Preventing and Treating Mold in the Home


When you hear about mold, an involuntary shiver of fear may take hold you, yet you may not truly believe that this could be a problem in your home. Perhaps you live in a newer home or clean your home regularly. This could lead you to mistakenly believe that you will never have an issue with this concerning spore.

Mold can cause a variety of issues in the home, from musty odors to allergies. In fact, it is a major cause of allergic reactions and respiratory issues. Equally concerning is the fact that mold can totally destroy home fixtures, such as drywall and carpeting, if it is left for too long.

Mold spores are a part of nearly every indoor environment no matter how clean it is. While mold spores may exist, they do not have to take hold and grow. The best way to prevent mold spores from becoming a serious problem is to control moisture in your home.

First, be sure that the humidity level in your home is low enough to prevent mold growth. Most homes benefit from humidity levels between 40 to 50 percent. Your home may have a built-in ventilation system that automatically controls humidity. If it does not, you may want to purchase a hygrometer to test the humidity level in a particular room of your home.

Second, if you determine that your humidity level is too high, find some ways to decrease it. You may want to purchase a dehumidifier, which will pull moisture from the air and collect it. You should make sure that each of your bathrooms is vented and that you have a vent over your stovetop to remove steam when cooking. Never put away moist laundry, and give wet towels plenty of space for drying in the kitchen and bathrooms. A simple increase in the amount of ventilation in your home can also decrease the chance for mold growth. During the winter, a well-insulated home can prevent mold growth from condensation on windows, doors, roofs and walls. Finally, be sure that rainwater is being directed away from your home to prevent wet walls and floors in your basement. Any standing water in your home could be a source of mold in the future.

If you do notice a spot of mold growing in your basement, your bathroom, your cooling system or some other location, you must get rid of or control the source of moisture that is causing this issue in order for treatment to be truly effective. Once you have determined the cause of the excessive moisture, determine if it is an area that you can clean yourself. If the moldy area is over 10 square feet or if it has been caused by major flooding, you will want professional help. Many restoration companies provide mold remediation services for safely removing mold and preventing future mold growth.

However, if you believe you can treat the area yourself, you will want to wear a protective device across your nose and mouth to prevent allergy associated with inhaling mold spores. Then, determine how to treat the area. The easiest areas to clean are hard surfaces. On these, you can simply use water mixed with detergent or a safe amount of bleach to kill and remove the mold. Other cleaning chemicals that can be used include vinegar, borax and ammonia. Baking soda can help to deodorize a moldy area. Always be sure to ventilate the area you are cleaning adequately so as not to inhale chemical fumes. If mold is found on soft, absorbent surfaces, you may need to remove and replace the materials. This could be true for carpeting, upholstery, drywall and ceiling tiles.

While mold can be a distressing problem in the home because it can ruin many surfaces and cause health concerns, it can be safely cleaned up and removed in most cases. Removing sources of moisture in the home is of primary importance. However, if you have any lasting issues or problems in cleaning large areas, you will want to hire professionals. Take a look around your home today to see if you may have a moisture or mold issue.