There are many misconceptions about mold, the biggest two are what it is and who to prevent it. The key to preventing mold growth in your home is to control moisture. While you may think mold is the problem, it’s actually a symptom of excess moisture. Mold appears if items remain wet for an extended period. Even with regular cleaning, the mold will reappear as long as the moisture persists. In order to prevent mold in your home, you need to find and fix the water source.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
The uncomfortable truth is, mold is a naturally occurring fungus that exists all around us. Its primary purpose is to aid in the decomposition of organic matter. It requires a source of moisture and any type of organic material to thrive. It usually grows in thread-like structures and may appear fuzzy. Although mold may appear blue, green, grey, or even black, it is difficult to identify the variety of mold by color alone.
While it normally doesn’t pose a risk in homes, mold will grow in your home if there is a persistence source of moisture. Mold growth is common after floods, water damage, and plumbing leaks. It is especially common in basements, under-sink cabinets, and in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. The key to preventing mold growth is to limit moisture, humidity, and condensation.
Most building materials contain organic matter conducive to mold growth. Wood, drywall, carpeting, paper, cardboard, paneling, ceiling tiles, insulation, fabric, upholstery, dust, lint, and even paint all provide the right nutrients to encourage mold growth in the presence of moisture. Once these items get wet, mold can grow within as little as 24 to 48 hours. With time, mold can cause building materials to decay and cause structural damage.
Preventing Mold Growth in Your Home
The first step to preventing mold growth is identifying sources of moisture. Look out for damp spots, condensation, or standing water and fix the source of moisture immediately. When possible, install and use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to limit condensation. Always vent clothes dryers, furnaces, and other appliances that generate moisture outside.
Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in areas prone to excess moisture or when it is especially humid outside. Avoid using humidifiers and appliances that generate moisture if you see condensation forming on windows, walls, or the ceiling. Another way to improve ventilation is to put fans in your windows. This will push humid air outside and help limit moisture inside your home.
If you live in a humid climate, consider monitoring humidity levels year-round to prevent mold growth. The EPA recommends a consistent humidity level between 30% and 60%. Over 60% humidity will allow mold to grow with even just trace amounts of water or moisture.
If you have a flood or another type of water damage, extract the water and dry the area within 48 hours. If the damage involves sewage, mold may appear in as little as 24 hours. The longer you delay, the greater the chance mold will grow.
Use a pump to remove standing water or sewage, then use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry out the area. Disinfect surfaces with a solution of 3/4 of a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. For the best results, play the bleach solution with a spray bottle. Contact a water damage restoration company if there is significant water damage.
Areas Where You Need to Prevent Mold
From regular cleaning and inspection to improved ventilation, take steps to prevent mold growth in these locations.
Check under the sink and around the dishwasher for water leaks and excess moisture. Ensure the caulk work around the faucet and sink are in good condition. Make sure the room is properly ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary to prevent mold.
Look under the sink and around the toilet, bathtub, and shower for areas that collect moisture or condensation. Replace damaged or worn out caulk and grout work in the tub or shower. Make sure the room is properly ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary.
Moisture and mold are typically easy to spot in unfinished basements. Check along the foundation, around windows and openings to the outside. Also, look at your heating and cooling systems and water heater, and around plumbing fixtures. It can be more difficult to find in finished basements but look for water stains, damp spots, or deteriorating drywall, carpeting or flooring, ceiling materials, and furniture.
Check the water supply and drainage lines for cracks and damage at least once a year. Replace worn out hoses immediately to prevent leaks. If your washing machine drains to a washbasin or utility sink, make sure the drain works properly. Make sure the exhaust ductwork on your dryer allows for good airflow and is not clogged by lint or other debris.
If you can see the underside of your roof, inspect it for water stains and ensure all wood is in good condition. Check the chimney for damaged or deteriorating masonry. If you cannot see the underside of the roof, check the exterior for damage and deterioration that will allow water into your home. Ensure your attic is properly vented and improve ventilation if necessary.
What To Do If You See Mold
Unfortunately, even with these steps for preventing mold, you may still develop a problem. If you see mold, there are several steps you can take to deal with it on your own. Remember that moisture is the problem, so use fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area out.
Clean hard surfaces with a mixture of bleach and water. Throw away porous materials, as they will continue to harbor mold spores. Although do-it-yourself cleaning can be effective at treating the surface, you may not be able to permanently remove mold on your own.
Even after a thorough surface cleaning, it may still be lurking behind wallpaper, drywall or paneling, underneath flooring or in carpet padding, or in the walls and ceiling. If you still have mold after cleaning with a bleach solution, contact a mold removal technician for an estimate on repairs.
Get Mold Repairs From a Mold Contractor in Your Area
If you can’t get rid of the mold on your own or it keeps reappearing, we have listings for mold removal companies in your area. From independent companies to the most popular brands like Restoration 1, choose a local mold removal company now. For immediate mold removal service, call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with our on-call restoration contractor near you. Our on-call mold repair companies offer a free estimate for mold remediation and removal services.