RV mold: Seek and destroy!

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By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
What is the best way to find out if there is mold in our rig? What are the steps that need to be taken if mold is found? —Mike

Dear Mike,
Mold is sight and mold is smell! Maybe I’ve been around these things too long, but I can usually ID a mildewed and moldy coach from a few feet away.

Aside from smelling the offending fungus, it is often visible, but not always, especially if it has seeped into the carpet and the subfloor is wet and rotting.

A mold test kit is another way to tell if there is something growing in the coach. There are a number of brands available on Amazon.

If mold is found, there are steps which can be taken to remediate the infestation. First and foremost is to find the source of moisture and stop it. In humid tropical climates, mildew and mold are commonplace, and you don’t even have to have a leak to get it. Most of us, however, usually find the fungus growing where there has been some sort of leak. Once the leak is stopped, the area has to be dried and cleaned. If the leak involves the inside of a wall or concealed space, it has to be opened up to air dry or the mold and rot will continue.

Amazon has a number of products and resources for mold remediation, and you can look them over here. Note that a hypochlorite solution (e.g., Clorox bleach) works very well, but can damage certain surfaces and materials, so be careful if you plan to use it.

##FT1-18 ##RVDT1291

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Steven Brewer
7 months ago

We are 3 year full-time and my wife became ill. We did a mold test and it was off the charts! After much research, I found that vinegar is the most effective mold killer available. Black mold is actually Clorox resistant. I have completely gutted my RV and washed the whole inside with spray bottles of vinegar. I have also prepped the inside with 2 coats of fungicide paint and am now ready for primer. A new ceiling to cover the “mouse fur” and new flooring without carpeting (just area rugs) should complete this project.
Now that my wife is on the mend, we should be rolling soon.
Any RV can develop mold problems because windows and walls sweat when temperatures outside are less than the interior temperature of the RV. My goal going forward- Stay Where It’s Warm! Happy Trails!

Cletus
3 years ago

Mildew Kill Solution
1 quart hot water
1 tablespoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda, 13.5 Pound
2 tablespoons washing soda (sodium carbonate) Church & Dwight Co 03020 Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz.
2 tablespoons trisodium phosphate (TSP) Savogran 10621 Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) 1LB (16oz)
Pour solution into a spray bottle. Spray on and wipe off with a clean cloth or towel. I have used this on wood cabinets, plastic, glass, fiberglass, Formica, carpeting and painted surfaces. The only noticeable effect is a duller finish on the wood or shiny surfaces due to it drying dull. Since it didn’t matter to me I didn’t re-wax the wood but feel I could to bring back a shine.
Most every surface inside our stored trailer was spotted with mildew after a slide gasket leaked. It took a couple of weeks to spray down everything and every nook and cranny but this solution worked, was cheap and easy to make.

We are still mold and mildew free after 3 months and we are staying on the coast in a very humid location.

Recipe from practical-sailor site as reported in one of the Amazon mildew product reviews.