The growth of mold and mildew in some environments is inevitable. It’s a necessary part of nature in that it turns organic matter into compostable materials, which is excellent for the soil. At home, it’s a different case – mold can cause multiple health problems, especially in those who are prone to respiratory issues. Everyone has encountered it at least once, as mold grows almost everywhere, from carpets to clothing. Luckily, you can prevent it from proliferating in a few quick and easy ways.
1. Locate Problem Areas
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to mold-proof your home. What you can do instead is identify the areas throughout that are prone to moisture buildup. These places likely include your basement, as it’s surrounded by the water in the ground, as well as bathrooms. Your kitchen is also a room to look out for. Also, check all rooms for existing water damage. Water can seep in through cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, so make sure you get any potential issues. Take a look at faucets and pipes, so you can take care of leaks as well. If you don’t know where water is coming from, you can’t address it properly.
2. Identify the Types of Mold
When trying to tackle a problem, it’s always good to know what you’re facing. There are three categories of mold found in houses – pathogenic, allergenic and toxic. These take shape in several types, all of which grow in different areas. Each also comes with unique health risks. Conduct the proper research to ensure you understand what you’re dealing with. Doing so will help you eliminate mold and mildew more effectively. This way, when you find a problem area in your home, you’ll know how to handle it.
3. Create Ventilation
After you recognize the spaces in your house that are prone to moisture, you’ll want to address it in some way. The best way to do this is by installing exhaust fans and using a dehumidifier. These will work to regulate airflow, which will remove moisture. You should also vent appliances, like stoves and laundry units, to the outside of your home. For further prevention, you can open a window when cooking or showering to make sure there’s no water buildup. Remember that whenever steam and heat are present, those areas need ventilation.
4. Scrub Everything Down
When you do spot mold, you’ll want to clean it promptly and effectively. Pick up some bleach, disinfectant, gloves and a scrub brush to eliminate problem areas. If you notice mildew and mold in your bathroom, throw your shower curtain and bathmat in the washer. If you see it on your wooden cabinets, you’ll need to use a wood cleaner to scrub it down. Before you attack a surface, make sure you have the right supplies on hand to effectively get rid of it.
5. Take Care of Furniture and Carpets
Life is busy, so cleaning and taking care of specific items throughout our homes isn’t always at the top of our lists. That said, mildew loves to grow on chairs, couches and carpets in areas that are susceptible to moisture. Keep your belongings in tip-top shape, so they don’t fall prey to mold. By dusting and mopping rooms consistently, you can keep everything pristine. If you do notice mold on your furniture or carpets, brush them off, vacuum them and clean them with an appropriate soap.
6. Monitor Moisture
As temperatures increase in the spring and summer, the air becomes less dry. That means more moisture will enter your home. In general, the relative humidity in a house should fall between 30 and 50% and never exceed 60%. You can monitor the moisture throughout your home by using a hygrometer. These small gadgets are available to purchase at most drug and hardware stores. Follow the instructions, and the device will tell you how much moisture is in your house. Then, if the levels are too high, you can take the steps needed to fix that.
7. Divert Outside Water
This advice goes for all types of homes, but especially those with basements. Often, rainwater and groundwater can seep into the foundation and create significant damage, as well as enable mold growth. There are a handful of ways to do this, but the goals are the same. You want to reroute water to the street or your yard – areas that won’t cause issues later on. If you have a sloped driveway, water can collect in your garage, so pay attention to that, too.
8. Clear Drains and Gutters
On a similar note, you should check your drains and gutters periodically. Don’t allow water to collect and then seep into your roof because you haven’t cleaned it out. Standing water is an excellent opportunity for mold to grow in your attic. Take a couple of hours once a month to make sure your gutters are operating correctly. If you see an area that needs repairing, don’t hesitate to do so – if a storm blows into town, you don’t want your gutters to cause issues.
9. Install Mold-Resistant Products
If you’re going through a remodel, this is a great way to keep mold at bay. Plenty of building materials can help prevent mold and mildew from entering your house. All types of drywall, lumber, insulation, caulk and paint are available, so you can choose what’s best for your home at the moment. Even if your house is not under construction, you can address mold-related issues on a smaller level by using these resources.
10. Contact a Mold Removal Service
When all else fails, and you find yourself in a more challenging situation, don’t hesitate to consult with a local mold removal service. Sometimes, a mold issue seems beyond repair, but professionals know how to fix it. This advice is especially true if you purchase a home that has an existing problem you don’t necessarily want to deal with. If you have concerns about mold in your home, have a service provider come in and take a look.
Watch out for Moisture
The key to preventing mold is to keep your house dry. Some humidity is inevitable and isn’t a bad thing, but the more you vent and regulate the air indoors, the less likely it is that you’ll find mold and mildew. Follow these recommendations to keep you and your family safe from possible health issues.