Mold is a type of fungus that releases tiny spores into the air. At any given time there are a number of mold spores in the air around you. In most cases there are more outside than there are inside, but they are still in the house with you. These mold spores will grow into a dangerous mess when they com in contact with water or moisture and have time to grow. However, your battle with mold doesn't have to be one that you can't win. All you need to do is make sure that you are working towards preventing mold in your home!
Clean Up Spores.
While you won't be able to eliminate all spores in your house. However spores often collect in dust and cobwebs in your house. Work on cleaning up dust and cobwebs regularly. It is also a good idea to clean under furniture, appliances, and other items on a semi-regular basis. Aiming for a good cleaning twice a year can make a huge difference.
Clean Up Moisture.
Moisture is the real evil when it comes to mold. All molds need a moisture source to grow. When moisture happens in the house make sure that you take the time to clean it up with in 24 hours and no later than 48 hours.
- Wipe up spills right away to keep mold from growing in these areas.
- Keep a towel or rug on the bathroom floor so moisture doesn't gather there when people get out of the shower.
- Wipe around the edge of the tub if you have mold problems growing there. This will prevent mold from continuing to grow there.
- Make sure your dishes are dry before being put away and dry the sink when you are done using it. This will prevent mold from growing in these areas and will also help keep the humidity levels down.
- When there is a water leak work on getting the items that get we dry. You have that 24 to 48 hour dry period. If you don't get it dried up in that time period then it is likely that mold will grow.
- When there is a flood you need to get everything dry and throw away items that have been wet more than 48 hours.
Clean and Repair Gutters.
Your gutters work at getting the water from the roof to the ground safely. You want to make sure that they are doing their job so that moisture is less likely to get into the house.
Seal The Windows.
Your windows can be a great place for condensation to build up and for moisture to get in. It is best if you make sure that they are sealed and that they aren't letting in moisture when they are closed.
Clean Out Drip Pans.
You should make sure that you are cleaning out the drip pans on the refrigerator and on the air conditioner regularly. You should also make sure that the lines that drain the air conditioner are clear and flowing properly.
Keep Humidity Low.
To prevent mold growth in the house you should try to keep the humidity levels below 50%. In some areas this is easier than in others. However, here are several things that you can do to help keep the humidity low.
- Use an air conditioner in the summer time. This helps keep the humidity lower.
- Use a dehumidifier when and where needed. Often it is a great idea to have a dehumidifier in your basement all the time. The cool air and the cement that the basement is built out of make it a moist area of the house that can easily grow mold. It is also a good idea to use a dehumidifier in the main floor of the house when you don't have the air conditioner on and the humidity is high.
- If you are going to use a humidifier to keep air moist then you need to make sure that you aren't going overboard. Check for moisture buildup on the windows and in other areas and considering turning it down or off when there is too much moisture.
- Install and use an exhaust fan in your bathroom whenever you shower or take a bath. If you don't have an exhaust fan and can't get one then it is a good idea to open the bathroom window to let the steam out.
- Install and use an exhaust fan in the kitchen when cooking or using the dishwasher. Both of these add lots of extra moisture in the air.
- Vent all appliances that produce moisture including clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters.
- Insulate cold water pipes so that they don't build up moisture on the outside of them.
When There Are Leaks Or Floods.
Preventing mold when there are leaks or floods can be a lot harder than just general maintenance on the home. However, with care you can make sure that you prevent mold after a leak or a flood.
- Dry carpets that get wet with in 24 to 48 hours. Use a wet vac to remove as much moisture as possible. Then place fans, heaters, and or dehumidifiers to help the carpet dry faster. It is also a good idea to blow air under the carpet to make sure that the carpet pad is getting dried as well as the carpet.
- Porous materials that get wet should be removed, thrown away, and replaced with fresh. This includes ceiling tiles, cellulose insulation, fiber glass insulation are all items that should be tossed.
- Non-carpeted flooring should also be dried using fans and such. You may need to vacuum excess water with the wet vacuum and if it has been more than 24 hours you should clean the surface with a mild detergent and wipe dry.
- Your goal for furniture is to get it dry within 24 hours or to discard it. This can be hard for large pieces, but you will want to put a fan on it and work toward to getting rid of it.
- Wall board, plaster, and drywall can be dried if it isn't so moist that it is swollen. If it is swollen you need to remove it and replace it. It is also best if you can vent wall cavities that have moisture in them.
In most cases it is easy to work on preventing mold growth in your house. Keep the house clean, take the time to wipe up moisture, and go from there. However, sometimes the humidity is difficult to control, there are water leaks, and even floods can cause major mold damage. Take it one step at a time and aim for getting everything dry quickly when need be.