Mold spores growing in your home can become a serious problem very quickly. From places you can see to quiet dark places you can’t, anywhere moisture exists, mold can too. But a proactive homeowner can take wise, regular steps to keep mold at bay. Arm yourself with these 7 essential tools to prevent mold in your home.
Check all of the areas that are especially prone to moisture (bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, basement, etc.) Doing a thorough audit of areas of potential issue will put you ahead of the game in terms of mold prevention.
Mold really only needs one thing to grow—moisture. If you’ve got a leaky basement or pipe, even a spill on the carpet, make sure to thoroughly dry this area immediately. Any materials that are completely soaked and are beyond drying thoroughly need to be discarded. This includes carpet, carpet padding, furniture, pillows and bedding.
Consider everyday occurrences of moisture in your home and do your best to keep them from permeating walls, carpet and furniture. Allow wet towels to dry before tossing them in the clothes hamper. Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine. Even after a few hours, that musty smell starts to set in…bad news. If you do pull your wet clothes out and they smell less than meadow fresh, toss them back in for another round of washing. Wipe down your shower doors and floor after a shower (will save you time scrubbing soap scum too, bonus!)
Always use the ventilation fans (or open windows) when showering or even cooking. You’d be really surprised how much moisture is released into your home from simply boiling a pot of water for pasta. Make sure that your clothes dryer vent is directed outdoors, rather than back into your home or into your attic. (Sure, it may provide some extra fresh toastiness in the winter, but the moisture factor isn’t worth it.) According to the EPA, air is able to hold less moisture as temperatures drop. In especially humid weather, utilize your AC and dehumidifiers to moderate the moisture levels in your home. In late Spring or early Summer, it may not yet be hot outside and it's tempting to keep those windows open. Do be careful of the potential threat of moisture making its way into your home. Even if it's not hot yet, close up your home for a couple hours at least every few days to run your AC or fan and take some of the moisture out of the air.
Use proper landscaping techniques as a means of waterproofing your home. Your landscaping should slope sufficiently away from your home, at the foundation to ensure proper water runoff. If you don’t have adequate slope, water can pool at your foundation and make its way into your basement or crawl space under your home. You can check to make sure your land is graded properly or contact a professional landscaper. Another moisture issue that starts on the outside of your home lies in your gutters. Check to make sure your gutters are clean and free of cracks at least twice annually and repair as necessary.
If you’re replacing drywall, utilize a mold-resistant drywall which is actually paperless. It’s covered in a layer of fiberglass which makes it very secure against water absorption. Use of this product will serve you especially well in common areas of moisture in your home. If you’re building a home from scratch, definitely consider mold-resistant materials in key rooms of your home, if not the entire structure.
Preventing the growth of mold in your home isn’t difficult; it just requires diligence on your part as a homeowner. Schedule these checks twice a year to keep your home dry and happy.