10 Tips On How To Prevent Mold

Mold spreads very fast and can be extremely hard to get rid of entirely. It can grow almost everywhere plus it has allergenic properties that can cause even fatal symptoms. Below is a compilation of top 10 ways to prevent mold in your home.

1. Monitor humidity levels in your home

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the indoor relative humidity is kept below 60 percent and preferably between 30 and 50 percent.

A humidity meter can help in regular tracking of the moisture levels in your home. However, indicators like condensation on pipes, walls, and windows is a clear sign of high humidity levels.

2. Ensure there is proper ventilation and air flow

The fact that low temperatures hold less moisture proves that good airflow and proper ventilation will keep moisture at bay.

Most daily activities like cooking, doing laundry or taking a shower, causes a buildup of moisture in your home which in turn encourages mold growth.

Ventilation systems may also be the cause of high humidity levels if the AC units or dehumidifiers are producing moisture themselves. A regular checkup and cleaning of the vent appliances as directed by the manufacturer will not only increase their efficiency but also improve air circulation.

All combustion and vent appliances must be properly vented to the outside, and not to the attic or the garage. Moving furniture away from the walls, opening up a window or a door between rooms also helps in improving airflow.

Musty basements can benefit from the building of a foundation drain, running of a dehumidifier and generally getting more air circulation into the space.

3. Identify and address potential risk areas in your home

Seepages, burst pipes or leakages should be identified and fixed as soon as possible. The water leaks will have far-reaching effects including rusting the pipes and promoting mold growth.

Replacing the old pipes will ensure no moisture is collected and hence no mold growth. Leaking roofs, condensing water pipes, and leaking fire-protection systems should be replaced or repaired quickly.

4. Avoid household plants

Household plants are a haven for mold due to the moist soil. If getting rid of the plants is not an option then you can add Taheebo tea when watering them.

The oil in the Taheebo tea has been found to make it withstand fungi even in the wettest climatic regions like rain forests.

5. Install and use mold-resistant products

Mold-resistant products like mold inhibitors for paints and moisture-resistant drywall are a first defense to preventing moisture absorption and mold growth.

Traditional drywall is made of a gypsum core sandwiched between plies of paper making it very susceptible to moisture absorption.

On the other hand, mold-resistant drywall has the gypsum covered by fiberglass making its surface highly water-resistant. Surfaces like floors and sinks are also easy targets for mold growth thus should be made of non-porous materials like laminate, tile or stone.

6. Ensure you have a proper drainage system

A good drainage system (indoor and outdoor) that ensures water is directed away from the home will help prevent water seepage into basements or crawlspaces.

This can be an issue especially in homes where the ground isn’t sufficiently sloped further away from the building’s foundation, in which case a qualified contractor can help.

7. Understand the climate

Different regions experience diverse climatic conditions with varying moisture responses. Thus educating yourself on your region’s conditions can help in determining how to control moisture levels in your home and more so prevent mold growth.

8. Repair and regular cleaning of roof gutters

Regular inspection, repairing and cleaning of roof gutters and downspouts where necessary will improve in preventing dampness on the given surface. This practice will ensure you address water stains, leaks or paint peeling before they become an issue.

9. Drying wet surfaces and materials quickly

Mold will grow within two days given the right conditions therefore to prevent this it is highly advisable to dry all wet material and surfaces immediately after use.

You should always dry the bathroom floor and walls after every shower and also never leave wet clothes in the washing machine for too long instead hang them outside to dry preferably in areas with good air circulation. An exhaust fan can help in reducing moisture in bathrooms.

If you have pets, make sure you clean up the pet dander and hair. Keep in mind that mold can affect your pets too. Damp pet hair on your floors and cushions provides an environment that encourages mold growth. Invest in a pet hair vacuum like these here to keep your living space clean.

10. Unclutter your basement

Having many items in the basement blocks air circulation regardless of the use of an AC unit or even dehumidifier. Avoid storing books, clothes, wood among others in the basement as they become a home to mold growth. To improve ventilation try your best to unclutter the space and also avoid storing items in direct contact with the walls.

4 Ways of Getting Rid of Mold

mold

There are many chemical products available in the market that can help you get rid of mold from your home. While some of them contain chemicals that can be harmful and counterintuitive in the case of lowering health risks, this guide provides safe and natural methods of getting rid of mold. The bottom line remains that dealing with the moisture problem will ensure there’s no recurrence of mold growth.

1. Removing the Affected Area

If the affected surface is severe, remove the mold-infested and water damaged items. An unpainted drywall is very porous thus affected; the section should be is trimmed off and disposed of. Mold releases a lot of spores which remain inactive until the land on a damp surface therefore cleaning may only be a temporary fix. Painting over the affected surfaces is also a quick fix as the paint will peel off over time.

2. Getting Rid Of Mold Using Cleaning Solution

Before any cleaning can commence, ensure that you have the appropriate protective gear that is gloves, goggles, and an N-95 respirator. Some of the most effective cleaning solutions for mold removal include grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, detergent, baking soda, bleach, and Borax.

Generally, when removing mold from non-porous surfaces, you can use either borax, bleach, vinegar or ammonia. Vinegar is the safest to use, it doesn’t emit harsh fumes plus it has an 80% effectiveness in getting rid of mold.

Vinegar is the safest to use, it doesn’t emit harsh fumes plus it has an 80% effectiveness in getting rid of mold. Just spray the affected area with apple cider vinegar or undiluted vinegar using a spray bottle and let it sit for an hour before wiping the surface clean.

Borax is also another safe cleaning solution that you mix in 1 cup borax/1 gallon of water ratio and clean off with a brush.

Ammonia is dangerous to use thus caution should be applied when using it. It requires a 50/50 mix of clear ammonia and water.

Bleach is especially dangerous to use and it gives off harsh fumes; however, it can be used in a mixture of 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of bleach. To prevent future mold growth, you may regularly spray the surface with either of the solutions above without wiping. Note that mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia produces toxic fumes and is extremely dangerous.

To prevent future mold growth, you may regularly spray the surface with either of the solutions above without wiping. Note that mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia produces toxic fumes and is extremely dangerous.

For porous surfaces like drywall and wood, a mild and safe cleaning solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 8 ounces of water is sprayed on the surface.

Then you can either scrub or wipe the surface clean, a second application without wiping can help inhibit further growth of remaining mold.

A lot of spores are released into the air during the cleaning, and hence a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum should be carried out after you get rid of mold.

3. Cleaning Less Common Surfaces

When you want to get rid of mold in leather, you first scrub away as much mold or mildew as possible using a brush. Then dip a cloth in a one-to-one mixture of water and denatured alcohol/saddle soap, and rub affected areas with the cloth.

For other surfaces like books and papers ensure the surfaces are completely dry. Dip a cloth into the soap solution and wring it out to completely dry and wipe off the mildew or mold spots.

Always leave the items to dry completely preferably outdoors where there is air circulation.

4. Hiring Professionals

If the affected area exceeds 10 square feet, it is recommended that you call in a mold inspector. The mold inspector must have appropriate academic accreditations and industry credentials like Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH).

The inspector carries out tests to ascertain the root cause of the mold growth and finally offer possible remedial solutions (DIY or professional). Mold remediation professionals remove affected areas, clean and disinfect the surfaces and vacuum with HEPA filtration.

How To Detect Mold In Your Home

moldy staircase

Early detection of mold can help reduce the various health risks it poses. Below are the top signs you can apply to detect mold in your home.

Moldy lemon

Visual Signs of Mold Growth

A preliminary detection measure is by visually inspecting the places that mold is likely to grow for instance walls, sinks, kitchen behind wallpaper, inside cabinets, bath tub, plumbing fixtures among others. Mold growth will usually be in spots and different colors depending on the type. However, mold is mostly visible when it has already become a large colony.

Mold will have a distinctive hairy thread-like appearance with the colors ranging from white, black, gray-brown, greenish-black to even orange or purple. Easily detectable mold should be removed as soon as is possible since even the smallest of mold patches can spread very fast.

Black spots, slimy textures, stains and discolored walls are a good signal of an undergoing water problem that most definitely indicates mold growth. Other indicators of water issues include peeling paint or wallpaper, cracking, bubbling or warping of wallpaper. If either of these can be observed, then it is time for a mold inspection.

Musty Odor

Your sense of smell can also be helpful since mold growth produces a musty dump odor. Such a scent will indicate that your home has mold and thus a thorough inspection should be undertaken.

Mold related Allergic Symptoms, Toxic Symptoms, and Infections

If you experience allergic symptoms like cold/flu-like symptoms, stuffy nose, throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, or redness of the eyes then mold may be one of the causes. Especially if the symptoms worsen when you are in the house and lessen when you are outdoors.

Some molds release toxic chemicals known as mycotoxins that are very harmful to humans. These mycotoxins lead to toxic symptoms such as damage to the internal organs, memory loss, headaches, bleeding, cancer, mental incapacitation, and immunosuppression. Pulmonary hemosiderosis has been primarily linked to the notorious Stachybotrys commonly referred to as black mold.

Fungal infections may also be a signal for mold growth, and hence a thorough inspection and extermination should be carried out. There are also kits available in the market that can help you detect mold, especially black mold.

Past Flooding and Plumbing Issues

Primarily mold will thrive in warm, damp and humid environments, of which are provided for in case of a flooding or faulty pipes. In case it floods, a lot of water and moisture is left behind in the house long after the event.

This is especially in places that are hard to reach like basements, crawl spaces, behind wallpaper, inside cabinets, under floors, and so on. A good practice is to always carry out a thorough cleanup and ensure all areas fully dry.

Any known water leakages or signs of such are a strong indication that there’s mold growth in your home and should be addressed immediately.

Condensation

A lot of condensation in your home equals to high amount of moisture or humidity and in extension an immediate mold problem. You will observe this condensation on surfaces like metal pipes and glass windows where mold will most likely grow on. Rusting indoor metal pipes are a perfect example of this problem.