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Tips for fighting mold growth in your home

Eliminating all mold and mold spores in your home is next to impossible. It is possible to significantly reduce their chances of thriving in your home however, because mold spores can’t grow without moisture. By taking steps to reduce moisture in your home, you are putting up the strongest defense against mold growth. You could even stop some mold growth already taking place in your home by eliminating moisture sources. If mold is already growing in your home, it’s important to not only clean up the mold but to also fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but do nothing to remedy the lingering moisture, the mold will most likely return.

Reducing moisture in your home can be difficult; here are some tried and true methods that effectively reduce moisture throughout your home:

  1. Aim to keep indoor humidity below 60% if possible. A hygrometer can be used to measure humidity and is a relatively inexpensive instrument that can be purchased at many hardware stores.
  2. Don’t let moisture linger, always take steps to dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  3. Especially in hot, humid climates, use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to reduce moisture in the air.
  4. Take steps to prevent condensation. Condensation occurs as the temperature goes down and the air is less able to hold moisture and it condenses on cold surfaces. This will encourage mold growth.
  5. Increase air circulation throughout your home by opening doors between rooms, using fans, and moving furniture from wall corners.
  6. Observe your property, especially the ground near your home. The ground should slope down and away from your house. If the slope of the ground is insufficient and allows water to flow towards and enter the house from the outside, your options range from some simple landscaping techniques to extensive excavation and waterproofing.


If you are looking to target specific areas most prone to dampness and mold growth, here are some tips for you:

In the Kitchen:

  1. Be sure to pay attention to areas such as around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water, which could be leaking. Repair leaks as soon as possible, if necessary.
  2. Check refrigerator drip pans, empty and clean them if necessary.
  3. Whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning, move moisture outside by using exhaust fans. Ensure that this does not move the air into the attic as this could create opportunities for mold growth in your attic.


In Basements and Crawl Spaces:

  1. Water can enter your home by seeping through basement floors or walls. Have your basement floor/walls checked for leaks and have them repaired if necessary.
  2. Painting concrete floors and/or using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet in basements is often a smarter option. In the event you do plan to install carpet over a concrete floor, you may need to install a vapor barrier or plastic sheeting over the concrete and then cover with sub-flooring or cover the insulation with plywood to prevent a moisture problem.
  3. Do not finish basement walls with insulation and wall board unless your basement is very dry.
  4. To prevent moisture from coming into your home from the ground, put a plastic cover over dirt in crawl spaces. Check regularly to be sure there isn’t standing water or the soil isn’t wet; if you do notice moisture, dry it out with fans before covering the floor.
  5. Ensure that crawl spaces are adequately ventilated by using fans and having vents installed in outside walls where necessary.


In the Laundry Room:

  1. Ensure your clothes dryer is properly vented to the outside. Keep the vent clear of obstructions and make sure there are no holes that leak air. If the vent is damaged, replace it quickly and consider replacing it with a metal. It is best to have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
  2. Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket, hamper, or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.


In Bathrooms:

  1. Keep a look out for leaks around basins and tubs and have them repaired when necessary.
  2. Utilize exhaust fans to remove moisture to the outside. It is important to make sure the exhaust fans are properly installed and move air outside of the home, and not into the attic.
  3. It is best to open a window when showering.
  4. Avoid leaving damp towels on the floor or in a laundry hamper. Hang them up to dry in well ventilated areas and wash and dry them promptly.
  5. Use area rugs, which can be taken up and washed often, instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.


For more information on home mold problems and what can be done to prevent or repair damage caused by mold growth call USA Water and Fire Restoration, Inc. today: 1 (800) 501-3046.