Exposure to mold is more common than you think!
Your home may be infected with mold, but you don’t realize it. Exposure to mold is common both inside and outside the home. Some people are more sensitive than others, especially those with allergies and asthma. Because mold spores are very small and can easily be inhaled into the lungs, it is harmful to live in a home with high mold levels. Exposure to high spore levels can cause severe mold allergies.
How do I know if I have mold and what do I do?
Molds grow on organic materials such as paper, leather, dirt and soap scum. They grow best at warm, moist temperatures, between 72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit ( 22 to 27 degrees Celsius).
The simplest way to detect a mold problem is using your own senses. A musty odor is one indication. Not only is mold smelly, but can be many different colors from black and gray to orange and green. Watermarks on the ceiling and walls are also a telltale sign.
Most often bleach and water can be used to rid the house of mold. The problem is this does not guarantee that the mold will not come back. The only way to keep your house clean is to prevent mold from occurring.
Here are 7 tips for mold prevention:
Wet materials need to be dried quickly.
Mold will grow within 2 days given the right conditions. Leaving your wet towel or other item lying around inside or outside the house gives mold a chance. Ever left your laundry in the washer for too long? The nasty smell when you pull it out is mold.
Cleaning, disinfecting and drying surfaces prevents mold growth.
Surfaces like sinks or floors are also favorite places for mold; more so if they are wet most of the time. Luckily these are typically non porous surfaces (tile, stone, laminate…) which makes them ideal for disinfectants and other cleaners. Some people consider the strongest and safest method of disinfecting to be a vapor steam cleaner. Once finished cleaning, make sure no moisture remains. Mold can grow faster than you think. Making sure your surfaces are dry prevents other hazards for the residents living there too.
Reduce moisture levels in the bathroom by running an exhaust fan during and after showers.
Your foggy mirror isn’t the worst problem you’ll have if you don’t use the fan during your shower. The moisture in the air is getting into every nook and cranny, the kind of places that are very hard to clean, even if you do notice the mold growing there. Exhaust fans help minimize the moisture level in the bathroom as well as the possibility of growing mold.
Fix plumbing leaks and seepage to prevent the buildup of moisture and prevent the growth of mold.
Leaks are caused by pipes that have disintegrated already. It is important to replace old pipes as soon as they show signs of being dilapidated. The moisture from a leaky pipe will travel much further than just the visible signs. No matter how much you try to keep the house clean, there are still areas that you are neglecting or can’t get to. Those are the places mold loves to grow.
Store clothing, camping gear, and other occasional use items dry and clean to prevent the growth of mold.
Thoroughly dry your items before putting them into storage. Try to put them outside or in places where there is air circulating. The last thing you want to find out on a camping trip is that your tent was put away wet last time and is covered in mold.
Increase the flow of air within your home.
Moving furniture away from walls and opening closet doors to permit air circulation limits the growth of molds. Confined spaces and dark areas should be kept ventilated. Open windows are preferable over fans and air conditioning. There should be a stable availability of fresh air coming inside the house to prevent mold.
Deal with your basement!, and prevent condensation.
Lets face it, no one likes going down to the musty basement. You just need to man (or woman) up and deal with it. Whether that means running a dehumidifier, installing a foundation drain, or getting more air circulation, don’t let that moisture remain trapped under you home. Insulating walls and installing storm or thermal pane windows keeps walls warm and limits condensation.
Other additional mold prevention tips :
You may not realize it yet but those beautiful plants you have in your home could be harboring unwanted friends and foes. Plants are great for helping to keep the air in the home clean but can also be a source of mold. Molds like to grow in the soil of our house plants and sometimes on the leaves.
One simple treatment can help keep your houseplants mold free. Taheboo tea can help to retard mold growth in your plants soil. Just adding this tea to your house plant water in a mild solution is enough to do the trick!
Please share your tips in the comments!
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if mold is a problem its because the home was not built correctly for the climate / area. moisture has to be trapped consistantlly and unable to completely dry to create the ideal mold growing medium. building materials used can make a difference as well. examples would be mold resistant dry wall, shingles, paints, insulation (treated mold resistant blown cellulose is the best) even the lumber can be treated. in my opinion, the best way to prevent mold is with proper ventilation in the right places along with proper waterproofing to keep moisture out. mold problems usually arise when the builder cuts corners to save a buck. venting your bathroom fan into your unvented attic is a big no no but i see it all the time.
Live on east coast nj, some friends in Bemar NJ have had lots of flooding in basement. They were told by “ServiceMagic” that they need some special solution to treat mold that only they have. Could this be true?
Also what is “industrial bleach?
PS retired painter who used Jomax
and bleach & water mix to treat mold.
Great blog, lots of good information. I have to disagree with the first comment on “if mold is a problem the home was not built correctly” Homes age, buildings age, time will pass. Coastal areas are prone to a lot of moisture in the air and even if your home is built right, over time mold can become an issue depending on where you live and the climate/weather conditions of your area. Mold Prevention is needed for certain areas, mold removal can be very costly in both time and money.
“Leaks are caused by pipes that have disintegrated already. It is important to replace old pipes as soon as they show signs of being dilapidated.” – This is very true. Reach out to a local plumber to do an inspection to make sure your pipes are not leaky causing mold behind your walls.
I live in the tropics and mould in my wardrobe is a common thing.
We have limited power so cannot use a dehumidifier etc.
What else can i put in the cupboard to prevent the mould on my clothes?
I have a small window and air circulation. It is the climate that does it, no leaks etc
It’s important to replace old pipes and keep things dry when dealing with mold issues. Great tips!
Mold loves moisture in any area of the house, especially the bathroom. You can save yourself some time and money by installing an air-it-out shower hook. It’s basically a suction cup with a hooked tube on it to pull the middle of the shower curtain away from the tub siding after you’re done showering. This lets air underneath it to help dry out the area and voila!! It destroys molds breeding ground and stops it before it starts.
Hi Marion, a solution to your problem could be to buy some calcium chloride crystals. Basically it is a moisture absorbing salt. Putting some in a bowl in your closet will help keep the mould off your clothes. Remember to empty the bowl of moisture every few days, and if the crystals clump together don’t panic, they’re meant to :)
Well washroom is the favorite spot for mold as this place is always damp and wet. Here are some tips to get rid of it. Cork flooring helps to prevent the growth of molds. Use chlorine bleach solution to clean the affected areas.
we have a crawlspace under the living room. There is no simple way to vent the crawlspace to the outside. We are considering putting registers in the floor. Would that be a good idea? How about registers with fans?
We do not like to idea to put a humidifier in the crawlspace because you would need to check if this thing work properly. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Hey thanks for this post. I am allergic with hives and I think the most obvious reason according to me is mold and dust. I am sure this will be a great help. Thanks for taking time and sharing this insightful post :)
This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about preventing mold in home.You’ve taught me a lot with your tips. Thanks for the useful links.
Very good and usable post. I have been researching this and am really grateful for your information.
I’ve got really bad mold in my basement. It’s hard to get rid of it. I think I’m going to have someone come redo the whole basement. It’d be nice to get something done so I can use it.
if i install a ceiling fan & open the window even on the hot day, it will prevent the mold?
This is an fantastic article! Thank you very much for sharing this with us!
I would highly recommend using a dehumidifier, they have a multitude of benefits, and reducing moisture in the air is one of them, which will prevent condensation mould.
Recently I bought a very nice wardrope from a chinese furniture shop. I was working well with it before I shifted to the new place. The place is kind of cold and the walls of the wardrope have developed plenty of white like chalk dust. When I rub it out it goes but returns only after a few days. What could be the cause/ is the place too cold for the furniture piece or the moisture from underground is causing the moulds/ chalk dust like white substances/ will my furniture last/ should I try to change location/ won’t the substances affect my clothes? please help
My closet wall and bottom shelves even laundry i had put on the carpet floor were all wet and covered with mold .behind the closet wall is the bathtub and shower whose handles are all broken and need fixing. For this reason we closed the water from the main keyboard in the garage and left the sink and toilet water running as usual. Could this might what has causedthe wetting in the closet wall and the bathtub or i should assume it the pipe malfunction. This house was built in 2011. So what could have gone wrong. Sm confused.
In college I lived in an apartment without an exhaust fan for the bathroom. The bathroom, of course, would get very moist, but you would hardly notice it elsewhere in the apartment. We started to get mold building on the ceilings close close to the edges. Once we started opening up a window after running the shower we stopped having problems.
I have been finding clumps of a black like substance in the house. For example I put my purse on the floor and looked at it in a little while and it had a clump of black looking substance on it that came out of nowhere…. This has happened a number of times…. One time it appeared on the floor. Could this be mold? And how does it appear so quick?
Thanks for the comments everyone! We’ve recently updated Mold Blogger to be even more useful. Check out our new Local Directory page for remediators, doctors and lawyers in your area.
You definitely don’t want mold in your home, so these tips are great to know! Thanks for sharing.
Great tips! I am definitely going to start using the moisture crystals and check out the cost of a dehumidifier.
Are there any practical actions to remove stains on linen from mould/mildew
I like what you said about drying wet materials quickly. Growing up, my sister would leave her clothes in the washer for days. When I finally pulled them out so I could wash my clothes, they smelled like mildew. Now when I wash anything, I make sure to put them in the dryer the same day.
I live in an apartment in Miami where it is very humid all year long. Our apartment building is new but we are still having mildew issues in a closet. I put a DampRid in the closet a few weeks ago but still seem to be having a lot of moisture in there. In the closet we store shoes, coats, luggage, and other miscellaneous decorations, papers, etc. Do you have any suggestons as to what more we can do to keep the closet dry?
My cupboard is infested with mould and it also moves like wtf. Idk how they keep growing even when I wiped the whole cupboard using stuff like Dettol and Zippo. Please help. I live in the tropics btw.
My husband and I recently moved into an older home and we discovered some mold growing in the attic. Luckily there isn’t a whole lot and the removal process should be fairly simply. My biggest concern is finding the source and stopping it. I know that mold usually comes from moisture so we will have to make sure that there aren’t any leaks in the roof. Thank you for these tips, they will definitely help us in the future.
Keeping your nose up for that musty smell can definitely help when it comes to keeping an eye out for mold. I have had a few run-ins with it in the past and it can really be a nasty thing to deal with. If you are ever suspicious about the possibility of mold growing in your home, looking into some sort of inspection can be helpful to your wallet as well as your health. I think that these tips will come in handy when it comes to preventing mold in the home.
My closet has some smell and only one jacket had molds. I washed it, it dried well before putting it back in the closet but after a few days the molds were back. only on that one piece of cloth but the smell is too much in both sides of the closet. will the calcium chloride crystals make the smell go away too?
I keep having mold grow in my bathroom and didn’t know how to fix the problem. I’ll have to see about getting an exhaust fan installed to help reduce the moisture. In the meantime, I’ll have to see if I can get someone to inspect the mold in my house because it is refusing to come off.
Very good article, But nothing beats bleach and water mix for killing mold. As a professional house washer thats what we use daily and get great long lasting results.
Bleach will not help mold on porous surfaces. Chlorine bleach can actually make a mold problem worse. I’ve written about it here: https://moldblogger.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-use-bleach-to-clean-mold/
I currently rent a very old brick house. The brick is inside and out. The floor is all tile. Last winter, I had very little problem with mild. This year, however, I am finding mold every where. My bedroom walls, daughter’s toy chest, and my couch. I can’t afford very much and my landlord isn’t going to do much to fix this problem. I have a very loud swamp cooler so keeping a light breeze in the house is not going to work right now. I have an electric heat dish that I use. Do I need to get a dehumidifier or will the space heater to the job if I keep it on and keep the house warm?
Mold has negatively impacted my health for a long time and now I’m trying to create awareness because so many people are unaware of the potential danger it poses. Great list of mold prevention tips by the way.
I am having problems with mold on my shoes that are strored in the original boxes and purses that are in an open container. How should I store these items and also dress clothes that i hardly ever wear. I don’t want them to get dust from hanging in the closet. I keep a couple damp rids in my closet at all times and i still see signs of mold. I thew everything away that had mold on them. also I live in a new house so i don’t know what the problem is. My husband never has mold in his closet.
I never knew that exhaust fans helped prevent mold in bathrooms. My husband and I just moved into a new place and have seen some signs of mold. Perhaps we should install a fan after having the mold professionally removed.
I like your tip to store camping gear clean and dry. It’s so easy to get home after a rainy camping trip and forget to air the tent out. There’s no easier way to grow mold than keeping moisture in the dark though, so I’ll try to make sure my boys and I always take the time to do so. Thanks!
Thank you for posting. Mold and mildew (mold in its early stage) are fungi that happily and quickly grow anywhere there is moisture. They serve an important purpose in our environment by helping to destroy organic materials such as leaves, thereby enriching the soil.
I completely agree with the tips you listed here, especially about increasing the air flow in your house. But, I also want to add one more tip I found on a, believe it or not, a mommy blog :) I found an article about dehumidifying plants https://www.humidifiergeek.com/how-to-remove-humidity-from-room-without-dehumidifier/ and these plants actually work! I had problems with high humidity and mold. The process was a bit long, but after a few weeks, humidity levels went significantly down and I was able to get rid of mold at the end :)
Spraying Concrobium seems to be working to kill mold on my wool suits.
Thanks for the great guide! Many people underestimate the danger of mold and as a result, have persistent and serious health problems. At the same time, there are quite effective methods to remediate mold.
Thank you for telling me to thoroughly clean my items before storing them somewhere else to prevent mold growth. We change our furniture pieces in the living room based on the season, so we really don’t want them (especially our leather ones) to be infested with mold. It might also be a good idea to look for contractors who offer mold remediation services as early as now so we can call them once we have spotted the first signs of mold growth, especially in our basement.
I had a very bad problem with mold when i brought my home a few years ago. Every outside wall had mold. on it. In the Winter, all the windows in the house had Moisture. I realize that i had a moisture problem that was creating the mold problem. There was only one place in the house , were i was making alot of moisture. That was the bathroom. I end up removing the ceiling fan and notice that the fan was real small. Than i also notice the air duct was very small. How much moisture can be going threw a small ceiling fan with a small air duct . I end up buying a larger ceiling fan and replacing the 3 inch air duct with a 6 inch air duct. It took me half a day to do this. Now you can feel the air move in the bathroom. My home has been mold free ever since and the house smells better also. Remember, if you remove the moisture, you remove the problem. Hope this help you guys.
Jonathan, I find it helpful when you said that a musty odor and watermarks in the ceilings or work are signs that we have mold in the house. I found some watermarks in our basement’s wall, and there’s also a strange odor in it. I’ll follow your advice and use bleach and water to get rid of it, but I’ll also call a mold prevention service afterward to ensure that it would not come back. Thanks!
I liked how you mentioned that you make sure that the surface is dry to prevent mold from growing in it. My wife and I are wanting to move to a new house soon and we were wondering how we can prevent any mold from growing in the basement. I’ll be sure to have the house checked every month for leaks in the basement.