Humidity climbs so high in certain areas that mildew can be a problem. During the muggy months, it can develop in damp cellars and basements, poorly aired closets, dark crawl spaces and non-ventilated bathrooms.

The result? A musty odor, discolored walls or rotted materials. Cotton, linen, rayon, silk, wool, leather, wood and paper are the most susceptible materials.

To control the cause of dampness, replace tracked or defective mortar around a house. Check that drainage is adequate. Considering waterproofing concrete and other masonry walls above ground. Seal absorbent brick and other surfaces. Prevent moisture from entering crawl spaces by spreading a layer of moisture-barrier material over the soil under the building.

If natural breezes are not sufficient, create good ventilation. Use an electric fan to circulate air. Air-conditioners take up warm air, cool it and circulate the cool air back into a room. A dehumidifier controls humidity.

Keep closets, dresser drawers, basement, bathrooms and susceptible areas as clean as possible.

Water-repellent sprays, mildew inhibitors, fungicides and chemicals to absorb moisture help keep fabrics and surfaces free of moisture and mold.

If mildew has appeared on clothing or household fabrics, remove spots as soon as discovered before mold can weaken materials.

Begin by brushing off mold outdoors so mildew spores do not scatter in the house. On washable fabrics, pre-treat by rubbing detergent into the dampened stain. Then launder the items in hot water and chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric, and detergent or soap.