Mildew can be a real concern with stored items, especially if you live somewhere that is often damp or prone to high humidity. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to avoid mildew, as the following tips will illustrate.
1. Clean and Dry Everything
You should always clean your belongings, particularly fabrics, before placing them in storage. Cleaning protects against stains and prevents the attraction of pests. Just make sure that everything is completely dried after cleaning and before storage. Any moisture still in the fibers, such as in upholstery, is likely to mildew once it is placed in a storage unit. Further, the moisture trapped in one item can lead to mildew on neighboring items.
2. Consider Climate-Controlled Units
A major benefit of a climate-controlled unit is that it is less prone to humidity. You can even rent units that are equipped with dehumidifiers or are heated to further ensure that everything stays dry. If your area is especially damp, a climate-controlled unit is an excellent investment so you won't have to worry about mildew.
3. Never Store Liquids
A storage unit is not the place to store liquids, such as extra flats of bottled water. If a liquid container springs a leak, you just released a lot of moisture into the unit. This moisture can get onto neighboring items or simply permeate the unit via evaporation on a hot day, which can lead to mildew issues. If you absolutely must store liquids, opt for leak-proof glass or heavy-duty plastic containers that aren't likely to spring a leak.
4. Opt for Moisture-Proof Containers
Cardboard boxes are cheap, but they are also prone to absorbing moisture from the air — an obvious recipe for mildew and mold. Instead of cardboard boxes, use plastic storage tubs with tight-fitting lids for items that are more prone to mildew growth. If you are concerned about trapping moisture inside the container, you can place a few desiccant packets in each tub to absorb any excess moisture.
5. Monitor Regularly for Leaks
Your storage facility management likely maintains and inspects the buildings and roofs regularly, but they don't enter individual units. It is up to you to perform periodic inspections to make sure there are no leaks in your unit. Visit the unit on a rainy day so you can see if there are any leaks. If you find one, report it for maintenance immediately, then dry out your belongings thoroughly before returning them to storage.
For more information, contact a storage facility in your area.