A Guide to Mold Prevention and Cleanup
Mold is insidious, dangerous, and gross. It sneaks into areas of your home like the basement and bathroom, threatening your home and the health of everyone living there. Thus, we've created this mold prevention and cleanup guide to help you keep mold out of the house and/or get rid of it quickly.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew
The best solution to mold growth is knowing how to prevent it. Follow the tips below to keep your home free of the blue-green fungus.
Identify Problem Areas
Areas that may be subject to flooding, such as the basement, can be made mold-resistant. This may require you to pull up carpet or waterproof the basement. Other problem areas could include windows that regularly form condensation, or bathrooms that always feel damp due to poor ventilation.
Fix Water Leaks Immediately
This will probably cost money, time, and effort, but that is a small price to pay when you consider the costs of long-term mold damage. Whatever the issue – a leaking pipe, shower, or tap leaking, or signs of leaks in the roof and walls – fix the problem before any more arise.
Dry Up Wet Spots
Be mindful of moisture in your home, and do your best to clean spills on the floors and rainwater on the window sill. Even something as simple as a water spill can cause mold to grow. In the bathroom, run the fan after showering to quickly dry moisture on the walls.
Don't Give Mold a Home
As in, don't leave wet towels and clothes lying around. It's tempting to leave towels on the bathroom floor when you're in a hurry, but a bundled-up towel dries much more slowly. Instead, hang the towel on a rack to dry.
Reduce Humidity and Condensation
High indoor humidity is a year-round concern. It can make your home feel muggy in summer and clammy in winter, but no matter the temperature, high humidity provides a breeding ground for mold and mildew. To monitor the relative humidity in your home, use an inexpensive digital hygrometer. Relative humidity should be below 50 percent in the summer and below 40 percent in cold temperatures. In extremely cold environments, the optimal relative humidity range may be even lower.
Signs of high indoor humidity include condensation on windows and uninsulated walls, soft or crumbling wood and drywall, musty odors and visible growth of mold or mildew. The first line of defense against humidity problems is to seal, insulate and ventilate the problem areas. If that doesn’t solve the problem, supplement with a portable dehumidifier or a whole-home dehumidifier for the most humid climates.
Mildew and Mold Clean Up Guide
If your home already has mold growing, follow these mold clean up tips to remove the fungus today. But before you get started -- if the moldy area takes up more than 10 sq. ft. of space, the mold clean up should be left to the professionals.
Ventilate the area
Open as many windows and exterior doors to the area as possible, and use fans to blow indoor air outside. When you must close and secure the area, use portable dehumidifiers and keep the HVAC system fan running to help dry and ventilate the room as much as possible.
Wear Protective Clothing
Take proper safety precautions by wearing protective clothing. Long gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask will limit your exposure to airborne mold. For more details on what gear to buy, please read "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home" by the EPA. You'll also want to wear old clothes that can be thrown away after your work is done.
Throw Away and Replace
Some porous materials like ceiling tiles and carpet absorb mold, making it impossible for you to fully clean the area. Rather than trying to clean mold growing on these types of surfaces, it's best to throw them away and replace the materials instead.
Attack hard surfaces with a scrubbing brush and a mixture of bleach and water to remove mold. If your household bleach is more than a couple months old, buy a fresh bottle prior to cleanup, as bleach degrades fairly quickly in unsealed bottles. After the mold is gone, use a hair dryer or fan to dry the area completely.
Consider Your HVAC and Ducts
If there’s a chance your mold problem has spread to your air conditioner, furnace or duct system, you should immediately schedule service from an HVAC technician that has experience in mold remediation. Mold growth in your HVAC system can be especially dangerous to your health due to mold spores circulating all throughout your ductwork and home.
Don't let mold creep up in your home and take over. These mold prevention and clean up tips help you keep your home safe and free of the harmful fungus.