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How to Fight Mold in Your Home

Mold, it always feels like a disaster the first time you see it because there’s sure to be more somewhere else. But it’s not actually the end of the world for your home. Mold and mildew, while annoying and damaging to any surface, can usually be cleaned fairly easily. And both are actually simple to prevent in the first place. Mold and mildew grow when three things are present:

  1. Air
  2. Moisture
  3. Mold Spores

You can never truly clean a surface of all mold spores. As soon as you step outside, you’ll bring in more when you return, but there are ways to prevent them from taking root and thriving in your home.

Cleaning and Repair

The first step is to clean up any existing mold. Likely places for mold are bathrooms, basements, and areas with water damage. Whether the damage is coming from a leaky roof, damaged pipe, or broken HVAC unit, the excess water becomes a fantastic breeding ground for mold and mildew. If your HVAC unit seems to be leaking it may be due to a clogged condensate drain line, so it’s best to clear that.

Cleaning up the mold itself is simple, be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and rubber or polyurethane gloves while working. You’ll also want to be sure you wear a breathing mask, as inhaled mold spores, while not normally dangerous, can be hazardous to your health in large quantities.

To clean, fill a bucket of warm water with some antibacterial dish-detergent. Wash the surface, then dry it thoroughly. Spraying a mold down with bleach-based cleaning products will not kill all of the spores, and can actually impede later attempts to remove the mold. You should also only attempt cleaning up small patches of mold and mildew. For larger areas of mold damage, ask for professional cleaning.

Prevention

Fortunately, most of your home is protected from high-humidity levels by your HVAC and furnace system. Central cooling and air dries out the air, often to the point of needing a humidifier to restore balance and prevent problems such as chapped lips and dry skin. But, if you’re finding that your home is more humid than it should be, installing a dehumidifier is a great way to balance that back out. Even a locally placed dehumidifier in high-humidity rooms may be a benefit.

Changes in habits and practiced can help to reduce or remove mold and mildew entirely. Your shoes track in a lot of moisture and pick up mold spores easily. Leaving them to dry at the door on a shoe rack will help to reduce atmospheric moisture. As the shoes dry, the water on their surfaces evaporates, adding to atmospheric humidity. Leaving them in a well ventilated area helps to dry them out quicker.

The same can be said for any fabric or surface that harbors water. Used towels, laundry, coats, and umbrellas are all moisture-trapping causes. Letting coats and umbrellas dry before being put away and making sure the laundry is done quickly can help mitigate mold and mildew in the home.

The goal here is to move moisture out of the home to make the environment inhospitable for mold. One last piece of advice we can give is to run a ventilation fan after a shower. This will help to move the excess steam and moisture out of the room.

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