Mold is one of the most common causes of ill health. It can lead to sinus infections and respiratory issues, allergies, skin problems as well as yeast and Candida. Mold can affect humans and pets and could make you very sick. Prolonged exposure to mold can cause sneezing, flu-like symptoms and fatigue, weakness, lethargy and even brain fog. The best mold management program includes the use of mold resistant products as well as moisture control, temperature regulation and adequate ventilation. Let us take a look at some easy ways to stop and prevent mold from growing inside your home.
1. Fix leaks
If mold keeps growing on your walls and inside your closets, you need to fix water leaks. Get a plumber to help you in this aspect. Ask him to check for condensation spots and damp areas. Fix these sources of moisture to get rid of mold and prevent it from growing back on walls or inside closets.
2. Regulate temperature and humidity
Both, temperature and humidity are essential factors for mold growth. You must take steps to prevent moisture from condensing on your walls or inside closet. For this purpose, you may have to increase surface temperature. Alternatively, reduce humidity or moisture levels. This can be achieved by fixing leaks and ensuring that no moisture comes back. So be vigilant and keep an eye out for dampness. What is the best temperature to prevent mold? Well mold grows at a temperature about 70 Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius. And according to research and studies by Ohio State University, molds cannot survive above 140 Fahrenheit.
3. Increase air circulation
The number one reason why mold grows inside closets is lack of air circulation. So, from time to time, air out your rooms. You may also increase inside temperature with the help of heaters. This will reduce moisture. Increase ventilation in the room by running fans. If possible, leave the windows open to allow the air to circulate and deter moisture.
4. Run a de-humidifier
Apart from repairing leaks, you can also reduce humidity by running a de-humidifier. This is especially a good solution to prevent mold when the outside temperature or outdoor air is warm and humid. It is important to maintain low indoor humidity below 60% relative humidity (RH) ideally 30-50% RH if possible.
5. Insulate the space properly
Insulation will help prevent condensation which is the number one culprit behind moisture. Talk to a specialist and discuss ways to insulate windows, piping, exterior walls, roofs, and floors. You can also insulate storm windows. If possible, add the storm window on the inside than outside to deter condensation.
6. HVAC maintenance
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. The maintenance of HVAC systems is very important to stop mold from coming back. Contact a HVAC specialist or your manufacturer to discuss scheduled maintenance. You can also read your HVAC manuals regarding upkeep of these systems. Keep all HVAC drip pans clean and dry and flowing properly and unobstructed. Check HVAC filters regularly to ensure they are sealed properly. Replace HVAC filters on a schedule. In your workplace too, perform regular building HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
7. Keep bathrooms, kitchens and basements clean and dry
Regularly clean bathroom walls and kitchen tiles and backsplashes that have mold. You can use vinegar to wipe down these surfaces. DO not let basements and foundations stay damp. If a wet spot grows, clean and dry it within 48 hours. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from foundation. You can utilize exhaust fans or open the windows to increase circulation and dry all moisture in these rooms.
8. Avoid certain materials
Certain materials like polyurethane and rubber foams are most prone to fungus and molds. If you have furniture made from these, cover them with plastic.
9. Inspect carpets
Carpets placed in places with perpetual damp or moisture can accumulate mold. Avoid installing one if you haven’t fixed leaks first. Check fountains, sinks, bathrooms and concrete floors for leaks and frequent condensation issues before carpets and rug installation.
10. Direct all vents outside
Vent moisture generating appliances outside as far as possible. Make sure you place your dishwasher and clothes dryer vents outside. This will prevent mold in your laundry area and kitchen. Check around air conditioners and furnaces for stagnant water.
11. Keep furniture away from outside walls
Mold accumulates behind furniture on walls where there is condensation. So keep furniture away from outer walls and in damp basements. If you haven’t fixed sources of damp or insulated the basement area properly, you may have to run a de-humidifier here all the time. Check furniture and closets in basements for mold and take remedial action.
12. Use moisture detectors
Inspect your home for mold from time to time. You can also use mold detector kits which can help you detect moisture in concrete walls as well as wooden furniture. If your home has recently been hit by floods, it is important to use mold detector kits to prevent the issue from escalating out of control.
13. Use mold and mildew remover tools
There are many good quality mold remover gadgets and tools with which you can remove existing mold. These include brushes and heavy duty drills fitted with circular brushes rotating at high speed that can remove mildew from birdbaths, patios, fountains etc. You can also use these heavy duty brushes to remove algae and moss from swimming pool area. Grout cleaner scrubber tools with nylon bristles can be used to scrub walls and tiles in bathroom and kitchen area.
14. Use chemical cleaners
Spray bottles with mold and mildew stain removers instantly zap out mold and leave your surfaces as good as new. Some products also contain mold guard that prevents new mold from forming. Mold and mildew removers are also available in form of gels and sprays.
15. Apply zinc strip shields
Zinc strips with pure zinc can be rolled out over areas prone to ugly mold stains. These come in different lengths and dimensions and you can use them to cover up roofs and tiles which are susceptible to mold and mildew. When these sheets get wet in the rain, they release zinc ions which inhibit mold growth.
16. Use mold resistant shower curtains
Use mold resistant bath mats and shower curtains as these are areas most prone to developing ugly mold stains. PEVA mildew resistant curtains and mats do not stink and are also lightweight. They are waterproof and come in different colors and prints for kids’ and master bedroom baths.
17. Use closet dehumidifier crystals
Dehumidifier crystals effectively remove excess moisture from the air. They also protect your closet belongings from musty odors and damp smells. Most of these products use activated charcoal crystals which are completely biodegradable and environment friendly.