The winter months bring more rain, and with rain, more humidity and moisture. If you living in a heavily wooded area, all of these conditions can significantly contribute to mold and mildew.
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The CDC does NOT recommend having mold tested to find out what type it is, or how it could affect you. Instead, they strongly suggest moving to the next step, which is getting rid of it!
If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.
There are several safe and convenient products you can use to absorb excess humidity and moisture in the air to help prevent the growth of mold, many of which you can find at your local hardware store.
MOLD PREVENTION TIPS
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Notify your landlord of any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s publication A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html.