This is a detailed but easy-to-read guide on mold prevention. It covers many aspects and stages of the process: from what causes mold and mildew to what steps you can take to prevent their growth.
It is important that you realize how serious an issue mold growth can be. When you find out about all the consequences that mold and mildew can lead to, we guarantee that you will want to take all necessary steps to prevent them from growing in your home.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that usually grows on wood, plants, fabric, food and other organic materials. It recycles dead organic matter, which can pose a great risk for people.
Mold can appear in various colors (green, blue, orange and black) depending on its nutrient source, type and the age of colony. Of all the different types of mold, black mold is the most toxic of all.
How you will remediate mold depends on its type. Roughly speaking, there are three types of molds:
- Allergenic – the least harmful type, causing allergies and asthma
- Pathogenic – this type is more dangerous and can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Toxigenic – the most harmful type that produces mycotoxins and can cause immunosuppression, neurological disorders and even cancer
How Does It Grow?
In order to grow, mold needs water, oxygen, a food source and a temperature ranging from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, it is impossible to keep a space absolutely mold-free. However, what you can do is regularly perform moisture and dust control, as well as maintain proper ventilation in your house.
Mold vs Mildew
Both mold and mildew can appear in moist and warm parts of houses and apartments. However, they are not the same.
Mold is a living organism appearing in darker shades. It produces airborne spores, it is more harmful to humans and it is more difficult to remove.
On the other hand, mildew is simply accumulated dirt and grime. Unlike mold, it is not a living organism, it doesn’t reproduce and it is not that harmful. Also, it is usually white or grey and easier to remove.
Health Effects of Mold
There are numerous health issues that mold exposure results in, ranging from mild to severe:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Cough/sore throat
- Eye and skin irritation
How to Prevent Indoor Mold Growth
The only sure-fire way to prevent mold is to reduce moisture levels. In addition, you can conduct regular air quality testing and professional monitoring of indoor environment.
However, since humidity is essential for human body, it is important not to keep its level too low. Ideally, you should keep the level of humidity between 30% and 50%.
According to Mold Busters, a mold removal company from Ottawa, the best way to check the exact level of humidity, is to use a hygrometer, or even better, hire a reliable testing company.
Humidity is caused by large quantities of water (floods and leaks), daily activities (cooking, showering, drying clothes) and condensation.
We cannot overemphasize how important it is to discover what causes mold growth and prevent it in a timely manner. To prevent mold from growing, you can do the following things:
- Check all pipes
- Check the humidity level regularly
- Install mold-resistant products
- Fix your roof
- Maintain proper ventilation
- Open the windows more often
- Replace a drywall
- Keep your home interior clean (especially corners, doors and windows)
- Have your home inspected by a professional team
How to Prevent Bathroom Mold Growth
Because of the high level of humidity, your bathroom is perfect for mold growth. But poor ventilation and deteriorating caulk are also to blame, see What Is Red Mold, Is It Dangerous?.
This is where you should look for mold in your bathroom:
- Sink and toilet
- Caulk, grout and tiles
- Walls and ceiling
- Towels and bathroom robes
- Mats and shower curtains
To effectively prevent bathroom mold growth, you can install bathroom fans or use them more often if you already have them. As an alternative, you can always keep your window open or use dehumidifiers.
In addition, you should always get rid of excess water, pay attention to shower curtains, floor mats and potentially cracked grout.
How to Prevent Kitchen Mold Growth
Similar to bathroom, kitchen is among the mold’s favorite places.
These are the common causes of kitchen mold growth:
- Water leaks
- Dampness, humidity and moisture
- Supply of food
- Garbage disposals and trash cans
- Fridge and food storage
- Kitchen tools and appliances
As you can see, a lot of things to pay attention to. However, you can keep all this in check by taking the following steps:
- Pay attention to humidity levels
- Turn the stove fan on while you are cooking
- Check for leaks regularly
- Clean your kitchen regularly
- Make sure you throw away all spoiled food as soon as possible
- Clean all the appliances after you use them
- Wash dishes every day
- Empty your trash can regularly
How to Prevent Bedroom Mold Growth
Even though bedroom does not provide as favorable conditions as bathroom and kitchen, mold can still appear in it.
You spend a lot of time in your bedroom breathing the indoor air while sleeping, which can lead to mold growth on the walls, windows and ceilings.
To prevent mold growth in your bedroom, here is what you should do:
- Open the windows regularly
- Use air-conditioners and dehumidifiers
- Have your carpet cleaned regularly
- Keep your furniture slightly away from the walls
- Check your plants regularly
How to Prevent Basement Mold Growth
If you thought that there was no better place for mold growth than your bathroom and kitchen, think again.
Basement is a paradise for molds because it is dark and very humid. This humidity can be caused by an outside source (rain, groundwater, floods) or an inside source (drying clothes, cooking, water leaks).
To keep mold out of your basement, you need to:
- Pay attention where the rainwater flows
- If your basement gets flooded, take everything out to dry and leave all the windows open
- Monitor humidity levels
- Insulate walls, pipes and windows
- Dry your clothes outside
- Don’t overload your basement
- Keep your plants out of the basement
Professional Mold Testing
If you suspect that you have indoor mold, the best thing you can do is have your home tested.
Benefits of professional mold testing are numerous:
- Assessing fungal geology
- Confirming mold presence
- Locating moisture source
- Assessing and eliminating health risks
- Mold remediation planning
- Providing the evidence necessary for potential insurance claims and litigation
- Verifying job completion
If you want to know if mold is present in your home, your best bet is to have your home inspected as soon as possible.