Anti-Mold: How To Prevent
Mold is a direct result of excess moisture, triggered by cold, dark and damp conditions.
Household bathrooms and loft spaces are often a victim of the unwelcome fungus due to the lack of airflow and ventilation, leading to stains, smudges or discolouration on your walls, ceilings and even carpets. But worse still, it can affect your health.
Not only are mold and mildew unsightly – destroying grout and staining porous surfaces – they can also be detrimental to your health. Mold and mildew spores are known causes of allergies, sinus infections, and skin irritation, to name a few. Keep your home free of unwanted fungus using these all-natural tips and cleaning methods.
- Dry It Up
Mold and mildew thrive in wet environments. For damp areas of the home like bathrooms and kitchens, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. Also, be sure to fix any leaky plumbing as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew from growing in hard-to-reach areas like behind walls and under cabinets. Make it a habit to air out your home regularly by opening windows and doors. Also, if you have ventilation fans, use them to further cycle the air in any rooms prone to excessive moisture. Keep shower curtains closed when not in use so they can dry. Furthermore, avoid leaving items like damp rugs, moist towels, or wet clothes laying around as these are the perfect medium for mold and mildew to grow in.
- Open windows when bathing. To prevent too much moisture from building up in the bathroom when you shower or bathe, open a window in the bathroom to vent out moisture. If you don’t have a window in the bathroom, leave the door open and open the closest window you can.
- Clear the Air
The fewer mold or mildew spores in your home, the less growth you’ll have to worry about. Consider purchasing a high-quality air purifier like this one by Ozeri to keep the air clean. Install mold and mildew spore-catching filters in your air conditioning return vent.
- Don’t ignore damp clothes. When you're doing laundry, don’t leave wet clothes to sit in the washing machine, as mold will start to grow on the clothes. As soon as the washing cycle is complete, remove the clothes from the machine and transfer them to the drier or the line.
- If you need help remembering to transfer clothes, set a timer when you do laundry. Similarly, never leave damp clothes or towels lying around on the floor or bunched up in a laundry basket. Always hang wet things to dry.
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil is a powerful natural fungicide. To use this essential oil to kill existing mold and mildew growth, simply add around ten drops of tea tree oil (such as this Plant Therapy Tea Tree Oil) to a glass spray bottle filled with water. Spray onto hard surfaces where mold and mildew are growing and let this amazing oil go to work. You’ll still have to scrub a bit, but with repeated use this all-natural cleaner will kill the fungus and help to prevent future growth. Remember: You’ll have to shake this mixture well before each use as the oils will separate.
- Clean spills and floods immediately. It only takes between 24 and 48 hours for mold to begin growing on wet surfaces. To prevent this, address standing water as soon as the spill, leak, or flood occurs. This includes water on:
- Carpets and floors
- Foundation walls and basement floors
- Use exhaust fans and vents. Exhaust vents are important in many rooms in your house, including the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. In the kitchen and bathroom, turn on exhaust fans anytime you cook or bathe. In the laundry room, make sure the drier is being vented to the outside. You should also make sure that your crawlspace and basement are properly ventilated. If the air isn't circulating enough, install vents or fans.
- Empty drip trays regularly. Some appliances are equipped with drip trays that catch water and moisture. This includes refrigerators, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Make sure you drain and clean these regularly to prevent mold from growing in them. Emptying drip trays will also prevent spills, leaks, and overflows, which can lead to moisture problems under the fridge, near window sills, and on basement floors.
- Increase ventilation and air circulation. Keeping the air moving in your house and providing a source of fresh air will really help to control the humidity in your home. When the weather allows, open the windows to vent out stale air, and use ceiling fans year-round to circulate the air inside. If you don’t have ceiling fans, you can also use standing or oscillating fans to circulate air.
- Run a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will remove any moisture from the air that you aren't able to prevent, and will help you control the humidity in the house. It’s particularly important to have dehumidifiers in damp areas, such as basements and crawl spaces. If you have a large home, consider setting up at least two dehumidifiers in different areas of the house.
- Replace basement and bathroom carpets with area rugs. Areas that are prone to being wet shouldn’t be fully carpeted. This includes basements that are damp or prone to flooding, and bathrooms. Instead, remove the carpet and install area rugs if necessary. Area rugs are better than carpet because they can be removed, cleaned, and dried if they get wet.
- Seal Grout and Tile. Once you have your grout and tiles clean and clear of mold and mildew, you may also want to seal them to prevent future growth. Unsealed grout and unfinished tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms are an invitation for mold and mildew to grow. If you notice your grout is staining or holding water for longer than it should (grout darkens when it absorbs water), you may need to reseal it. Check out this great article for more information on making homemade natural grout sealant using beeswax and natural oils.
- Fix leaks. Leaks are a main cause of moisture problems in a house, which can come from pipes, appliances, the roof, and faucets and taps. Inspect your home regularly for leaks and signs of water damage, and repair issues immediately. Don’t forget to check for leaks:
- Under sinks
- Around fridges, water coolers, and ice makers
- Under floors, especially in the basement
- Around air conditioners
- Near toilets, tubs, and shower
- Be equipped