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Mildew has an unpleasant odor and appearance. It's a common household mold
that thrives in dark, damp, poorly ventilated places. Chlorine bleach, diluted
according to label directions, is a good mildew remover for use on colorfast,
waterproof hard surfaces.
You can also control mildew by lowering the humidity in closed-in space such as
closets. In very humid weather, use a continuously burning 60-watt bulb in a
large closet to raise the temperature and lower the relative humidity. A smaller
bulb can be used in a smaller enclosure. Be careful and make sure that the
bulb is well away from any stored articles.
A dehumidifier also works well to remove excess moisture from the air and often
is used in basements to prevent dampness and mildew.