Mold and mold spores are everywhere and are hard to completely avoid. They tend to grow in areas of increased moisture or humidity. Some, also, will grow with increased temperature and some will prefer dark spots. In the home, they may appear on the walls of the shower or on the shower curtains. In addition, they can be found on paper especially stored books and on leather goods.
Storage areas, laundry rooms and damp basements are havens for mold growth. Molds can appear under the wallpaper especially when wheat paste has been used to attach the paper. Drop pans for humidifiers and de-humidifiers can be sources of mold. Look, also, at stored foods both in the cupboard and in the refrigerator. That green material on the bread is a mold and the green/black material in the sour crea is also mold.
Molds are a part of our outdoor environment and are found on leaves, hay, and grass as well as ponds. The allergen from the mold is the unseen spore, which can be carried by winds. Househol molds usually originate from the outdoor world. Many people are allergic to molds. The treatment for mold sensitive people is avoidance of the mold, medication to treat the symptoms, and possibly allergy shots for molds.
Mold Avoidance Techniques
- Central air conditioning during the summer and central heating during the winter may help. There is usually less humidity/dampness with this form of heating and cooling. Most molds like more than 70 percent humidity.
- Dehumidifiers - but be sure to empty the pan frequently and clean the unit with chlorine bleach at least weekly or more frequently if mold is noted.
- Correct house leaks - where flooding or rainwater can get into the house.
- Consider using a waterproof sealer on basement concrete or cinder blocks.
- Keep the refrigerator clean and get rid of spoiling food.
- Wipe down shower stalls, shower walls, shower curtains and windows with products such as a disinfectant spray or chlorine bleach. A wall covered with washable wall paper is easier to clean and keep clear of molds.
- Look to the closets - keep them ventilated and aired out. Drying agents can be placed in the closet to decrease humidity. Please note that moth preventatives do nothing to prevent mold growth.
- You can use garden-type mold sprays on basement walls, concrete, cinder-blocks, storage areas, and crawl spaces but be careful...DON'T INHALE THESE SPRAYS!! Captan can be found in garden stores and if used properly may last three to six months.
A number of companies market anti-mold solutions and devices such as:
- Mildew Remover X-14
- No More Mildew
- Mildew Control Spray
These are a few examples of products you can purchase. They tend to be expensive and in many instances the more common product such as Chlorox or Lysol work fine.
- Old stuffed furniture and mattresses (especially foam rubber) may contain mold.
- Rooms, cottages, or cabins that have been closed for the season may be very moldy. Sleeping bags and tents that have been stored may also be a problem.
- Potted plants have long been considered another indoor source of mold, however; this has not been proven. In fact, a prominent allergist from the University of Michigan has shown that indoor potted plants are not a problem.
- Don't store anything in a damp area.
- Look at your intake vents. These help circulate air in a home. If there is a major mold source near one of these you may need to vigorously control the mold or block off the vent.