Mold Prevention Tips

David J. Allen

I spent the better part of 2 ½ years learning about mold and indoor air quality because my child's life depended on it. Now I help others avoid ever having to experience the same thing. The mold industry suffers from conflicting opinions and I do my best to distill loads of data into something practical and useful. I love hearing from and helping readers. • "A house desecrated by mildew, mold, or fungus would be a defiled place to live in, so drastic measures had to be taken." — Leviticus 14:45

Let’s face it: Nobody likes mold. It’s hard to be too mad at the pesky fungus, as it’s trying to live its life just like we are, but it’s never much fun to see it show up and spread within your home. So, how can you keep this uninvited visitor out of your household? It’s always a better idea to be proactive about mold prevention than to wait until after its arrival to take action, and there are many preventative measures you can take to keep the fungus from showing up.

Regularly Inspect Your Home

While a small mold infestation can certainly be annoying, fungus problems typically don’t become serious unless they’re allowed to linger and flourish for prolonged periods. So, if you make a point to give your home an inspection each month, you can more-or-less ensure that you’ll catch any mold growth before it has much time to expand. During these inspections, you’ll want to be on the lookout for any water leaks, particularly around your faucets, showers, and toilets. You should also check your baseboards for any discoloration and search the house for damp spots, musty odors, or peeling paint.

Keep Your Home Well-Ventilated

Mold absolutely loves growing in areas that regularly contain condensation, and the best way to minimize condensation is to maintain proper ventilation. Whenever any process that uses moisture is occurring in your household, you should have a nearby window open or some sort of exhaust fan running. This includes activities like showering, cooking, running loads of laundry, and even washing dishes.

Monitor the Humidity Level of Your Household

As you probably know, mold needs moisture to flourish, and the more humid your home is, the more moisture there is in the air.

So, consistently monitoring the humidity levels of your indoor air is an effective way to prevent mold from showing up.

The EPA recommends you keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent, but if you want to really minimize the chance of a mold infestation, you can even go a bit lower than that.

You can purchase a moisture meter or humidity monitor to keep tabs on the air in your home, and if you find that it’s higher than you want, you can invest in a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers come in a variety of models, and high-quality units can make a massive difference when it comes to mold growth.

Clean Your Air Ducts and Vents

Because you don’t routinely see the interior of your air ducts and vents, they can frequently become excellent hiding spots for mold colonies. If you don’t clean them out regularly, large infestations can develop over time without you even realizing it.

Not only can that lead to bad odors and a high concentration of mold spores in your air, but it can also affect your heating and cooling systems by obstructing their air circulation. 

For your ductwork, you’ll probably want to hire professional duct cleaners to handle the job, and they can also check for any leaks or damage while they’re cleaning.

You should, however, be able to clean your air vents on your own. Typically, all you need to do is remove the protective covers from each vent using a screwdriver, then use a vacuum cleaner with an extension hose to thoroughly clean the interior.

Deal With Wet Towels Promptly

When you’re taking care of a cleaning chore, do you ever throw a few wet towels in a pile, then forget about them for a few days? There’s no shame in it; we’ve all done it one time or another. However, if you can help it, you should try to resist the urge to let damp towels pile up in the future.

The fact is, a clump of moist towels or other fabric is the perfect place for mold to start developing.

First, you’ll notice a stale smell in the area, and before long, there may even be visible mold beginning to spread.

A great way to avoid this is to simply let your wet towels dry outside in the sun between uses. Alternatively, there are special mold-resistant towels that you can buy if you really want to go the extra mile.

Clean Up Spills Immediately

You’d probably be surprised by how often people spill a beverage, then pretend it never happened instead of cleaning it up. Even if you’re responsible and tidy, it’s easy to occasionally be nonchalant about a spilled glass of water. Sure, you’ll clean it up a bit later, but even if you don’t, it’s no big deal, right?

Well, if you want to keep your home free of mold growth, you should make a point to always clean and/or dry that spilled liquid right away, even if it’s only water. And, you should always be thorough about the drying part, as leaving it damp could lead to mold growth within a day or two.

Invest in Air Purifiers

As you may be aware, mold spores are often airborne. When they’re in your home, they’re regularly floating around, moving through your ducts, and being kicked around by the air circulation of your HVAC system. Because of this, it’s entirely possible for mold to develop in multiple areas of your household due to the spores settling in different places.

Plus, having a high concentration of spores in your air can also cause respiratory issues and other health symptoms.

One effective way to combat the airborne nature of mold spores is to purchase air purification units. Now, there are numerous types of air purifiers available on the market. So, before you make a purchase, verify that the ones you’re buying are effective at dealing with mold, and of course, always check the customer reviews!

These are but a handful of the many steps you can take to prevent mold in your home. There are quite a few others that are also effective, but as a general rule, anything that makes your living space cleaner, dryer, or more efficient will have a high likelihood of reducing the risk of mold.