Q: We're in the process of re-covering old lap siding on an old farmhouse. What do you recommend for disinfecting the old wood and removing odors, mildew, and mold before we re-cover the house? – T., Elk River, Minnesota

A: Tom Silva replies: There are mildew-removal products out there that you can buy. Or — and it may sound old-fashioned — you can just mix bleach and water. I'd recommend using about one part bleach to four or five parts water. Make sure you dress correctly to protect yourself. Put the solution on the house and it will kill both the mildew and the odor. Then hose it off with a good strong hose.

To protect any plants and shrubs around the house, it's a good idea to hose them all down first. That way, if you spill whatever solution you're using on the plants it will be easier to hose it off; if the plants are already wet the solution won't stick to them as readily.
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