Whether you are a professional painting contractor or a homeowner, one of the most common paint problems you may encounter is mildew. Often mistaken for dirt buildup, mildew appears as a black, gray, or brown discoloration on a painted surface. Many mildew resistant paints are now on the market, but how do you clean mildew that is already there?

Mildew thrives in damp environments with little exposure to sunlight. Though it is most commonly associated with high-humidity spaces like bathrooms, mildew can affect most painted areas, including home exteriors. Once developed, it is generally easy to get rid of mildew and prevent it from coming back—as long as the correct process is followed.


Mildew versus Mold

Before steps are taken to remove mildew, you should determine if the surface spots you are seeing are actually mildew.

You may have heard the words “mildew” and “mold” used as if they are identical, but mildew is actually a type of mold, and is typically less harmful than the black growth it gets confused with.

To check whether mildew is present, apply a few drops of household chlorine bleach to an affected area. Mildew will lighten or disappear within a few minutes, while dirt will remain. If this happens, the good news is that the paint has not deteriorated and the mildew can be removed.


Possible Causes of Mildew

  • Using lower quality paints, which may not be formulated for mildew resistance.
  • Painting in damp, dark areas that have little access to sunlight or dry air.
  • Not priming a surface prior to painting.
  • Painting over a substrate or coating from which mildew has not been removed.


How to Remove Mildew

  • Never paint over mildew—it will grow through new paint, which will make subsequent cleaning and maintenance even more difficult.
  • Wash the affected surface with a mixture of household bleach and water—three parts water to one part bleach—or with a household cleanser designed to kill mildew.
  • Scrub the affected surface with a soft brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water.


How to Prevent Mildew

  • Use a high quality, mildew resistant paint, such as Aura® Bath & Spa, our choice for a mildew resistant paint for bathrooms.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces prior to painting whether mildew is visible or not. For interiors, wash walls thoroughly using the 3:1 household bleach solution. Home exteriors can be power washed using the same solution. Thoroughly rinse surfaces after and allow to dry.
  • For interiors, install ceiling fans, exhaust fans, or dehumidifiers in rooms that are susceptible to mildew growth, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. For exteriors, allow for as much sunlight towards the painted areas as possible, and redirect moisture sources, such as dripping air conditioners, misdirected sprinklers and leaky gutters.




Bring a touch of shimmer to your home without having to mix glitter with wall paint. Add character and fun to any room with Benjamin Moore’s Studio Finishes® Glitter Effect (311), a clear, low lustre finish that creates the look of glitter wall paint or sparkle wallpaper with the ease of applying a topcoat. Ideal for a child’s bedroom, an accent wall, or even a piece of furniture, it is the perfect finish for an iridescent pop over any paint color in your home.


Bring Sparkle to Any Paint Color

A clear finish with a low lustre sheen, Glitter Effect can be applied over nearly any wall color or interior surface, turning ordinary paint into sparkle paint. While the glitter may be easier to see over lighter colors, the tiny specks of reflective material in its finish catch the light, adding a whimsical twinkle to most rooms or painted furnishings. From pink glitter walls to gold glitter walls and even black glitter walls, shimmer in any paint color is within reach.


Painting Your Glitter Wall

When applying glitter to walls, select rooms where sconces or table lamps will draw out its shine. Glitter looks particularly lovely by incandescent light and candlelight, which emphasize its twinkling, reflective qualities. One to two coats of Glitter Effect can be applied depending on your preference.

The key to successfully painting glitter walls is to work on a properly prepared surface. Before you begin your project, clean your walls thoroughly and repair any protruding nails or other imperfections.

If you are starting from scratch and are going to be painting your walls with a base color as part of your glitter project, make sure to sand down any rough spots and prime surfaces with a top-quality primer before painting.

Newly Painted Surfaces

If you are adding glitter to a not-yet-painted wall, follow these steps:

  • Apply your selected paint color onto properly prepared walls and let dry completely. (We recommend waiting at least 48 hours.)
  • Apply one to two coats of Glitter Effect as a topcoat.
  • Let dry thoroughly.

Previously Painted Surfaces

If you are adding glitter to an already-painted wall, follow these steps:

  • Apply one to two coats of Glitter Effect as a topcoat.
  • Let dry thoroughly.


Beyond the Walls

Use Glitter Effect as a veil of iridescence on furniture or craft projects. Try it over a painted toy box to protect the finish and add a touch of magic. Consider a topcoat on chairs and chests: because it dries to a clear, durable, washable finish, its shimmer is ideal for any kind of furniture.

From bringing a surprising sparkle where guests will least expect it, to lending an elegant, ethereal quality to more formal setting, Glitter Effect has something for every homeowner eager to tap into their creative side.