottle, then top off the rest of the bottle with water. In a second spray bottle, put 1/4 cup of vinegar and fill the rest with water.
Step 3: Get your garden hose and turn it to the “mist” setting. (Using the strongest, full blast setting can send mold spores into the air, which you want to avoid.) Give your door a good dousing with water from the hose, then mop with a long-handled brush.
Step 4: Next, spray the door with the bleach solution until it is completely covered — don't forget the corners and underneath! Rinse this solution off (you can use the strongest “jet” setting on your nozzle at this point). Make sure the soap is completely off the door.
Step 5: Follow up with the vinegar solution. Cover the door entirely, then rinse again with water. This will kill any mold and soap that remains on the door.
Step 6: Dry the door thoroughly with a towel. Set a big box fan in front of the door and let it run for at least fifteen minutes, until the door is totally dry.
Remember, moisture is mold’s best friend — without it, mold cannot grow. With that in mind, there is only so much you can do to prevent it if you live in a humid climate. If your door gets a full blast of mold-killing sunshine every day, lucky you! Otherwise, clean your door at least once per year or as needed.
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