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How to prevent mold in your home

August 14, 2015

Mold is everywhere. It's in the dirt in your backyard. It's in your fridge on your wedge of brie cheese. It's even in the air we breathe—at least the spores are. At this stage, it's not a problem. The minute a spore lands on a damp area in your home, it can become one.

Mold can grow in your home anywhere moisture is present.

Once a spore finds moisture, it will grow quickly and persistently. Eliminating mold from your home can be time-consuming and costly. The good news is, there is a way to prevent mold from becoming a problem in the first place. The key is to eliminate moisture in your home:

Bathroom

The most obvious moisture-accumulating room is the bathroom. Every time your shower runs, water and steam have ample opportunity to collect on the ceiling, walls and floor. Towels and shower curtains give mold extra surfaces to land on and begin growing. Make sure everything dries quickly. Use a fan or open a window to speed up the process. Any hidden fold of a damp towel or wet shower curtain will take much longer to dry, so spread out your towels and shower curtain. If your shower curtain begins to grow any mold, make sure to clean it as soon as possible.

"Towels and shower curtains give mold extra surfaces to land on.”

Cleaning your bathroom often is also important. Inspect the corners where your tub meets the bathroom floor. Also, take a good look at the ceiling. If any mold is beginning to grow, disinfect and dry the area right away. Inside the shower, make sure there aren't any unnecessary bottles or containers. Excessive clutter will make it harder to clean and easier for moisture to accumulate.

Basement

Being underground, your basement is the perfect place for moisture to collect undetected. If your basement has a musty smell, don't pass it off as a typical basement characteristic:  Rather, it's the beginning of a problem. Many basements are prone to flooding during the spring or heavy rains. All affected surfaces should be dried and cleaned right away.

Seasonal problems aren't the only culprit when it comes to basement mold. Leaking pipes could cause sustained moisture in your basement. Don't let these problems go unnoticed:  Inspect your pipes to make sure they are in good condition.

When preventing water buildup in the basement, think about your home's exterior. If the ground surrounding the perimeter of your house slopes toward your foundation, the chances of water seeping into your basement increase. Do some landscaping to ensure that water flows away from your walls.

Kitchen

Your kitchen is filled with appliances that create moisture and condensation. Running hot water, using a dishwasher and cooking all release moisture into the air, creating condensation. Any time you are cooking or washing up in the kitchen, be sure to open a window or turn on a fan. When washing dishes, make sure you're cleaning everything properly. A wooden cutting board can grow mold over time if not properly cared for, and coffee pots and Keurigs often have standing water, welcoming mold and bacteria to grow.

"Use a meter to make sure your air is below 60 percent humidity.”

Throughout your home

Take steps to ensure your entire home is safe from mold, not just the moisture-prone rooms. Keep your air dry with a dehumidifier and use a meter to make sure your air is below 60 percent humidity. Air conditioners will also keep moisture at bay.

Mold can be a problem to the unprepared homeowner. Take a stand against mold in your home. Damages due to mold usually aren't covered in homeowners insurance policies. If you don't know if your policy covers it, call your insurance provider to find out.