These are tips gathered over 6 years of mold experience and education from mold experts, builders, the Center for Disease Control (USA), and others with mold illness.
- Don’t let leaks go. Most people don’t realize that mold can develop in walls within 48 hours. So, prioritize leaks and dry things out quickly. (But do NOT put a fan on a place where you suspect mold is already growing. This could spread spores.) However:
- Use dehumidifiers or air conditioning. Keep humidity in the house below 50% or even 40%. (Keep units clean.)
- Do not water flowers or landscaping near your foundation.
- Make sure everything is graded away from your foundation.
- If you ever see standing water near your house, add French drains around the house (underground). (Put them in right away if building from scratch.)
- Do not hang clothes to dry. This is sad because hanging dry saves electricity. However, hanging dry inside can raise humidity and even cause mold growth in the clothes because they do not dry fast enough. Hanging dry outside can cause wet clothing to pick up outdoor mold spores and toxins and pollen, depending on circumstances and the area. 🙁 But we do hang things outside (while they are dry, not wet) to air out scents before washing.
- Make sure that the bathroom fan is vented to the outside (NOT the attic) and that any vent ducts are insulated. Otherwise, humidity can build up or condensation can occur, causing mold.
- Whenever you run vent fans, crack a nearby window. This allows the fan to work properly (being able to pull air easily from somewhere). To check your fan, put a tissue near the fan and see if the fan sucks it up and makes it stick to the fan. If so, you’re probably good.
- Do not install a tile shower. I have seen way too many stories of water getting behind and causing major mold problems. It can happen with any shower, but tile showers seem to be particularly susceptible to problems. I am not sure why, but I think it is because it is hard to completely seal the grout against water “pounding” on it.
- If you boil water, soups, etc. a lot, make sure kitchen is vented to the outside also. I don’t know how much cooking humidity will cause a problem, but it’s better to take it out if you can.
- Never leave cooked food on the counter for longer than 2 hours, and never leave it in the fridge for longer than 3 days. Even something acidic like tomato sauce will usually contain mold toxins or spores after 3 or 4 days (even though you cannot see mold growing).
- Check sippy cups, pacifiers, baby suction bulbs, and the like. If mold is found, throw it away; do not attempt to clean it. Cleaning will often leave behind toxins. IMHO, it is not worth the risk for a child.
- Make sure the dryer is also vented outside.
- Always open the clothes washer after use. We keep ours open all the time except when in use.
- Watch out for front-loading machines which can grow mold in the door seal.
- When your dishwasher is done running, open it and run the kitchen vent fan and/or open a window and add a fan blowing outward to remove humidity. Like with the vent fan, you also need to open another window to allow dry air to come in and replace the humid air, allowing the fan blowing out to work properly. Leaving the dishwasher shut can cause humidity to build up under counter, in cabinets, etc. and cause mold growth.
- Do not purchase a memory foam mattress, or if you have one, look to make sure no mold is growing underneath or in it.
- Do not completely cover a mattress in something plastic. This may cause mold growth. Mattresses need to breath.
- Do not set a mattress on a completely solid, cold foundation or on a cold floor. Again, mattresses need to breathe. I am not sure, but I suspect mattresses getting mold on the bottom from sitting on a solid foundation happens because the foundation or floor is colder than the room air. I do not know if this can happen on a solid foundation that is warm.
For many people, a little bit of mold is not going to cause noticeable health problems. (Though larger amounts may cause symptoms even if a person is not susceptible.)
But for my friends and I with severe mold illness, it is scary how little can make us ill or very ill. So, we often chat and share ideas with one another. Any of these tips you follow may reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill from mold.
For me, I plan to conquer that Kryptonite by not allowing it a foothold! 🙂 (With God’s help.)
PS I forgot a couple important ones: always run a vent fan after showers/baths, and never put damp clothing or towels in a hamper.
Black Hills Picture Books Edgemont, SD 57735