Preventing Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are two most frustrating problem that can be a reoccurring nightmare. Mold is a type of fungi that thrives on moist organic matter and gives a fuzzy appearance, while mildew is mold growing on fabric. Mold and mildew can pose to be a health risk for some people, although the severity may vary person to person. Exposure to mold and mildew can happen through inhalation, skin contact and ingestion through moldy food. Mold effect health through toxic chemicals called mycotoxin that is present in the spores and fragments which are released in the air. They can even trigger reactions in individuals who otherwise would have no allergies to them.

Mold grow on damp organic material, such as wood, feathers, petroleum products, paper, rubber, and carpet to name a few, and will end up digesting the material itself. They can grow in varying temperatures, from below freezing to as warm as 122° F.  Molds thrive when the humidity level is above 60%, with temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees F (10 to 32 degrees C.)  They also grow well in pH from 3 to 8 and fare very well in areas which have poor ventilation.

Mold would normally grow on materials that have been moist for more than 24 hours. To prevent or reduce the growth of mold and mildew, periodically check rooms, attics or basement especially during the rainy or wet season for leaks, moisture buildup or signs of mold and mildew. You should check corners and crevices especially for mold, as well as folds in drapes and curtains for mildew. If any sign of growth is detected, cracks, leaky roofs and windows must be patched up, and other sources of water and moisture monitored. Additional insulation may need to be installed if necessary. An exhaust fan will also come in handy in the basement or in the bathroom to remove excessive moisture.

Mold should be vacuumed off affected surface with a brush attachment. The area can also be scrubbed with a stiff brush. Then spray the affected surface with bleach solution which can be made from half a cup of chlorine bleach mixed to two gallons of water. Then rinse the area with fresh water. After treating the area with bleach and water, dry it thoroughly. You may want to consider painting the affected area with mold-resistant paint. For fabrics that have mildew on them, air the items outdoors and expose to the sun if possible. Wash the fabric with hot water and laundry bleach according the item\’s washing instructions.

While there is no sure fire way to eliminate mold or mildew, there are ways to limit their growth. This is done by limiting the factors that propagate their growth in the first place by ensuring that an area is well lit and has proper ventilation. A dehumidifier can also be used to keep relative humidity below 60% and sealing air leaks in the building\’s exterior can provide fresh air. Following the above steps will help you limit the growth of mold and mildew as well as reduce the risk of reoccurrence.