How to prevent mold from growing in your house

Mold growing on the walls

You know it's lurking. It's hiding in the deep, dark, damp recesses of your home, making your home smell less than pleasant, making your food go bad and staining occasional spots on your walls or floors. It's inside your walls, under your floors and in your basement. Mold and mildew.

 Far from humorous, when you've got mold or mildew in your home, it can cause serious health problems and keep you from enjoying your house. If you're sensitive to it, it can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Even if you're not allergic, it can irritate your eyes, nose, skin, throat and lungs. In some cases, it can even cause toxic reactions, sending you to the doctor or the hospital. But how do you prevent mold from gaining a foothold in your home? These tips will help you keep mold out of your home and prevent outbreaks. 

  • Keep it dry. Mold and mildew love damp environments, so make sure that spills and leaks are quickly attended to, as items dried out within 24-48 hours don't typically develop mold issues. If you need to make a repair and the drywall, cellulose or fiberglass insulation has gotten wet, replace it, as it's very difficult to dry these materials properly.  Disaster relief workers from around the world know about mold problems following disaster cleanup, including some deadly strains affecting both relief workers and disaster victims.
  • Moldy DrywallPrevent water from pooling up. Whether it's the drip pan for your water heater not draining properly, clogged gutters backing water up or a faulty sump pump keeping your basement damp, fixing these issues helps remove additional moisture and humidity from your home. In turn, the lack of moisture helps keep mold at bay.
  • Keep the humidity down. The ideal indoor relative humidity is between 30-50%, and should always remain below 60% if at all possible. A humidity meter is available at many hardware and home improvement stores and typically only costs a few dollars. If your humidity is too high, consider possible sources, such as the kitchen over the stove or dishwasher, dryers that vent into a crawlspace or basement and unventilated bathrooms. Adding basic ventilation to these areas goes a long way in the fight to lower indoor humidity, as does adding a dehumidifier, especially if it's draining properly.
  • Warm it up. Though it seems counter-intuitive, warming up your home means it's drying out.
  • Still can't find the source? Your walls or floors can often hide mold colonies. If you notice an odd smell or unexplained staining, you should investigate. You could have a pinhole in a pipe, condensation dripping down a crack or similar hidden moisture sources you hadn't considered while inspecting your home. 
  • Not sure it's mold? There are several home test kits available in hardware stores and home improvement centers that allow you to test surfaces for the presence of mold. Why does it matter? If you're dealing with mold, a simple bleach solution will clean up the problem, whereas a calcium deposit from hard water may take a different tactic.Mold growing on the ceiling

Now that you've had the opportunity to investigate the exact source of your problem, it's time to fix it. Wearing an N-95 mask fitted to your face, gloves and safety glasses or goggles, use a 10% bleach and water solution to spray down the area, scrub it up and then make sure it dries out well. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaning substances, as this can lead to devastating health issues.

At Wallboard Supply Company, we've got what you need for all your home improvement projects and repairs. Contact us today to see how we can make your project come together easier.


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Photo credit: Editor B / Foter / CC BY
Bryn Pinzgauer / Foter / CC BY

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.