Lung Disease & Respiratory Health: How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

Keep your house dry to reduce mold.

Keep Things Dry

Mold spores can't grow on dry surfaces. They need damp, wet spots to stick around and build up. Don't let water hang around in your house. Wipe surfaces dry in the shower, clean up spills, and check for condensation on windows.

Fix leaks in your house to prevent and reduce mold.

Fix Leaks

Inspect ceilings and walls for water bulges or spots. Fix leaks in your roof or plumbing promptly so water doesn't have a chance to feed mold growth.

Keep the humidity down in your house to prevent mold.

Air It Out

Be sure the air in your house is flowing well so humidity isn't too high. Turn on fans or air conditioner to help any damp rooms dry out, or open windows for a cross breeze on cool, non-humid days.

Don't leave laundry in the washer for too long to prevent mold.

Move That Laundry

When it comes to the wash, it's easy to set it and forget it since it's out of sight, out of mind. But don't let wet clothes linger in the washer. The dark, damp washer drum is a prime spot for mold and mildew to set up shop.

The bathroom needs special attention to prevent and remove mold.

Zap Mold in the Bathroom

Your bathroom sees regular wetness from shower and bath steam. Use products designed specifically to kill mold when you clean it.

Try a vapor barrier to prevent mold in basements.

Try a Vapor Barrier

A special moisture-blocking material called a vapor barrier is a great option for keeping dirt floor basements or crawl spaces dry. You can also use heavy roofing paper or polyethylene plastic film.

Install exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to prevent mold.

Install Exhaust Fans

Both your kitchen and bathroom are great places for exhaust fans that vent to the outside. Instead of letting steam from cooking or bathing stick around to coat walls and cabinets, the fan pulls moist air outside.

Keep tabs on humidity with a hygrometer to prevent mold.

Keep Tabs on Humidity

A hygrometer is a small handheld device you can buy to measure the amount of moisture in your home's air. The goal is to keep humidity as low as you can -- ideally below 50% -- all day.

Be careful with carpet to prevent and remove mold.

Check Your Carpet

When liquid spills on tacked-down carpets, it can be hard to get them dry. If your carpet gets soaked, you may need to remove it. Switch to area rugs where you can, especially in rooms like the bathroom and kitchen where moisture is higher.

Act quickly on spills and leaks to prevent mold.

Act Quickly on Spills

See signs of a leak in your ceiling, or condensation forming on your windows or pipes? Tackle the problem ASAP. The longer moisture lingers, the more likely mold is to grow.

Try mold-blocking paint in bathrooms and kitchens to reduce and prevent mold.

Pick Special Paint

You can mix mold-blocking substances into paint to help create a barrier on surfaces as you coat them. This is especially helpful in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-moisture areas.

Wrap your pipes in foam or insulation to help keep moisture and mold from forming.

Insulate Pipes

Pipes are prone to condensation, especially when they're colder than the air around them. One way to combat this is by wrapping your pipes in foam or insulation to help keep moisture from forming.

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REFERENCES:

  • EPA: "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home."
  • CDC: "You Can Control Mold."
  • University of Missouri Extension: "How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods."
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