How to get rid of mold is a question on many people’s minds these days, and for good reason. Indoor dampness and mold have been linked to a range of negative health effects, including wheezing, coughing, allergies, respiratory tract infections and exacerbation of asthma. Ensuring your home is mold free is essential to your health.
Believe it or not, most mold isn’t actually visible but rather airborne, so you should take any signs of mold or dampness in your home seriously. But how do you get rid of mold? The best way to manage mold in a home is to eliminate or limit the conditions it needs to grow, including available water and nutrients found in dirt, dust and other crumbs around the home.
While the best humidifiers are wonderful for pumping moisture out of dry air during the colder months, they’re not an ideal choice if you have a mold-prone home. Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, can do a great job of removing excess moisture from the air to prevent mold growth. Here, we’ll look at ways to get rid of mold, including cleaning techniques and moisture removal.
How to get rid of mold
According to a study published in Indoor air, indoor dampness and mold can seriously damage our health, triggering a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can contribute to a range of respiratory diseases. In order to stay healthy, it is essential to rid your home of mold.
Mold can be very harmful to your health, so be sure to wear the proper protective gear when cleaning up. the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends anyone cleaning mold and potentially breathing in mold spores wear an N-95 face mask, gloves, and eye protection.
According to a 2004 report by the institute of medicine, there are several signs of water problems to look out for, including peeling paint, wet spots, wrinkled wallpaper, cracks in plaster, and warped wood. The report also recommends taking a thorough look at the parts of the home most susceptible to mold growth, including basements, crawl spaces, attics, foundations, and areas that are often damp, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Any mold growth on surfaces that can be cleaned must be effectively disinfected. Materials that cannot be cleaned should be discarded. Hard surfaces such as ceramic tile, glass, concrete, and stone can be disinfected from mold, but depending on the level of contamination, paper, plasterboard, textiles, or other soft porous materials should be discarded .
According to APE, a mild detergent can be used to clean the mildew effectively. Using a chemical cleaner, such as bleach, is not recommended for routine cleanings, but can be used in more severe situations.
To prevent mold growth, APE recommends that indoor humidity be kept below 60%, and ideally between 30-50%. A moisture meter is an inexpensive tool that measures the amount of moisture in the air. If you find that the humidity in your home exceeds 50-60%, a dehumidifier can be used to extract the extra moisture from the air. Air purifiers also help fight mold, you may find that investing in one of these in addition to a dehumidifier is really beneficial. Check out our guide to best air purifiers for more information.
How to get rid of mold in a bathroom
Depending on how many people live in your home and how often they take showers and baths, the bathroom can be in a constant state of humidity. It is very important to run the bathroom fan or open a window while showering to get that humid air out of the house.
If you see signs of mold, be sure to increase the frequency of cleaning all surfaces in your bathroom. If there is still moisture accumulating on windows, walls, or pipes, be sure to dry damp surfaces thoroughly after exposure. If you have trouble managing humidity in a bathroom, consider using a dehumidifier to control humidity and prevent mold growth.
All water damaged areas and items in your home should be dried within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If you see the potential for mold growth, act quickly to prevent it. Mold can damage any surface it grows on.
How to get rid of mold under a sink
Similar to bathrooms, excess moisture can build up in kitchens from cooking, washing dishes, boiling water, and other activities. Run an exhaust fan or open a window when cooking or washing dishes to let moisture escape.
If you notice water damage under sinks, be sure to check for water leaks. Sinks often leak where the basket drain seals to the sink or trap. You can determine where a leak is by plugging the drain, filling the sink, checking for leaks, then releasing the water and watching for leaks.
To clean existing signs of mold, scrub with detergent and water, then allow to dry completely. This may mean not using the sink until everything is completely dry.
How to Get Rid of Mold Smell
If your home smells damp, but you don’t see visible mold, there may be hidden water damage. Check the back of walls and panels, the underside of carpets and around pipes and ducts for signs of mold. Removing large amounts of mold is not recommended, as this will likely release mold spores throughout your home. In this situation, be sure to work with an experienced professional.
Excess water can enter your home during a thunderstorm or other heavy rain or a frozen pipe can burst. In each of these emergency situations, you must act quickly to dry out the wet areas as soon as possible. These emergency measures may include shutting off your home’s main water line, unclogging drains, using dehumidifiers in affected rooms, or pumping or vacuuming water out of your home.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but depending on the APE, increasing the heat in your home can stop the humidity. Warm houses have less condensation. Good insulation and double-glazed windows keep the heat in and don’t create cold surfaces where condensation can form. It is also important to never paint or caulk existing mold. The paint will likely peel and the mold will grow worse, increasing odors.
Make sure fresh air can circulate easily in your home. Mold can form in humid areas with still air. Leaving a gap between furniture and walls will allow cool air to circulate around them. Closets and cabinets should be open and well ventilated to prevent moisture buildup.
A Brief Guide to Mold, Damp and Your Home. (2022, March 25). US EPA. Retrieved April 20, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home
Holme, JA, Øya, E., Afanou, AKJ, Øvrevik, J., & Eduard, W. (2020). Characterization and pro-inflammatory potential of indoor mold particles. Indoor air, 30(4), 662–681. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32078193/
Institute of Medicine. (2004, May 25). Humid indoor spaces and health. The press of the national academies. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/11011/damp-indoor-spaces-and-health
What are the main ways to control humidity in your home? (2021, November 4). US EPA. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/mold/what-are-main-ways-control-moisture-your-home