You’ve waited 18 years to become a college student; the parties, the people, the diminishing parental control. What you most certainly did not bank on was sharing a dorm with mold.
Yet this is an ever-growing problem for the students of America. In recent years, Maryland’s College of St. Mary and the University of Louisville had to relocate hundreds of students after mold was found whilst some students at the University of South Carolina developed respiratory problems, and the University of Delaware had to close its fitness center and one residence hall because of black mold. More serious stories around mold-related deaths at university have since been reported on, too, making the issue as important as ever.
There are two main reasons behind the prevalence of mold in college dorms:
- Inadequate cleaning. Not to cast judgment or anything (hey – we’ve all been there), but students hardly have the best reputation for tidying up after themselves, do they?
- Older buildings. It’s not all the students’ fault, however. Like older homes, dorms that have been around for some time may be more prone to mold-developing problems, such as leaky roofs and unsealed windows. Similarly, shared bathrooms in such dorms may not have adequate ventilation – despite this being even more crucial due to increased humidity.
On Finding Mold
- Call in the experts. Tell environmental services at your college immediately. They should either have it removed straight away or move you to another dorm. Founder of the Center for School Mold Help, Susan Brinchman, reportedly told Health magazine that students should treat the building as if it’s on fire and get out straight away.
- Visit the doctor if you start experiencing any mold-related health problems.
- Invest in air conditioners and dehumidifiers, ensuring they’re in good working condition at all times.
- A routine mold inspection is vital and will save you money in the long-run.
- Address any water-related problems as soon as possible.
- Educate your students about mold and how best to prevent it.
- Clean up. This includes wiping any spills immediately, not leaving wet towels on the floor, frequent vacuuming and giving the bathroom and refrigerator a regular once-over with a proper antimicrobial cleanser. Read how to clean your bathroom here.
- Utilize whatever you have at your disposal, be it exhaust vans, dehumidifiers or just a case of good ‘ol open windows – especially while showering and cooking. Read about the importance of a clean exhaust fan here.
- Ask for help. Notify environmental services to anything that could cause mold, such as leaks.