Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newport, TN
Killing the Mildew Monster - Vol. 1
With some regrets, we have decided to give our beloved 2005 Wildwood travel trailer, the moniker "F.O.R.D.", as in "Fix Or Repair Daily". But, it's a fitting name, as this tale will reveal.
Since we are mere weekend warriors in our trailer, the endless fix or repair issues seem to always pop up when least expected - issues that might not seem so overwhelming if we were daily trailer users. Issues like: the carpenter ant invasion from hell, (previously detailed in this forum), or the crack in the skylight over the shower stall that resulted in a roof leak (which took two tries to fix right), or the battery that drains itself dead for no apparent reason, when you least expect it (until I bought that $3 shutoff switch at Walmart).
So, this weekend, after a few weeks of not using our trailer due to the excessive heat and humidity in Florida, we decided to enjoy a restful respite - an untasked and unencumbered sojourn in the wilderness- just me, my wife, our dog and our trailer, and the quiet solitude of the wilderness. Or, so we thought.
But, this was not to be. Instead, this weekend, it was The Attack of the Mildew Monster!
We first became aware of The Attack of the Mildew Monster when my wife handed me a frosty cold beer tucked in an oven mitt to keep it cold. Being mold/mildew sensitive, I immediately recoiled when I noticed that the oven mitt reeked of The Mildew Monster.
"We have a mildew problem", I decried, which my wife instantly knew meant lots of trouble and that a witch hunt for the underlying cause of the mold and mildew would soon unfold.
(By the way, for those who do not know, mildew is the term used for mold found on fabric. Mold found on any other surface is just plain mold. So mildew is really a euphemism of sorts - if I said "we have black mold in our trailer", everyone would freak out, but if I said, "I smell mildew", no one but me would really be all that concerned. But, that's how it is with us folks who are mold sensitive.)
So, the search began for the source of the Mildew Monster. Usually a water leak is the prime culprit, but in our case, none could be found. Instead, what we found was that the Mildew Monster had taken up residence in our absence in the dark and hidden places where it's hard to find, and harder to reach, like inside the bottom bath cabinet under the sink, where it was growing on the unfinished wood braces, and in the bottom cabinets in the kitchen, where it was found (oddly) growing on the black plastic drain pipe, and underneath the living room couch, where it was found on the metal framework. Thankfully, it was not growing in the bedding, the carpeting or in the upholstery that I could detect (and I am better than most electronic detectors at sniffing out mold).
After much ado, we determined that there were no water leaks to be found, and that the likely cause was just the constant rains and high humidity of late August and September in Central Florida. After all, it's been flooding in Georgia, and the weather here has been almost as rainy and muggy. Still, it seemed odd that this problem occurred now, after having parked this trailer in the same spot for 2 years.
So, the battle began to root out this evil from our priceless home-away-from-home. My brave wife took on the arduous task of emptying every single thing from the cabinets and cleaning out the existing mildew with Scrubbing Bubbles (which contains two forms of ammonium chloride that are well known to kill and control mold, by the way).
Meanwhile, the hunter-gatherer (me) left on a 60 mile odyssey to secure more cleaning supplies and an electric dehumidifier.
Sparing you the agony of the details, it was an all-day battle that involved purchasing lots of paper towels, cans of Scrubbing Bubbles, 3 large containers of Damp-Rid, and a Frigidaire 25 pint 120v dehumidifier, which I finally located at Lowes. After parting with 250 US dollar$, the battle was nearly won. The mold was gone, hopefully never to return...
Or, will it? ...Will our two years of blissful mildew-free existence be forever threatened by the Mildew Monster, kept at bay only by the constant vigil of Damp-Rid and a Frigidaire Dehumidifier? Stay tuned to find out...