Mold can grow almost anywhere in the house, though usually it focuses in basements and bathrooms, and has the potential to cause havoc in one’s home. Mold is a type of fungus that needs humidity to proliferate, and spreads through spores which are microscopic and can travel through the air. These spores are everywhere, this is normal, but usually if the conditions aren’t good they won’t start growing; this is what we aim to achieve in this guide!
Keeping the surfaces clean:
The first thing you can do is make sure everything is always clean, since mold takes a while to get a hold and start spreading quickly. The most important things to keep an eye on are any kind of spill or leak, since they create a perfect environment. Mold can take upwards of 24 hours to start growing in earnest, but if it’s a location that gets wet/humid often the residual humidity may be enough to cause problems. Another type of cleaning that’s important is places that are hard to reach / have stagnant air such as closets, backs of drawers, inside storage boxes. Although these places don’t have the incentive that high humidity presents, the stagnant atmosphere and ample time give the mold a great environment to slowly grow in a place they might not be noticed. This is why it’s so important to air out the house and do a full cleaning at the very least once a year. During this cleaning using a cloth wet with vinegar in areas mold has already appeared is a good way to ebb the growth of what’s there, or help prevent more from appearing.
Keeping the air fresh:
One thing that mold loves is stagnant air, which when coupled with humidity causes an ideal place for mold to propagate. Places like basements are especially vulnerable to this because the colder air and pressure difference cause the air to always be nearer the “ideal” for mold than anywhere else in the house. So what can you do to fix this? Ventilation. Having an exhaust for every bathroom is very important, and always turning it on during showers/baths, and only turning it off a few minutes after. Also air conditioning helps a lot by cycling the air and removing humidity at the same time. During the summer keeping the A/C on can help a lot, and depending on the home maybe placing an A/C in the basement may not be worth the cost but in these cases a dehumidifier is a huge boon to keeping the space clean.
Removing all humidity:
This brings us to the most important item on this list: Humidity. During summer months it’s important to have dehumidifiers in any parts of the home affected with humidity, and when possible A/C; and during the winter having the heat up helps keep the air clean as well. Limiting any kind of humidity to places like bathrooms and basements helps a lot, since a wet towel or wet clothes harry a very large amount of water inside which gets quickly spread into the nearby atmosphere. Cleaning places like the tub and shower box/bathroom floor with vinegar or diluted bleach helps destroy any mold that may be trying to grow before it becomes a problem.
Preventing Humidity Buildup:
Lastly, a case strongly linked with humidity is condensation. During winter months any humidity in the air will condense on cold surfaces and stay there; which is why having the heat on is important. Cold pipes in basements and under sinks are also affected by this, so insulating them is a great way to prevent this buildup. Over months of winter humidity slowly builds up in these locations and creates an environment prone to mold during hotter months. To reduce condensation the best tips are keep the air flowing, turn up the heat during cold months, and insulate pipes / make sure there’s no outlet for rainwater near the basement walls.
If you follow these basic tips, mold will be very unlikely to appear in your home. But don’t forget that those spores are always present, so my biggest hint to fighting mold is this: a few minutes of maintenance every week will keep the mold at bay, but if you try to do it all in one day once a year, you’ll be too late.