How To Limit Mold Exposure
You can neither prevent mold spores from entering your home (they exist everywhere in the outdoor environment and can easily get inside through open doors and windows, air ducts and vents, or even attached to clothes, shoes, and bags), nor deprive mold of its “food” (the harmful microorganisms feed on organic materials, such as wood, carpet, paper, insulation, paint, plasterboard, fabrics, cotton, leather, furniture, and even dust that are found in abundance in the home). Your only option is to make sure the ambient conditions in your house are not right for mold to grow.
Part of the metabolic process of mold is to disperse spores into the air. Gravity then causes these mold spores to settle on surfaces and on the ground. Often times we see this effect in areas that are adjacent to the mold source. For example, if there is active mold growth in a bathroom, then the bedroom that is attached to that bathroom may have settled spores resulting in elevated mold levels in the space.
Mold spores can survive for extended periods of time, and what we failed to mention above is that they can attach themselves to dirt and dust. What we’ve seen on almost a daily basis is that a lack of basic cleaning, along with clutter-filled areas, results in reservoirs where dirt and dust gather, creating prime locations for mold spores to harbor themselves.
10 AREAS YOU CAN MAINTAIN TO LIMIT DUST AND MOLD EXPOSURE
- The cavity between your dishwasher and the kitchen cabinets. No one ever looks in there, but it gathers a lot of dirt and dust.
- The grill under your refrigerator. Just take a look down there and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
- Air conditioning vents. How often do you change your A/C filters? I’m guessing you clean your vents even less than that.
- Greenery in your home can be good for air purification but, if not monitored, can also cause mold to grow. Ensuring your home is at an optimal humidity level and that you don’t overwater your plants should be enough to prevent this.
- Cluttered areas. Dust and dirt hide in the nooks and crannies that many people choose to ignore when cleaning.
- Inspect the roof and the chimney on a regular basis and make any necessary repairs without delay, repair foundation cracks, fix plumbing leaks.
- Consider having the carpets and upholstery in your home professionally cleaned once or twice a year.
- Taking steamy showers provide your home environment with plenty of moisture. Make sure not to slack when it comes to turning on exhaust fans, including the one in your oven’s hood, which can help reduce condensation formation.
- Wooden cutting boards, trash cans, behind the stove (where food crumbs fall) and windows and window sills in the kitchen are like heaven for mold spores. They feed off of these places, so keeping them clean and dry is critical for keeping mold at bay.
- All it really takes to create mold is excess moisture and something for the mold to grow on. Finding mold on your mattress is a frightening thought. If you can, invest in a mold-resistant mattress. Otherwise, make sure your household humidity stays low and your mattress (including the underside — opt for a slatted bed frame) stays cool and dry.
If you can’t find the moisture problem on your own, or you aren’t sure how to correct a problem you do find, call an inspector or indoor air quality consultant.