How To Prevent Mold From Growing In Your Home
This article was co-authored by Ashley Matuska. Ashley Matuska is the owner and founder of Dashing Maids, a sustainably focused cleaning agency in Denver, Colorado. She has worked in the cleaning industry for over 5 years.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 95% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 164,608 times.
Molds are a type of fungus that naturally grow in many places, but inside your house they can pose a health risk and negatively impact air quality. Therefore, preventing mold in your house is important for the health and safety of your family and visitors who spend time in your home. The good news is that preventing mold is quite simple, and the key is controlling moisture and humidity in your house.
How To Remove Mold From Shower Curtains And Liners
- If your shower curtain or liner is plastic, a mold and mildew spray thats safe for plastic, like Clorox Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover, can be used to get rid of mold. Simply spray on, wait until the stains disappear and rinse off.
- Another option: Wash your plastic liner in the washing machine on the delicate cycle with warm water, laundry detergent and bleach. If the shower curtain is fabric, its best to wash it on the warmest setting possible according to the care instructions.
How To Treat Mold With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antifungal, antiviral, and anti-bacterial solution found in most medicine cabinets, and its an effective mold treatment. You can use it safely on a range of surfaces such as kitchen appliances and counters, bathroom fixtures and tubs, hard flooring, and even certain wall surfaces.
Pour a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Test an inconspicuous area of surfaces first to prevent discoloration or damage. Saturate the moldy surface and leave it for 10 minutes. Next, scrub the area with just enough force to remove black mold and mold stains. Once the surface is free of residual mold and stains, wipe dry.
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Types Of Mold In The Basement
This fungus usually grows in the moist areas in your basement. The typical victims are wooden walls and floors, but other parts can also get contaminated. Thats why its also essential to learn how to clean water damaged wood bases.
You need to familiarize yourself with mold types so you know which ones are dangerous. Here is a list of them:
How To Remove Mold From Air Conditioner
We dont recommend that homeowners attempt to clean a central air unit or ventilation . If, on an inspection of a small self-contained unit, you have decided to tackle it yourself, heres what youll need to do:
If youre intimidated by the above work, remember: hiring a mold removal expert is always a safe and sure-fire way of getting mold eradicated.
Read Also: How To Tell If You Have Toxic Mold
I Live In A Condo With Concrete Ceilings And A Flat Roof I Get Mold Along The Exterior Edge Of My Ceiling Whats The Best Way To Prevent This
The simplest option is to increase the temperature and outside ventilation of this condo. Typically this is accomplished by running the bathroom exhaust fan 24/7. Our humidity page has an in-depth explanation of the approach. If you dont have a working bathroom fan, youll have to find another way to introduce fresh air into the condo. Keeping a window cracked is an option, but can be uncomfortable during very cold weather.
Tackling The Underlying Cause Of Mold
Molds are all around us we breathe in their spores every day. Its impossible to prevent mold from entering any property, but steps can be taken to stop mold from finding a new home in your house. Without addressing the underlying cause of why mold is growing in a particular area, it will just keep coming back.
Molds only need two things, food and damp. Its impossible to remove the food mold needs from your home, because your property is made of it. Particle board, gypsum, wooden framing, and soft furnishings can all nourish and sustain large mold colonies. What you can control, however, is damp. When mold is discovered, look for the underlying source of water.
There are three common ways that water can cause problem mold growths:
- Maintenance issues such as leaking pipes or failed window seals
- Human error, for example not drying water in shower door tracks or splashing water around a sink
- Construction-related, usually relating to ongoing condensation issues caused by poor airflow
The first two are easy to resolve. Simply repair the problem or change your habits to be more conscious of where water is splashing and pooling. If mold is growing because of the construction of your property, it may require more extensive intervention. Installing fans or vents, replacing portable heaters, or investing in a dehumidifier might be necessary to resolve the problem.
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Identify The Possible Mold Cause
In order to prevent mold from growing on your walls, it is important to think ahead. If mold grows because of excess liquid, then checking all pipes is something to start with. The actual mold prevention process can be as simple as checking and installing mold-resistant products or it may include waterproofing and roof fixing.
Whatever the problem is, the sooner it is discovered, the easier it will be to repair it. Both repairing and preventing steps can cost you some money today, but in the long run, it will surely be more costly if you let mold grow.
How To Get Rid Of Mold In A Basement
Mold needs damp surfaces and organic matter two things most basements have in abundance. If your basement isnt finished, or is rarely used, mold can be especially problematic. The first thing you should do is try to remove as much moisture as possible and prevent it from building up again. That means checking on seals, insulating pipes, and fixing leaks. Consider running a dehumidifier or fan on a regular basis to keep the air moving and prevent condensation from forming, and dont overlook the importance of knowing whats going on. Checking on the condition of a basement and looking for mold growth, especially in the corners of the walls and floor, will help you stay on top of any problems.
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First Can I Remove Mold Myself
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You can, but mold spores can travel in the air when cleaning, so youll want to limit your exposure by wearing protective gear. Wear long rubber gloves to protect your hands and forearms. Its also best to wear eye protection, like goggles, to prevent bleach or other cleaners from splashing in your eyes, especially when removing mold from ceilings or overhead areas.
If the mold problem is severe and more than a few spots, it could be a sign of a bigger moisture problem. If the area is widespread and larger than approximately a 2 x 2 foot area, you’ll want to call in a pro to have it removed safely.
To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
- Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you canno higher than 50%all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your homes humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agencys book A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at .
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Getting Rid Of Mold With Baking Soda
From absorbing odors in the fridge to relieving heartburn, baking soda has a multitude of uses around the house including black mold removal. Its safe for your family and pets, and it not only kills black mold, it absorbs moisture that attracts mold.
Add one-quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residue and baking soda. Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry without wiping. This will kill any left-over mold and help prevent the mold from returning.
For really tough black mold removal, mix two parts baking soda with one part white vinegar and one part water. Stir the mixture until it becomes a thick paste. Spread your mixture liberally onto the surface and let it dry. Scrub away the black mold and stains, and wipe down with water.
Removing Mold From Leather Shoes Coats Accessories And Furniture
Mold on leather coats, shoes, purses, and furniture should be removed outside, if possible. Wipe down the surface with a cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar and then with a good leather soap and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth and allow to air dry completely. Once completely dry, treat the item with a leather conditioner.
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Battling Dampness And Mold In Your Vacation Rental Home
Old house or new, waterfront or inland, there arent many homes on Cape Cod or the Islands immune to the ill effects of dampness during the summer. Our brand new appliances seem to rust overnight, unprotected wood appears to rot from one season to the next, and its difficult to keep surfaces of any kind free from mold or mildew. Most of us with homes here are engaged in a constant battle against dampness, required not only in order to maintain our vacation rental properties, but also to ensure the happiness of our tenants, who may not be used to the consequences of seacoast living.
Mustiness/Dampness in your home: Arriving at a rental property and encountering a strong musty smell can be a real turn-off to your tenants. Many folks, including increasing numbers of children, suffer from allergies to molds, and in some cases, cannot even spend a night in a home where theres much mold. Its not easy, but we strongly urge you to do whatever you can to minimize the dampness and prevent mold from growing. Here are a few suggestions:
For more advice about battling dampness and mold, read Adriana Lopezs article from Porch: How to Remove Humidity from Your Furniture and Textiles for Proper Moisture Control .
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Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems
Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.
You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.
In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.
Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.
Minimum protective gear needed:
- a disposable N95 mask and
- household disposable gloves.
You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.
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Mold Or Mildew An Issue In Your Lake House Lake Cottage Or Cabin
Spring is a time of new awakenings…plants are blooming, the sun is shining longer, baby animals are being born and in this season many people are opening up their lake houses, lake cottages, or cabins after a long winter’s nap. If the lake house, cottage or cabin is free from any damage or moisture from the winter, opening the property for the season is a satisfying experience. Yet if any of the above was sustained during the winter months, most likely there will be mold or mildew present in your lake house, lake cottage, or cabin when you open it.
Although many lake house/cabin owners are familiar with a mildew or musty smell each season or weekend as they come to the property, this smell is an indication of mold growth. To those in the family with a compromised immune system, the lake house or cabin can be a source of suffering. This is certainly not the intent you wish to have. So the question then becomes…
Getting Rid Of Basement Mold
Mold in the basement can be persistent, given the nature of basements they tend to be much more humid than above-ground levels and typically have poor ventilation and little air flow, a combination that can cause mold to flourish. And of course, basements can be prone to flooding, due to extreme weather or undetected leaks in the pipes or sump pump. In addition, once mold develops, cinder blocks or concrete walls can be difficult to clean due to their rough texture.
To get rid of mold in the basement, scrub the walls using a large brush, and keep in mind that porous surfaces such as ceiling tiles or drywall might need to be removed and replaced. If basement carpet has become moldy, sweep it to loosen the mold and let it dry in the sun if you can move it, or use high-powered fans to remove moisture if its affixed to the floor.
To prevent mold in the basement, you need to alter the conditions that can cause it to grow. First, remove dampness by installing a dehumidifier and making sure the dryer vent exhausts externally, if you use your basement for laundry. Then turn your attention outside: Shore up cracks and other foundation issues, and make sure that your soil is properly graded so that rainwater or melting snow goes away from the house, rather than collecting near your foundation.
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Removing Mold From Different Rooms
Some rooms are more prone to mold than others. Bathrooms are notorious for mold growth because they harbor damp, humid environments that mold loves. Less frequented rooms such as basements and attics can also suffer from mold, which can go unchecked for a long time before being noticed. Heres how to prevent mold from taking hold in each room of your property.
How To Get Rid Of Mold On Fabric
Those damp towels or gym clothes forgotten in a bag create an environment where mold can flourish if left too long. If you spot mold on these fabric items, here’s how to nix it:
- Bring the item outside and brush off the excess mold to prevent the mold spores from getting inside your home.
- If the fabric is machine washable, rub in liquid laundry detergent and wash it on the hottest setting possible according to the care instructions with chlorine bleach or non-cholorine bleach, as specified by the care instructions.
- If the fabric is not machine washable, dry cleaning or hand washing will remove the mold.
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How To Get Rid Of Mold In The Basement/crawlspace
Removing mold in these areas follows the same procedure as for walls and ceilings. However, in these areas, the cause of the mold might be especially hard to deal with. An overly humid basement or a poorly ventilated attic could become damp and moldy. Resolving the moisture problem that caused the mold is vital.
Remember that soft, porous surfaces contaminated with mold almost certainly need to be thrown away and replaced. Carpets and rugs are nearly impossible to get completely mold-free.
While mold remediation can be a dirty, time-consuming process, it is not impossible for the average homeowner to deal with. Keep in mind that mold spores are everywhere, so you do not need to eradicate every last spore. Removing all visible mold, thoroughly drying the area and resolving whatever caused the moisture to begin with are the key steps in removing mold. A thorough wipe down with a damp cloth and a HEPA vacuum can accomplish most of your mold removal needs.