Common Causes of Mold in Your Home and How to Prevent It
The last thing you want is a house full of molds. But you can’t avoid it. It doesn’t matter how clean your home looks, it can always contain invisible mold spores. You may use disinfectants, but they don’t do so much because these tiny fungi seeds are a part of nature’s recycling system. And when they invade your home, they sure do their job – to take part in decomposing organic materials.
Molds emit pathogenic mycotoxins that cause serious health issues for many people. For some, it can be a permanent disability or even death. Though it’s impossible to eradicate mold spores from your home totally, you can prevent it by controlling indoor moisture.
What Are Molds?
Molds are not a plant or an animal. They’re a type of fungus or a microscopic organism that you can find anywhere in the world with a moist environment. They’re a part of all environments where other organisms depending on oxygen thrive. They reproduce through tiny, lightweight spores traveling through the air. Unknown to you, you’re actually exposed to mold every day. Outdoors, they play an important role in breaking down dead leaves, trees, and plants. Even soil enrichment will not occur without mold.
In your home, mold grows in your walls, appliances, floors, carpets, or furniture, which can provide food for it to reproduce. Because molds need moisture, you usually see them in damp areas like your laundry room, kitchen, basement, bathroom, and crawl spaces. They take hold within 24 to 48 hours after a warm, enclosed area becomes wet. Moreover, it can colonize in seven days and spread immediately.
Causes of Mold
Moisture (attic, basement, crawlspace, bathroom, kitchen, air-conditioning system, home’s exterior)
Lack of sunlight
How to Prevent Molds
Consider the following steps to prevent molds from reproducing and cause significant damages in your home:
1. Find the Source
Keep in mind that where there’s mold, there’s always water. The first thing you should do is find the source of the water and stop it. Mostly, it will require you to call a plumber or a restoration company to fix leaky pipes or unclog a drain, but it will be inexpensive compared to leaving the problem unresolved.
2. Determine the Severity of the Mold
Figure out how big the problem is. According to the Federal Emergency Measures Agency (FEMA), an area larger than 25 square feet is too large for a homeowner to deal with. That’s why they advise homeowners to call the experts if they encounter mold problems like these.
3. Dry the Area
Always bear in mind that molds cannot thrive without moisture. So ensure that the infected area is continuously aired out and dried. Start with removing wet and contaminated materials and then getting air moving because it’s the only way to dry a damp area efficiently. Make sure that doors and windows are in place, or use a fan.
4. Clean and Disinfect Moldy Areas
You may begin by washing the moldy areas with soapy water and follow-up with organism-killing solutions. Though you can buy commercial products, such as moldicide and exterminators, they may not be as effective as household disinfectants. However, when using these products, ensure adequate ventilation in the area, and wear protective gear such as eye protection, gloves, and old clothes that can be washed in hot water to kill stray pores.
Here are some DIY mold cleaning solutions you can use:
Hydrogen peroxide (3-10% solution)
Distilled white vinegar
Baking soda and borax
5. Throw Away All Contaminated Materials
Ensure that all waste products and cleaning supplies are securely bagged and removed from your home. You may launder some of the contaminated items like towels and clothes, but it’s best to throw moldy materials in the garbage, especially when in doubt.
Mold Prevention Tips
No matter which professional restoration companies you ask, the best advice they can give you is to deal with molds as soon as you suspect there’s something wrong. Molds are fast-acting organisms, so don’t wait until major damage is done where you need mold remediation to resolve the problem.
As part of your home maintenance routine, think of mold prevention in four parts:
1. Stop the water.
2. Keep it clean.
3. Keep it dry.
4. Disinfect it.
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