Nobody intentionally wants to encourage house mold growth! But you may be doing things that not only lets mold sneak into your house but also “feeds” the house mold spores that are already there.
Mold spores are virtually everywhere in the natural environment. It is impossible to get rid of them completely, but you can keep them from impacting your home and your health.
What makes house mold thrive?
Mold needs two things to thrive: moisture and cellulose. Cellulose is found in everything from paper and wood to cotton, linen, rayon, and other fibers that comprise many of the materials found in your home including drywall, window frames, sheetrock, carpeting, and furniture. If these materials get and stay damp/wet or even just get intermittently wet and then dry out you have the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Most people know to watch out for mold after flooding or when a noticeable leak is discovered but you want to make sure you aren’t doing any of these other things that also “feed” house mold:
- Leaving the area outside your shower damp. If you use a shower curtain, chances are that wall or floor just outside of the curtain gets splashed. The frequent wetting/drying of even small areas can cause mold to form under the paint and tile on the drywall or on the subfloor, especially if there isn’t a suitable moisture barrier in place. If splashes occur, keep a small towel handy to dry them after each use!
- Not weather stripping your doors and windows. Windy conditions often drive rain sideways under doors and into window frames. If they aren’t completely sealed, the wet spots can cause wood to warp and mold to grow. And leaving wet shoes and drippy umbrellas by the front door to “dry” doesn’t help either!
- Bleaching your mold. Chlorine bleach may appear to “kill” mold on porous surfaces, but really what it does is removes what is on the surface while the bleach residue (which is mostly water) is absorbed and actually provides food for what remains underneath causing it to grow back.
- Not venting your dryer to the outside. Dryers that vent into the attic, basement, or crawlspace blow hot, moist air into spaces that are typically cool and dry – setting up the perfect environment for mold growth.
- Not fixing small leaks. You may think that the leaky ice machine or water heater is just a nuisance, but the repeated wetting/drying of your floor will eventually cause mold and structural problems stemming from a soggy sub-floor.
- Not running bath fans and range hood fans. We say this often – bathing and cooking are the two biggest sources of indoor moisture. You can’t avoid them, so manage them by always running fans that vent moisture outside.
Poor indoor air quality aggravates many types of allergies as well as asthma and can cause other health symptoms — and the presence of mold in your home can cause poor indoor air quality. For more information on how to deal with house mold, read our other resources here:
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