How Does Mold Get Into Our Homes
The more people who live in a home, the more likely it is that molds will grow inside it. This is because we release a lot of moisture in the air when we breathe. When we take long hot showers, cook with uncovered pots, dry clothes on an indoor clothesline, or use humidifiers, we also make more moisture for molds to grow. Storing wet firewood, watering many plants, and storing many vegetables like potatoes and squash can make a mold problem more likely, too.
Check Possible Sources Of Moisture
Moisture may be penetrating your walls from just about anywhere. Get to the root cause of it to keep your home free from mold and mildew.
The ground should always slope away from the building foundation. If the ground slopes towards the building foundation, you wont be able to do much to control moisture seepage. Also make sure that the drainage lines and gutters are functioning as intended.
Inspect areas in and around your home for standing water. Puddles or damp areas around sump pumps, refrigerators, freezers, hot water tanks, windows, curtains and basement doors should be dealt with.
Ground water may be seeping into the crawl spaces thereby adding moisture into your home environment. You can resolve this problem by covering crawl spaces with a plastic vapor barrier. Ask for landscapers plastic or 6 mil polyethylene if you need to buy one to trap moisture in the ground.
Take Care Of Your Furniture
Each piece of furniture you have in the room should be specially treated during spring cleaning even if it involves simple vacuuming or deep cleaning.
When you are moving everything to take care of your carpets and floors, keep your furniture out for a little bit longer. Check behind your furniture for mold, and if it is mold-free, clean it with a damp cloth, warm water and mild detergent. You can find special products that you can use for different types of furniture . Before you put your furniture back, just make sure it is completely dry.
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Dry Wet Areas Immediately
Treehugger / Christian Yonkers
Mold can’t grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don’t leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.
Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home
Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.
People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
- eye, nose and throat irritation
- coughing and phlegm build-up
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- worsening of asthma symptoms
The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.
Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.
Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.
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Tile And Grout Sealing:
Cleaning the tiles and sealing up the grout for good is another effective solution to prevent any fungal infestation. Unfinished kitchen ties and broken bathroom floors often becomes a breeding ground for the fungi colonies and can lead to massive mold and mildew growths. Oftentimes you must have noticed brown or yellow stains on the floor this is due to the fungal growth, clean the tiles regularly and seal them properly for extra protection. You can get some professional help or use natural home remedies such as beeswax or herbal oils to seal the tiles and grout for good.
Vacuum The Carpets And Wipe The Floors
Although carpets and rugs look beautiful, unfortunately, we often overlook the potential danger of mold growth on them. Since we can blame it on dirt and moisture, in order to prevent mold, all you have to do is clean the carpets and floors thoroughly at least once during spring cleaning.
The old rules mandate that you roll up the rugs, then vacuum and clean the floors in every single room. Move your furniture so that you can reach every corner of your room to ensure there are no dirty or moldy places.
If you can, leave the carpets out of your home and invest in renewing your floors and making them look shiny again. If you have vinyl or linoleum floors, you can clean them with a floor polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be easily treated with a special paste or liquid wax.
In case you have to keep your carpets, inspect them thoroughly and deep clean them before you bring them back in to ensure there is no mold on them. In addition, you need to dry them well because dirt is not the only food source for mold.
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How To Clean Mildew
To clean moldy carpets, start by thoroughly vacuuming the affected carpet to remove as much of the mildew as you can. After you are done, either throw away the bag or clean the canister outside. Then proceed to clean the carpet as follows.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Mold Problem
The initial signs and symptoms of having a mold infestation will come through your senses. First, youll likely see something unusual like stains or discoloration. Next, youre apt to notice a musty smell thats a sure giveaway of mold lurking nearby.
Here are some subtle but sure signs that youre going to have to deal with mold.
Identifying a mold problem is one thing. Remediating it is entirely another. The important thing when dealing with mold is to act on it early. Start remediation and cleanup work immediately.
Once mold takes a firm hold, it might not be possible to eradicate the mess without significant demolition and replacement of expensive materials. It might also require calling in a professional company that specializes in mold remediation.
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Granules Can Help Reduce Humidity In Your Home
If ventilation isnt enough, you can try using different kinds of dehumidifying granules.
- Conventional granules are made of calcium chloride, a type of salt that is also often used to de-ice roads and sidewalks in the winter. You can buy them in home goods stores, or online on .
- Chloride-based granules are usually said to be environmentally neutral, but that has been debated by some. Whether or not they are eco-friendly, they are definitely not child or animal friendly. If you feel uneasy, you can buy dehumidifying bags filled with activated bamboo charcoal instead, like these on.
- Wondering how to lower the humidity in your house without buying special products? Some common household items that have a similar effect are rice, kitty litter, and table salt.
- Be sure to switch out your dehumidifying granules regularly.
Five Ways To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
Mold is an inconvenient and often dangerous issue many homeowners face, but did you know there are ways you can fend off the problem? Here are some ways to prevent mold growth in your home.
1. Keep your home dry.Moisture can make its way into your home very easily, and finding a way to get rid of this moisture is an important step in preventing mold growth in your home. Make sure youre checking areas that may frequently collect water or condensation. Refrigerators, water tanks, windows, crawl spaces, and even your household plants are all popular places for water to collect and mold to grow. Its important to quickly dry any moisture you find in these areas and perform proper maintenance to ensure no further moisture is able to settle.
2. Watch your homes humidity level.Humidity is a breeding ground for mold. Because humidity often causes condensation, moisture is able to manifest in your home, and the dampness takes much longer to dry due to the wet air. Exposing your indoor air to rainy and excessively humid weather can cause a spike in mold growth, along with HVAC systems that artificially heat and cool your home. Watch for things like condensation and puddles in areas like windows, walls, and doors caused by humid air settling into your home. You can also go the extra step and invest in a humidity monitor to ensure humidity levels are low enough to prevent mold growth in your home.
Mold in Apartment
Humidity at a windowin wintertime
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Proper Home Ventilation To Prevent Mold Growth
There are a lot of misconceptions about mold and how it grows. Unfortunately, those myths can lead to additional problems in the home when you dont take action. One of the greatest myths is that mold only grows on organic surfaces like fabric, paper and wood.
Mold will grow on any surface even flat, smooth surfaces like glass. Even steel is susceptible to mold. That means that no area of your home is really safe. As long as there are spores present, which are always in the air, and theres particulate matter and moisture, then mold can grow.
If mold spores are always present, then how do you control it? Through proper ventilation.
How Air Movement and Moisture Impacts Mold Growth
For Michigan homeowners, all the necessary things mold needs to grow are present in your house. That includes mold spores, moisture, food sources and a surface to grow on. The only way to control the growth of mold is to maintain the level of moisture in your home and properly ventilate it so that the air is constantly moving
Controlling moisture is typically done with dehumidifiers and eliminating any leaks and standing water around the home. Good ventilation is a little trickier.
Your home may seem to be properly ventilated with windows and vents in the right places, but the air might not be moving as well as you think.
Proper Bathroom Ventilation
The challenge is making sure the fan is venting properly.
Proper Kitchen Ventilation
Proper Attic Ventilation
How To Prevent Mold And Mildew Throughout The House
Help keep your home free of mold and mildew with a few preventive measures.
- Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to help reduce the moisture in your home. Be especially vigilant during hot, humid months.
- Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible.
- Do what you can to prevent rainwater from seeping into your home. Check potential problem areas regularly.
- Clean the fabrics in your home routinely and keep them dry.
- Store items in dry, well-ventilated areas.
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Proper Ventilation And Sunlight:
Open all the doors and windows to allow proper air circulation and sunlight to stream in. Sunlight is perhaps one of the best home remedy for getting rid of molds and mildews, it not only destroys molds but even prevents further fungal growth. Also fix the ventilation of the house, build ventilators in every room and get exhaust fans installed to protect your house from molds. Also install air filter and mold and mildew spore catching filters in your air conditioner to clean the air of any fungi or bacteria.
How To Get Rid Of Mold In Walls
If the wall is made from a non-porous surface, such as finished wood or stone, it must be thoroughly dried. A dehumidifier, proper ventilation or a wet vacuum can be used. Then, a damp wipe down of the area should remove most of the mold. Cleaning products designed for mold removal are helpful, however it is not necessary to bleach moldy areas or use other biocides. If the wall is made from a porous material such as gypsum drywall, wallpaper or unfinished wood, it is not possible to remove all of the mold from the tiny nooks and holes in the wall. The affected section of the wall must be cut out and replaced. This can be very expensive. However, the mold will almost certainly come back otherwise.
Finish the mold removal by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. A non-HEPA vacuum may not contain the mold spores and can actually spread them into the air. Vacuum the entire area and surrounding areas, even if no mold is visible.
Do not just paint or caulk over mold without removing it. According to the EPA, this will cause the paint to flake and peel, and when the paint comes off, you will still have mold on the wall.
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How To Prevent Mold In The House
As previously mentioned, you cannot escape mold as it is a necessary part of the ecosystem. As a matter of fact, fungi make up 25% of the Earths biomass.
Although outdoor mold is not so harmful and it will not impact the quality of your life, indoor mold raises your risk of health problems. It is very important to understand that mold is allergenic, no matter which type it is. Luckily for us, not all types of mold are toxic. In order to keep mold from growing indoors, it is good to go back to how mold grows in the first place.
To start its life cycle, mold requires the following three things:
The only effective strategy to prevent mold is to prevent moisture. Other measures you can take to ensure mold doesnt invade your home include regular air quality tests and professional monitoring of indoor environment.
Control Your Basements Humidity Level
Basements and crawl spaces are hot spots for mold. If your basement smells musty or people complain of allergy-symptoms when they visit, you may have a mold problem. Moisture often gets trapped in basements, and its an ideal place for mold to grow without being noticed. Checking your basement floor, walls, and plumbing regularly will help keep mold from spreading if there is an issue.
The best way to avoid excess moisture in your basement or crawl space is with a dehumidifier. We recommend you keep your indoor air at around a 50% moisture level. Adding a dehumidifier and programming it to the appropriate humidity setting will go a long way in avoiding mold growth.
Its also a good idea to check items you store in the basement. The confined, dark rooms in the back of your basement could be harboring moisture and mold. Make sure items are clean and dry before you store themthink tents, sleeping bags, extra clothes, and other items you throw in the back room and forget about.
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How To Get Rid Of Mold In Your House: From Ceiling To Floors To Basement
Mold is the last thing any homeowner wants to find. It damages your home and may impact your health. It can be difficult to get rid of. Preventing mold from forming in the first place is always the best option. But if you do have a mold problem in your house, it is possible to clean it up safely and make sure it does not come back. It is important to follow the correct steps and use the right tools for the job to get rid of mold in your house.
Why is it important to get rid of mold? In addition to the musty smell and damage it causes to surfaces it grows on, mold may aggravate or exacerbate your familys health problems. A review of multiple studies on indoor mold exposure found that, excessive moisture promotes mold growth and is associated with an increased prevalence of symptoms due to irritation, allergy, and infection. . Its best to avoid all of these and eliminate the mold problem from your home completely.
Ideal Conditions For Mold & Mildew
High heat , humidity , and a food source create the ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Thats why June-August promote mold growth more than any other months. Warm temperatures and high humidity set the stage for mold and mildew.
There are a variety of molds found in the home including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium and many more. The toxic black mold associated with sick house syndrome is probably Stachybortrys chartarum. for a list of common household mold types. Regardless of the mold type you have, it is important to remove it from any living spaces, including offices, and garages.
The good news is that there are a variety of ways to fight mold or to keep it from developing in your home entirely. Weve compiled a list of easy, proactive methods for keeping your home dry and your air free of mold and other airborne toxins.
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